Back in 2008, J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield pretty much came out of nowhere and surprised everyone with its found-footage depiction of a giant monster attacking New York City and a small group of friends’ struggle to survive. It was surprising in large part because nobody knew what the hell the movie was or even what it was called following its initial teaser, but a hefty viral marketing campaign — one of the first of its kind — sprang up shortly thereafter and a frenzy ensued.
That method of marketing seems to be spreading to this new film, 10 Cloverfield Lane, which isn’t found-footage but does look super weird and we’re still not entirely sure what exactly it’s about. However, recent events are reigniting the long-dormant Augmented Reality Gaming sites that sprung up around the first film. Want some backstory? Well here’s some!
Back in 2008, the Cloverfield viral marketing surrounded a mysterious group called Tagruato who was drilling in the deep ocean for something that wasn’t oil but WAS used to flavor a drink that became the Japanese drink Slusho. Rob, the first film’s main character, was about to go work for that company before all the monster shiz went down. In the marketing, a Tagruato oil derrick was said to be targeted by the group TIDO Wave, which was trying to stop the drilling. None of that had anything really to do with the movie besides giving possible backstory to the creature, who sprung from the aforementioned deep ocean.
Okay, so now we’re in the present. After years of nothing, if you email the fake Tagruato account, you now get the following message:
From: [email protected]
Due to new security protocols, this account is no longer active. All correspondence is monitored and will be responded to appropriately.
Thank you for your interest.
Director of Public Relations
*Employee of the Month: 2016 January
Yes, that’s employee of the month for January 2016, which means this is once again active.
Now, there’s something else: in the teaser for 10 Cloverfield Lane, which saw Mary Elizabeth Winstead being held captive by John Goodman because of “something” outside the house, there is a soda on the table called Swamp Pop. Some people who are awesome went and found the Swamp Pop website, which allows you to buy the product. They also offer a “Long-Term Shelter Supply” for $4,813.00 but it’s sold out on the site. 4813 was the number punched into the jukebox at the beginning of the teaser.
But you can actually buy Swamp Pop in six packs and other such branded merchandise (just like you could with Slusho 8 years ago) and people on Reddit discovered they were also getting puzzle pieces along with their orders. The people in the trailer are also putting together a puzzle. Evidently, thanks to everybody on Reddit being hawks about Easter eggs, they’ve put together a complete puzzle from the pieces and it’s the Eiffel Tower. Whether the Eiffel Tower impacts the story of 10 Cloverfield Lane or if it just happens to be the puzzle they’re putting together, we’re not sure.
Slashfilm‘s Peter Sciretta did some digging and discovered that Swamp Pop is an actual product, like it’s real and its use in the film is a product placement. So whether the puzzle pieces and Shelter Supply listing are just the company playing along with the movie or if something else weird is happening, we just don’t know yet. But it’s really strange.
Bring on the oblique mysteries about Bad Robot movies, I say! What do you say? Let us know in the comments below!
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!