Warren Ellis posted a link in his blog today to a site advertising ‘The Veidt Method’ by Adrian Veidt. Adrian Veidt is a fictional character from Alan Moore‘s cult classic graphic novel ‘Watchmen‘ which, after years of false starts, is in the process of being turned into a movie directed by Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of The Dead). The film has all the makings of a hit, even so, I’m sure of course Moore will have nothing to do with it. The man is historic for having his works bastardized for film and removing his name from them.
The site in question, Mr. Ellis, speculates that it may be tied to the movie release as viral marketing ARG (Alternate Reality Game, ala ‘The Hanso Foundation’ and the TV show Lost). If he’s right, it leaves much to be desired. Sure, the site makes mention of ‘Nova Express,’ a fictional magazine from the Watchmen story, and hawks the character’s ‘life-changing methods’; however, the links are nonfunctional, and even the mailing list box doesn’t work, it instead is a mailto link to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org.’ The site design is weak at best; I would imagine if Warner Brothers were to be getting into the viral game, they’d put a little more effort into it. A quick look at the HTML code reveals the site to be based on a free template design credited to a ‘Joseph De Araujo.’ Lame.
Putting those things aside, the site still doesn’t make sense. For one, the Watchmen storyline takes place in an alternate reality, cold war era, 1985, a detail which is reportedly being retained for the movie. If that’s the case, a viral web ad campaign or ARG would be out of place. Especially seeing as how it’s not 1985 and the World Wide Web didn’t exist in it’s current form back then either.
The telltale, however, is this: on the bottom left of the page there is a login link that brings up the following:
Real ARGs are never this sloppy. Suddenly it all makes a lot more sense. Looking a little harder one finds that the site is actually hosted at theonering.net: a Lord of the Rings fansite. Turns out, this isn’t their first attempt either, they’ve also been publishing a blogger website entitled ‘Rorschach’s journal.‘ Some believe the guys at ‘The One Ring’ have been lobbying to try and get some deal with Warner Brothers to do viral marketing for the movie. My best guess is they hope to make another unofficial hub like theonering.net possibly based around Moore’s works or something. Since Lord of the Ring’s success they’ve sort of made a business out of movie fan sites apparently.
Conclusion: It’s nothing but a bunch of geeks having some unofficial web fun and a let-down for us other geeks looking for something fun to dig through while we get hyped up looking forward to the movie.
To date, the only official Watchmen teaser info can be found here. Go back to sleep Watchmen fans.