Easter eggs are delicious, creme filled, chocolate-covered byproducts of an adult wearing a bunny costume. Easter eggs are also intentionally hidden messages or inside jokes that content creators put into their final projects (movies, books, CDs, video games, etc.).
Watchmen is a limited series comic created by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins for DC and was originally released in 1986. It follows the exploits of government agent Dr. Manhattan and a gang of masked “superheros” in an alternative reality that closely mirrors our own.
The Watchmen movie adaptation debuts March 6. The film is set to be one of the biggest fanboy flicks evar!1!!! (one Fandango user got a sneak peak and said, “better than Titanic, The Dark Knight, and The Spirit combined“), and it has a “viral video” marketing campaing that’s surprisingly not-contrived.
Axis of Comedy is a small conglomerate of funny web series (including Break a Leg, Kyle Piccolo, The Burg, Abigail’s Teen Diary, Phistophicles, and more) organized by New York-based new media studio For Your Imagination.
As part of a six-figure promotional campaign with Axis of Comedy, the marketers behind the upcoming Watchmen flick consigned the creators of Kyle Piccolo (who also had an ad deal with Warner Bros recent Academy-award nominated blockbuster, The Dark Knight) to create an original, three-episode mini-series of the hit online show.
Dubbed 369, the shorts are riddled with references to the world and mythology of Dr. Manhattan and feature Kyle dispensing his usual comic-themed advice, except to a more peculiar, Watchmen-y clientele. And, they’re interactive.
Thanks to technology from Innovid, the episodes of 369 come replete with interactive, clickable easter eggs, linking to secret Watchmen files and dossiers. Yes, in-video clicking is a neat-o application, but lots of companies (including YouTube) are doing it. What’s special about Innovid and its implementation into installments of Kyle Piccolo is the easter eggs – and the URLs the easter eggs link to – change with every viewing. Cool, I know. Check it out in action.
See the clock in the opening sequence? See the graffiti on the wall underneath and to the right of the clock? It’ll either say “WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?” and take you to this radio broadcast of New York City Watchmen-related riots in 1977.
Oe, it’ll say “No more masked freaks!” and take you to this public service film on The Keene Act & You (which decries and outlaws vigilante “masked menaces”).
If you watch the episode of Kyle Piccolo and see one phrase and not the other, just hit replay. During your second viewing you’ll see a different writing on the wall. And I’m told that’s just one of many subtle easter eggs hidden throughout the mini-season.
Congrats to Watchmen and Kyle Piccolo for crafting one of the most organic, innovative, and (most importantly) fun online marketing campaigns I’ve ever seen on the web. I’m sure this type of interactivity will soon be a web series / viral video staple.