In the NY Times article linked above (registration required), Lynn Harris reports on the viral marketing campaign for a new Miramax book called Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini. Vizzini asked a friend to set up a web site for the book, and together they decided to create an mini-universe of linked web sites which play with the book's subject, the squip--a tiny device you ingest that teaches you how to act cool. Their target is teenagers, and I love the way they get them to think through ideas. Go directly to the fun.
Mr. Vizzini's aim was to create a hook, not a hoax. "When we reply, we don't tell people it's not real in a 'Ha ha, we fooled you' kind of way. We say, 'It's not real, and we're sure you don't need a squip anyway, but we'd love for you to be a part of this,' " he says. "Then it's like, 'Ooh, now I'm on the inside.' That's what gets people interested: flipping from outsider to insider." Mr. Vizzini sends fans squip stickers and T-shirts , and invites them to post on the squip discussion board or add content to squip sites.
One of the participants comments,
"Everyone knows it's marketing, but you're entering this community and meeting these people and getting to submit your own stuff. It engages you in a way that you can actually participate in."
Thanks to Tim Manners of Reveries for this sighting.