The Dark Knight Rises’ awesomely complex viral marketing campaign

photo: Warner Bros

Fans unlock the stunning new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming blockbuster one frame at a time by spotting strategically-placed graffiti all over the world

A new trailer for the surefire summer blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises was released Monday night — and Batman’s superfans worked hard to get it. (Watch the video below.) As part of a buzz-driving marketing campaign for the final installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Warner Brothers announced the trailer on the film’s website, telling fans that to see it, they had to help the Gotham City Police Department locate Batman by tracking down hundreds of pieces of graffiti from around the world. For every piece of graffiti that a fan found and tagged on social media, Warner Brothers unlocked a frame of the trailer.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, obsessively eager fans had the whole thing unlocked in a matter of hours. Here, a guide to the shrewd campaign — and the impressive new footage: 

How did this campaign start?
A fictional file for a criminal investigation was posted Monday morning on It contained a warrant for the arrest of “John Doe aka The Batman,” who is on the lam after taking the fall for corrupt District Attorney Harvey Dent at the end of The Dark Knight. The file included a press release explaining that Batman left graffiti drawings of bats around the world, imploring the public to take pictures of the graffiti and submit photographic evidence by Twitter or email.

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