A couple days ago, Men in Black 3 released a ripple in the space-time continuum when it rolled out the second trailer for its upcoming summer release. It features much more of Josh Brolin (yay!) and gives us our first glimpse of Bill Hader as an under cover Andy Warhol (awesome!). What we didn’t get is more of Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement as the movie’s big baddie, Boris (boo!).
The trailer came off as a Mad Men meets Back to the Future mash-up, which could be fun. I didn’t think much more about it. Then, last night, they added a dash of The X-Files to the recipe. I was heading home and I noticed this in the subway:
Of course, I called the number.
A teenage boy’s voice answers and explains he is Bugeyes. He informs me I called “The Men in Black Are Real” hotline, and what he’s telling me will change my life forever. By pressing 1, 2, 3 or 4 I can either: know what he knows, hear details on where to find him, learn the latest on someone named Clive (“who’s definitely not human”), or leave a voice mail message reporting alien activity. I can interact with the phone number through voice mail or text, and Bugeyes might post my message on themeninblacksuitsarereal.com.
As I punch through prompts, Bugeyes exclaims, “Extraterrestrials live among us. Seriously? How cool is that?” He’s also monitoring Clive because he thinks it’s “what The Men in Black Suits want him to do.” He directs me to his blog for more details about the Men in Black Suits. When I visit the blog, there are several posts starting on December 6, 2011.
MIB3’s The Men in Black Suits are Real campaign started back in November 2011 and received some criticism for only linking to Bugeyes’ Facebook page at that time. Now, it appears with this phone number, a new phase has commenced, and on Monday, along with the subway ads, Bugeyes posted his first video blog.
On Facebook, “fans” are posting pictures of potential MIB activity, including this mock up newspaper clipping from 1969 featuring a young Agent K (aka Josh Brolin, second from the right, in priest’s garb).
Bugeyes comes off as a child of one of The Lone Gunmen (if they’d ever actually gotten lucky and spawned). Will Smith seems cheesier than ever. But that’s what the public wants from Will Smith, right? Right now, Josh Brolin is the most exciting aspect of this story, but I’m wondering how worn his Tommy Lee Jones impression will be after 90 minutes.
Several entertainment sites are calling it “viral marketing.” It could be the beginnings of an ARG. I’m hoping the engagement increases, or it might fall short, like The Hunger Games campaign. I know it’s challenging creating other elements to an already existing property, but when studios have so much money, I always hope they’ll raise the bar. Publishing a number so blatantly and offering participation does indicate there may be more to come. I hope so.
If you’re curious, call 1-888-202-9797 and let me know if there’s any new news on the hotline. Maybe it’ll warm up as we near the summer release.