Sony hopes that "X" marks the spot when it comes to the new Angeline Jolie actioner "Salt."
"Day X Exists" is a new "episodic online game" designed to promote the film (in theaters July 23), and involves a series of nine web-based episodes and challenges that reveal an important plot line.
Created by Australian multimedia agency Hoodlum, the game asks players to bug suspects, track enemy operatives and decrypt messages much as does Jolie's character, a sexy secret agent named Evelyn Salt. Players connect via Facebook to track clues and to monitor the game's leader board. And it appears there's even a mobile phone element.
"We're excited about it because the layers of the movie fit with the layers of the game," Sony marketing chief Marc Weinstock tells today's New York Times. "Hopefully it will bring people into the storyline in a complimentary way."
Integrated with trailers asking "Who is Salt," the final installment of the game is designed to answer the question.
In my new book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, I look at how a growing number of movie studios are using games to promote upcoming titles. There's good reason.
"With 72% of people playing one form of game or another, this is a medium that really can't be ignored by marketers," Tim Zucker, CEO of Shift Control Media, tells me in the book. "Consumers are increasingly empowered to turn away from traditional kinds of push-based marketing messages. Games offer a great opportunity for brands to bring consumers into their world, and to give people a reason to want to spend more time with the brand voluntarily - and to recommend that other people do the same."
Oh, and the fact that consumers tend to spend 12 minutes with branded games - far more time than they'll likely spend with most other forms of marketing communications - can't hurt. Nor can the fact that it's not uncommon to see pass along rates of 40% or more.
Which means if "Day X Exists" does it job, it might just add some pep to "Salt's" premiere.
Read more here.