Viral marketing is the product of pure genius. It feeds off consumers’ most primal source of curiosity by giving a source, a lead, and the start of a trail of bread crumbs. The consumers’ curiosity turns to dedicated commitment and they follow the carefully placed bread crumbs to the final climactic conclusion. It’s an art, really. Leave it to a complex band like Brand New to embrace it.
I’m not a die hard Brand New fan, but I’m a fan. I don’t think I know anyone who knows the song “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” and doesn’t like it, or at least didn’t like it when it first came out. Music can grow old to the ears and I get that. When I heard Taking Back Sunday was recording a new album, it always makes me wonder about Brand New’s whereabouts. The bands had a pretty big feud about a decade ago but to me, that forever links them both ad infinitum. Visiting Brand New’s website, I came to find they’re also recording a new album. And this is where it all gets interesting.
Here is a screenshot of how their website comes up on my monitor.
In the middle of the page, the text reads “is in the studio”, but as you can see, the merch, twitter and instagram buttons are floating over top of it. There’s also some text below that is legible but not easily over top of the black and white flannel pattern. When you scroll down, you find that text is attached to the floating social buttons and is much easier to read as the background image gets darker at the bottom.
Procrastinate! PoGolith Earth Sound Alliance 2015
We’ll come back to that. What you’re easily able to miss is the deliberately hidden HYPE link made of plain text, tucked away in the upper right hand corner. Because of the link’s positioning and formatting, it scrolls out of site if you do what I did and scrolled down to better read the text. This is a screen shot of the page when you select the entire thing.
The link is still easily missed but obviously, I circled it in bright red for you. Brand New put it there for a reason and that’s not the weirdest part. Where the link takes you is BY FAR the weirdest part.
the one and only PPL MVR “People Mover”
Am I right… or am I right? Now how does it all tie in? That’s the question. One thing is for sure. Nobody knows who the members of PPL MVR are. Is that a clue or is that a bigger gap in the already large, Brand New mystery? It’s time to revisit the strange line of floating text from Brand New’s site: “Procrastinate! PoGolith Earth Sound Alliance 2015.”
Some of this makes perfect sense. Procrastinate Music Traitors is a label formed by the band. After a little research, turns out Earth Sound Research is a music merchandise LLC from Long Beach, Brand New’s hometown, and assumed to be owned by one of the band members. 2015 is next year if you weren’t aware.
PoGolith is the real mystery. I’ve found it in 2 places. It is a hashtag on Twitter that links to the PPL MVR video and also a hashtag on Instagram by The Up Studio, an architecture and design company in Brooklyn, accompanied by ‘#informationisbeautiful’. What PoGolith actually means is still anybody’s guess, but here’s mine…
Brand New is recording a new album and releasing it under their own record label for the first time ever. In tandem with that, they are making an alliance via teaming up with The Up Studios to design Earth Sound Research’s merchandise, physical storefront, and company branding. I have to imagine The Up Studio will play a role in the design of the album as well. All of this is coming to pass in 2015. PoGolith, PPL MVR and how they tie in are still huge mysteries. Are the PPL MVR members, the guys from Brand New??? I guess we’ll have to see on that one.
‘I Love Bees’ Parallel
Like I said, I’m not a huge Brand New fan, but viral marketing is so effective, I spent hours trying to tie the pieces together. If you’re a big fan of Halo, you may remember the “I Love Bees” alternate reality game campaign in 2004. It seems oddly coincidental that an equally cryptic viral marketing method reemerges exactly 10 years later. I have a feeling they’re related, in the sense that ‘I Love Bees’ inspired Brand New. The ‘I Love Bees’ campaign went a little something like this…
Microsoft released a trailer for Halo 2 that set the gaming world ablaze. (HINT: Pay attention to the X-Box logo at the end)
Unbeknownst to the masses, Microsoft bought a basic website that had previously existed for years called “www.ilovebees.com” (it’s no longer operational). After releasing the trailer and creating the trail of breadcrumbs, the website was bombarded over 250 thousand people looking to find the link between the site and Halo 2. What they found was a full-on intellectual roller coaster ride of some of the most impressive viral marketing I have ever heard of.
ilovebees.com started to look like it had been hacked and taken over. The site began to show strange modifications and intelligent/futuristic pop up messages: countdowns, hacks, hidden messages in the code. (screen shot via https://web.archive.org/)
Hacker forums became obsessive when the site’s “owner” asked for help to regain “their” website. That’s where the ball began to pick up speed. People who visited the site were tracked by their IP addresses and cell phone numbers, then were targeted with secret messages. Coordinates started showing up in the website’s code, leading to specific pay phones all over the world, which were triggered to ring at certain times in the day. The people truly sucked in, made sure either they were present or someone was there to pick up the call. The internet is amazing for things like that. The phone calls gave commands to find the next hint in the game and because it’s the internet, the commands were shared and the globe basically became a team to follow this to its conclusion.
The entire idea was to create an ultra realistic story line, making it seem like an artificial intelligence (which is very relevant in Halo) was trapped on Earth and trying to put itself back together. The more puzzles you solved, the further along the story of its reconstruction became; all of which was completely controlled by Microsoft, of course. In the end, there were select locations where Halo 2 could be played before its release and a couple lucky Halo obsessives who made it all the way to the end were bestowed that opportunity.
All of this is so much to take in and I’m sure PPL MVR is about to play a much larger role in what is to come in 2015 from Brand New, but for now, I figured I’d give my 2 cents to the world. Give me YOUR 2 cents down in the comments and lets get the conspiracy theories rolling.
By: Eli Rebich