It's never too early to fire up a viral campaign. At least that's the mindset of Warner Brothers, which is running a nifty, evolving effort for The Dark Knight
, the sequel to Batman Begins. Though the movie's not out until summer 2008, a host of sites have sprouted from the official Warner Bros. homepage for the film, which only offers the instantly recognizable bat sign. But click through, and you're led to another site which displays a simple political ad for Harvey Dent, played by Aaron Eckhart. The clear culprit is 42 Entertainment, already rebounding from the Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero web assault—one of the sites is registered to the firm.
It doesn't sound fascinating at first, but in the last few days, a mocking alternate site would pop-up from this page featuring a defaced Harvey Dent ad with red and white marker smeared on his mug. Subsequently, visitors were able to interact with this site, and by entering an email address and verification code, they were sent emails with cryptic passages and an X,Y coordinate. By clicking on the specific coordinate, they were then able to remove one pixel from the marred ad, and by spreading the word, thousands of pixels were removed to reveal a close-up shot of Dark Knight villain The Joker, played by Heath Ledger in full makeup and all. With the identity revealed, visitors to the site now are greeted by "Page Not Found" in a black background. But hold your mouse and highlight the page to reveal an endless series of "Ha Ha"s, which likely denotes that Warner is having the last laugh when its comes to raising the viral stakes.