You know the old saying, “It’s never too early to start a viral campaign.” No? Well, it seems Neill Blomkamp and company are more than familiar with the adage. A new site stealthily promoting the District 9 director’s sophomore effort, Elysium, appeared on the web earlier this week despite the film’s distant March 2013 release date. Under the guise of a recruitment ad for the tech company, Armadyne, the spot promises “The Most Ambitious Project Ever Undertaken by Mankind,” and speaks in generalities about the optimistic possibilities of future technology. Check it out below.
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It was only two years ago that District 9’s viral, multi-platform “Humans Only” campaign hit San Diego Comic-Con and spread across the country. Puzzling posters declaring certain public areas, like bus stops, for “humans only” popped up everywhere and contributed to the curiosity buzz that propelled the film to a surprise $37.4 million opening weekend.
The DNA of the successful “Humans Only” campaign is already evident in Elysium’s marketing. Whereas District 9 gained attention only a few months before its release, Sony clearly hopes to get the word out much earlier this time, 20 months early to be exact. One of the main components of the District 9 campaign involved a highly interactive web site similar to the Armadyne page that invited users to sign up for non-human alerts, online play, and volunteering for District 9’s own monolithic corporation, Multinational United.
It seems that Armadyne will be playing a similar role in Elysium and its marketing. The little we’ve seen so far hints at something more sinister beneath the surface. In a post-Terminator 2 world, it’s safe to assume that if a corporation’s name ends in “dyne,” it’s most certainly evil. Plus, we already suspect that Blomkamp plans on making Elysium another sci-fi social commentary, so damning big, irresponsible corporations cannot be far behind.
While the Armadyne campaign doesn’t elaborate much on the mysterious project, which stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, the short video embedded on the page establishes the time of the film’s events as sometime before 2097 and invites visitors to apply for positions, with a special demand for experienced zero-g welders, quantum networkers, and multi-generational planners. The site promises that an application for the company is coming soon, so it will be interesting to see how exactly Armadyne and this new viral campaign will “take mankind into the future.”
What kind of future do you expect to find in Elysium, based on the Armadyne promo? The commercial footage of two hands holding a lonely green plant was evocative of WALL•E, no? What else did you notice?