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Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Project type:
Movie promotion
In support of:
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Sony Pictures)
Summer 2004
Oh, good. More zombies and genetic mutants in need of killing.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse is one of those movies where you know, going in, whether you're likely to enjoy it or not. For many people, the first episode fell into the category of "better than it needed to be", so one could be hopeful about this one. But, even if you're not, there are a couple of things to note about its campaign. None of them are strictly immersive, but they're interesting nonetheless.
  • As with the original Resident Evil movie, the studio sponsored a "make your own poster" contest. Some basic bits of artwork and text were provided on their website, and people were invited to create their own poster and submit it for judging. The company winnowed down the entries to a group of six finalists, and let site visitors come to the website and vote on the winner. Movie tickets and Resident Evil swag were awarded to the winners, and the winner's and other finalists' posters were put up on the main movie website. I confess that I'm a sucker for these sorts of events, if only because I like to see people being encouraged to put down their game controllers for awhile and be creative. But it also strikes me that this must be a relatively low-cost way of getting people thinking about and involved with your movie. I haven't been able to find any information on the number of entries the contest received; this is one of those data points that would help us all figure out the value of these things (even though the companies are almost certain to see the numbers as proprietary, and not release them).

    (An aside: The voting on the finalists was done by e-mail, of course, but it's interesting to note that votes had to be confirmed: voters were required to respond to an e-mail sent in response to their votes, thus minimizing ballot-box stuffing. I wouldn't have expected them to go to this much trouble, so I'm somewhat impressed to see that they did.)
  • The site includes the inevitable movie-themed Flash game; this one is somewhat similar to the I Robot Now game that let you design your own robot, except here you're mixing DNA sequences and other sorts of biological goo to create your very own genetic mutant, which faces off against the mutants created by other visitors in something of a beauty contest (a nastiness contest?). Through some completely impenetrable scheme, certain combinations of goo earn your mutant certain numbers of points, leading to a ranking of all the mutants by nastiness. High scores are, of course, desired.

    This game is worth noting, for two reasons. First, its constructive nature keeps people involved and thinking about the content of the movie much more so than does a simple first-person shooter game or steering a miniature Will Smith through a maze, so they get points in my book for that. Second, if my search through the "leaderboard" of the resulting mutants is correct, they've had almost 200,000 entries in this game. Obviously, some people are making more than one (which is encouraged, by the way), but that's still a goodly number of people to be taking part. And, yes, these numbers could be easily faked, so trust them at your own risk...