The 'Dark Knight Rises' Viral Marketing Survival Guide

Dark Knight Rises

by Josh Wigler and Kevin P. Sullivan

The "Dark Knight Rises" viral campaign is set to explode in just a few short hours in the form of Operation Early Bird, a mysterious initiative set into motion just this week. Fans who participated in the intensely interactive Joker-themed "Dark Knight" viral marketing scheme are bound to get just as knee-deep in today's events.

But what exactly are you in store for? Not just in terms of the actual mystery that lies ahead—we're asking, are you prepared for what today might entail? These events can be physically taxing (in the best of ways), so it's imperative that you plan ahead before plugging into Operation Early Bird.

Here are some tips for surviving today's (or any) "Dark Knight" viral campaign!

» Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before setting out. There is no question here. Succeeding in a Batman marketing campaign requires communication. Whether you're calling a phone number scribbled in the sky by an airplane or looking up directions to the next land mark, a phone will be your literal life line. Tasks in the past have necessitated a handy cell, so make sure the thing is charged to give you the freedom to check Google Maps, text updates and listen to mysterious recorded message from someone who sounds like they have a breathing problem.

» In addition to having a fully charged cell phone, you're going to want some extra backup. If you're representing your group of "Dark Knight" obsessed friends out on the field, it's best to have one of your pals hanging back at home near a computer to give you all the up-to-date info you need. For the friend stuck at home, look on the bright side: you're basically the Oracle of your other buddy's Batman adventure. That's not a bad deal!

» Bring running shoes. We're all for solidarity here, but let's get down to brass tacks. You want to see whatever it is they're going to offer up from "The Dark Knight Rises," and so does everyone else around you. Every person out there could potentially fill your seat, find the next clue or snag some awesome swag that would have otherwise belonged to you. By all means, work together, but remember that this is a race and you want to win.

» As any reporter working the comic convention circuit will always tell you, the best way to survive these kinds of events is stocking yourself with water and snacks. Keep yourself hydrated, have some protein-heavy food on hand (almonds will do the trick!), and fuel up regularly. You'll want maximum amounts of energy to get yourself through the day.

» Finally, if there's anything we learned from the "Why So Serious?" era of "Dark Knight" marketing, it's this: you want bad guy camo on hand. Maybe we're a few years too late to keep clown makeup in your survival pack, but luchador and latex masks might be a good idea to have handy in case you need to make a quick Bane or Catwoman costume change. Hey, you never know when you'll have to become Gotham's greatest foe to unearth the city's greatest secrets.

Tell us what you think of our "Dark Knight Rises" viral survival guide in the comments section and on Twitter!