Flying People Spotted Over New York City…Film At Nine

In a recent publicity venture for their new movie “Chronicle”, 20th Century Fox enlisted the help of viral marketing agency Thinkmodo to design and execute a rather unique campaign element that surely caused several doubletakes over the New York City skyline.

If you thought you saw some flying humans in the sky over parts of New York City and New Jersey in the last couple of weeks you are, in fact, not crazy. You were merely exposed to a new kind of avant garde marketing technique brought to you by the same folks that unleashed the iPad Head Girl a few months back.

Michael Krivicka from Thinkmodo explains:

“Since the three main characters of the movie have the ability to fly, we came up with the idea of staging a few “flying people” sightings around NYC. We achieved that illusion by having 3 custom-made aircraft (which were shaped like human beings) fly above designated areas in NYC and NJ.”

Here’s a quick video documenting the concept and the flights.

I personally think it’s a ballsy, creative and unique advertising tactic, yet I struggle with wondering how a person would tie the two things together — the movie and the freaky sightings.

In my mind, I guess the optimal scenario would be that a person who had already seen the movie trailer, would later see flying people and then make the connection. Or a person might connect the dots after a sighting, when seeing an additional advertisement for the film. If you never see the trailer at all, you might just end up calling the police or your local Area 51 support group for advice.

Whatever the effect, I am still a proponent of these kinds of marketing exercises and I don’t think this is money spent in vain. This was only a single component of a larger campaign so it’s not like the whole movie is riding on it. Plus, the word of mouth generated by events like this can be powerful.

Even if it’s only realized after the fact, an event like this can bring a smile to the face of a consumer and bring some cool cred to 20th Century Fox for being gutsy and reaching a local area with a unique message. That ephemeral “oh, now I get it” moment can be extremely valuable even if the number of people experiencing it measures only in the hundreds.