Gameplay Marketing Strategies as Audience Co-optation:The Story of The Dark Knight, the Cloverfield Monster, and Their Brethren

CarrieLynn D. Reinhard


Case studies of marketing strategies that use some gaming structure and rules that encourage play(ing) are illustrated. In this paper, these strategies are referred to as “gameplay marketing.” It is argued that these strategies have been inspired by established modes of gaming and can be found in at least four general types. The case studies discussed are four campaigns that represent these types: two television series, Leverage and Heroes, and two films, Cloverfield and The Dark Knight. The purpose of such gameplay marketing strategies appears to be to provoke viral marketing by creating buzz from the pleasure of these games. However, this trend also indicates what could be the reconceptualization of power dynamics in the relationship between producers and consumers.

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