Heath Ledger as The Joker

By now, the die hards that have been sucked into the viral web of The Dark Knight are in full-out, geek-gasm mode. The Joker sent fans across the globe on a wild-bowling ball chase yesterday, culminating in dozens of bowling alleys being bombarded by clown wanna-bes. The prize was a bowling bag, ball and cell phone that, when used, connected the caller to a creepy voice that made note of who they were and hung up.

When all the bags were recovered, the main site for the Clown Travel Agency changed its face to reveal a new task by the Clown Prince of Crime himself. Users were instructed to visit www.acmesecuritysystems.com/delos to “crack” a code for the villain.

Acme Security Identity CaptureIf you haven’t cracked Acme Security yet, you should. The rest of my story might seem like a spoiler if you haven’t experienced the surprise yourself.

It involves the difficult task of entering your name, email address and phone number into a panel.

When I did it last night, I was still on edge from the 13th April Fool’s prank that my friend’s had (futilely) tried to pull on me so when my phone rang after entering in my info, I’ll admit I was startled.

A woman’s voice asked for my password, and I said, “Needle” as instructed by The Joker, but instead of being rewarded for my crime, the next voice I heard was Jim Gordon’s telling me that all of my personal information was now on file.

He gave me two options: either I go to jail or I start working undercover for the Gotham Police. After my dedication to The Joker and my fervency for wanting to join his gang, this is how I was repaid. A sting operation.

In the ultimate middle finger to Gordon, Harvey Dent and the rest of the suckers that are trying to clean up the city, I voluntarily drove myself to my local Washington, DC police station to turn myself in.

Sharon at the front desk was very polite – it was a slow night for her. I explained that I had been caught red-handed trying to break into a security system, that I had been prompted to do so my notorious super-villain The Joker, and that Jim Gordon now claimed to have everything from my passport information to my computer’s IP address on file.

In an even more diabolical twist, Sharon claimed to have no knowledge of a “Jim Gordon” or a sting operation involving “Acme Security”. It was obviously a ruse to drag more information out of me. With my loyalties to The Joker in tact, I told her that she needed to arrest me because I didn’t plan on ratting out or joining the force just to clear my rap sheet.

She continued to play dumb.

Spent the Night in JailAfter a solid hour of trying calmly to explain the situation, I was reduced to shouting profanities about Jim Gordon and my local police force in the waiting room just as the night was starting to get busy. Finally, Sharon came to her senses and instructed two hairy, thug policemen to cuff me and process me.

They released me this morning, and I remain suspicious of the men in blue. I can only assume that they’ve freed me in order to track me, to keep tabs on me and see whether I can help them involuntarily bring down the big man. All I can say is, you won’t get me that easily, Sharon.

I’ve now spent a night in jail because of this damn viral campaign. I’m not sure what’s real anymore, and I’m constantly looking over my shoulder out of fear. It also has me constantly looking forward to July when The Dark Knight finally comes out.

It might be the effect of my fandom, but this is the most intricate and interesting viral campaign I’ve ever seen. It’s incredibly good at drawing you in and keeping you interested and engaged. I’ve said before that it doesn’t seem entirely necessary considering the scope of the movie buzz already and the target audience of the viral campaign already planning on seeing the flick – but it sure is fun. And who can complain about that?


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