Heard of Perplex City yet? The ARG (Alternate Reality Game) mixes puzzles with staged websites, fake newspaper ads and cryptic phone messages to give some kind of new user experience, the kind of practice which is being used more and more in cutting edge marketing and PR programmes. If the way Perplex City works sounds mental - check out how it was launched to the media.
"The first anyone knew about Perplex City was when cryptic adverts were placed in newspapers around the world (including the Times and the Guardian) asking for help in finding a mysterious missing object known as "the Cube". No contact information was given - just a link to a site called perplexcity.com. Meanwhile around the world, hundreds of postcards simultaneously appeared in clubs, bars, shops and other public places, all containing subtle clues that led to the same website." The Guardian
And take a look at the feedback:
"One of the most powerful guerrilla marketing mechanisms ever invented" CNET
"The interactive phenomenon of the year" The Guardian
"The pioneer of a lucrative new marketing channel" Financial Times
"Audiences are already starting to demand more "ARGish" elements in their mainstream entertainment -- "Lost" has been a great example of this. Audiences today grow more invested in their entertainment than in years past. For many viewers, it's not enough to just passively watch a TV show, anymore; now you talk about it in an online forum, you listen to the director's podcast, you visit websites for corporations that exist only in the show. Everything ties in together and makes the whole experience far more entertaining and engaging. Several major entertainment companies, from the Video Game sector to Hollywood, are looking very closely at Alternate Reality Games. As an industry we've barely scratched the surface of what can be achieved using this incredibly exciting new form of storytelling and gameplay. The future for ARGs looks very bright indeed." BusineessWeek
Such amazing press endorsement could arguably only be generated by the kind of cutting edge PR and marketing techniques deployed by the company behind Perplex City - Mind Candy. We may be starting to see the end of successful PR programmes that rely solely on traditional tactics and techniques.