Take a Ride to Hell and Back With The Darkness: Campaign Analysis

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After angst-ridden grunge rock practically eradicated the hair metal movement in the early 90s, we thought we’d seen the last of those frivolous, spandex-clad, Aquanet-abusing shenanigans.

Not so, says The Darkness.

Sure, the genre has been somewhat resurrected (and lampooned) by VH1 specials, but the aforementioned UK act has taken it upon itself to single-handedly awaken the beast, giving nostalgic 80s holdovers something to raise their lighters to while luring a whole new generation of fans to their midst in the process. The band’s glam theatrics and arena rock bombast might seem anachronistic and cheeky, but if interviews and live performances reveal anything, it’s that they’re serious musicians who are also in on the joke.

So to commemorate the release of The Darkness’s second opus, One Way Ticket to Hell and Back, the band’s label, Atlantic/WEA, hired Boston’s Pod Design to devise a viral campaign that would emphasize the band’s fun-loving spirit and wink-wink attitude while cleverly promoting the new record.

Combining their trademark send-to-a-friend applications with advergaming components, Pod (with the help of One Way producer Roy Thomas Baker) created a game — to be launched this week – that certainly fuses the album’s theme with the six-string heroics of the band. Visitors who dare to play will enter a bat-infested, subterranean dungeon where they’re faced with a guitar-wielding demon. To play the game, you’ll have to match the fret-riding Darkness licks that the devilish avatar plays by clicking on a spherically-arranged set of candles on an altar in front of you. Each candle carries a note and must be clicked on in the correct order, or you will be “cast into hell forever!”

Visitors who do succeed in becoming rock gods by advancing through all the levels will be entered into a contest for a chance to win a Darkness prize pack including a Video iPod and an autographed copy of One Way Ticket To Hell…And Back. Two Runner Up Winners will also receive an autographed CD and Darkness Poster.

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