tron

Last week when browsing Reddit.com I stumbled upon one of the finest and best executed examples of Stealth / Guerilla marketing that I have ever seen, courtesy of Disney / Tron and their marketing agency (if there is one). I do not know who they are, but kudos to them, great job guys.

If you were not already aware of this, Tron the Legacy, a sequel to 1982′s Tron is out soon. If you do not know what Tron is let me just say that it is one of the frontrunners of geek culture. Here are the trailers for 1982 and 2010 Tron respectively.

Reddit.com is the biggest social bookmarking website in both terms of traffic and user sophistication right now. Speaking from experience it is very well protected from corporate news stories such as the ones that plague digg, as it is equally well protected from social media gurus et al, that well, plague social media.

The story happens as such: a user named LateNightConcierge who’s been a redditor for only a week posts a creepy/voyeuristic photo of a girl that looks a) HOT b) to be wearing some kind of costume.

tron hot girl cosplay

Imagination combined with partial visibility is way superior to total visibility so the story hits the frontpage bigtime (possibly around 150k unique views in a day) and then the said girl makes an appearence in the comments section ( TronGirl , redditor for 5 days ) only to subsequently post a clear photo of herself, seen below, both in the comments section and as an original story. Story gets frontpaged again and while nobody really cares ( Hot girl in picture = good ) the community ( particularly reddit user eightbitman ) identifies it as viral marketing.

Here’s why this is the one of the best examples of stealth marketing I have seen:

1.) When clients ask me what’s the easiest way to go really viral on youtube without spending much I reply: Use a screenshot that implies female partial nudity/ hotness. Sad but true and to support my case there are countless examples of that. Female Hotness/ Implied partial nudity ( imagination ignited ) ? Check.

2.) Great knowledge of niche audience. Reddit users of r/gaming are most likely young straight males (not to mention possibly single as well). Hot girl + Cosplay = absolute heaven for this niche. I hate categorizing but this is so true that it hurts.
3.) Relevance. Tron is a movie about a computer hacker. I can’t imagine any website that has more relevance to this film that Reddit.com.
4.) Not stuffing it down the audience’s throat. Usually those types of marketing are associated with trying too hard. OH LOOK WE CAN DO BACKFLIPS WE ARE SOOO COOL. They just offered a picture of a girl wearing a costume that the community wanted to see and upvoted. Nothing more, nothing less.
5.) Keeping it simple and short and using existing infastructure. The pictures were posted on imgur.com , a trusted source for reddit users. To show how important this is, a few days ago a story hit the reddit frontpage. It’s title was: If it on imgur you are going to click it. Enough said.

To all stealth/viral/guerilla marketers out there. This is (almost) how it should be done. Stop using your shaky cameras effects, insane amounts of zooming and shoddy CGI. This is not 2006. Everyone has seen it a million times. Please, stop. Respect your audience and they will come at you. Or maybe they wiill not. Stealth marketing is a risky business.

Although only TronGirl and LateNightConcierge really know if this was a stealth marketing or not, allow me to say that it is pretty safe to assume so. Kudos, I was amused and as a sidenote I’m sold; really looking forward to watch Tron.