Earlier tonight, the retro-themed viral marketing website for J.J. Abrams’ upcoming film SUPER 8 launched its second stage of operation with a Flash-animated view from the cockpit of a rocket ship, previewing destinations and Alternate Reality Game clues for the upcoming viral campaign. The Rocket Poppeteers ‘ad campaign’ for frozen pop treats began recruiting new members on the site last week, but the button to launch the SSF1 (Super SpeedFlier) spaceship was disabled until tonight.
Presumably this rocket ship cockpit will be ARG players’ command center for logging into the game and completing ‘missions’ to earn rank advancements in Captain Coop’s fleet of loyal Poppeteers: in addition to Home Base, pilots can dial in alternate site destinations including The Rocket Poppeteer Legacy, Super Space Store, Astronaut Program, Space Station: Freezer, Coop’s Amazing Adventures, Poppeteers Pride, Uncharted Territory, and P.M.C. (likely Poppeteer Mission Control).
While many of these website/ARG destinations are not fully functional right now, enjoy flipping the myriad of switches, pushing buttons and dialing up a delightfully retro cacophony of vintage-concept space sounds. So far FilmEdge hasn’t discovered any clues or links hidden in this analog control panel, but the cockpit may reveal surprises as the game opens up for play. Certainly the five Rocket Poppeteer Flavor Fleets indicate that SUPER 8 ARG players will be earning stars and command rank as they complete mission tasks ahead. These ranks were also teased when the Rocket Poppeteers ice cream truck made surprise appearances in San Diego for Comic-Con 2010, with the flavors painted on the truck’s side panels and even given out as souvenir buttons to a few lucky fans. The RP Truck announced its location via the official Rocket Poppeteers Twitter account, which is also linked from the rocketship cockpit at the RP site — fans and ARG players should definitely follow it going forward in the game.
There’s still plenty of time to register for space duty at the Rocket Poppeteers site and join the SUPER 8 viral game and marketing campaign. Writer/director J.J. Abrams is certainly taking a creative approach to attracting audiences to his potentially scary and dramatically serious sci-fi thriller schedule to release in theaters next summer. This retro campaign selling frozen pops to ‘kids’ seems light years away from the ultra creepy teaser trailer Abrams made for SUPER 8 earlier this spring. Tonight’s launch is an intriguing paradox, but a very interesting puzzle to decipher exactly what Abrams has stashed in his Mystery Box for this film.