The film District 9 and its viral campaign

Thirty years ago, aliens made first contact with Earth. Humans waited for the hostile attack, or the giant advances in technology. Neither came. Instead, the aliens were refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa as the worlds nations argued over what to do with them.

In a recent turn of events, major metropolitan cities such as New York and Los Angeles have joined the Multi-National United (MNU) in its efforts to isolate South Africa’s new class of citizens in an area known as “District 9.”

The term “citizen” may be inaccurate. These beings have caused a state of fear in South Africa that has brewed into discrimination and in many cases, hatred. World leaders are taking actions to designate restricted areas and broadcast public-service announcements including bus shelters and wall postings in order to monitor their activities. Here’s a closer look into District 9:

The puzzling announcements are making their presence felt on the streets of America’s 15 largest cities. Messages such as, “Bus bench for humans only” and “Beware! Non-humans secretions may corrode metal!” have enticed passersby to call the posted telephone number (listed beneath the unsettling phrase: “Report non-humans”) or enter its URL, D-9.com. Just in case you still haven’t figured it out, this is all part of a viral marketing campaign for Sony Pictures’ quasi-documentary style sci-fi thriller “District 9,” which arrives in theaters in August.

According to Dwight Caines, Sony’s president of digital marketing, there have already been 33,000 phone calls in just two weeks. Among those calls, 2,500 people actually left voice messages about alien sightings. Also, 92% of those calls came from cellphones, which means the outdoor campaigns are effectively engaging people on the spot.



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