Viral Campaign For New ‘Dragon Tattoo’ Movie Cloaked In Mystery

December 5, 2011

David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” doesn’t open until Dec. 21, but the marketing team behind the highly anticipated remake has been busy creating buzz with a campaign that is almost as mysterious as the series itself.

The campaign kicked off with an in-character photo shoot with Rooney Mara in February, giving the public its first official look at the new Lisbeth Salander in W Magazine. Things picked up in early fall, when several editors received an email  from an anonymous source pointing them to a Tumblr feed called “Mouth Taped Shut.”  The Tumblr feed, which started posting Aug. 20, features exclusive photos from the set and post-production of the film, but has no official connection to Sony Pictures.

Coming from a fan of the series (read my post from last year here), the Tumblr feed is fascinating.  Images posted include sketches of set designs, props and even images from the Children’s Day Parade in Hedestad(!).

Photo of Trent Reznor from Mouth Taped Shut Tumblr feed

Here’s where the campaign gets seriously awesome. On Oct. 10, the Tumblr feed posted a picture of Trent Reznor in the editing room (image on left). Fans noticed that the web address in Trent’s browser was http://comesforthinthethaw.com/.  The only thing on the site (to this day) are images from the movie, music seemingly from the score, and the phrase “What is hidden in snow, comes forth in the thaw.”

Nine days later, the Tumblr feed posted “vintage” video from the original bridge car crash that played a prominent role in the book. Upon first look, the video was just that, but smart viewers realized it was actually a clue. The tags on YouTube were strange: ‘look closer,’ ‘WIHIS’ and ‘slash.’ They quickly connected WIHIS with the other half of the phrase from the above website and found the third website, http://whatishiddeninsnow.com/. Some genius was able to unlock that site by noticing that a license plate in the video clip read ‘glance’ backwards, and entered http://whatishiddeninsnow.com/backwardsglance in his browser. BINGO!

The clues lead a fan to find this prop from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

That URL unlocked a new page that contained a picture of a rock, a countdown timer, a set of GPS coordinates in San Diego and the words “Do not enter with it. Stairs.” Unfortunately, the timer ran out on this one, but the next one — http://whatishiddeninsnow.com/lust — was successfully retrieved in San Diego, and the lucky fan walked away with a framed flower, a real replica from the film. The cherry on top? A signed note from David Fincher, “Congratulations. This is a unique item — the only one of its kind.”

Over the past month, fans have discovered more than 25 props from the film, including Lisbeth Salander’s motorcycle helmet.  There are still 13 items that have yet to be found, and this creative campaign has fans all over the country waiting for its next move.

If traditional marketing is more your thing, an eight-minute trailer was posted last week, and it’s amazing. Enjoy: