I'm fascinated – fascinated – by how studios choose to use viral marketing to their advantage, or, on occasion, their disadvantage. One that piqued my curiosity recently was the KeepHerAwake.com "game" that was part of the Warner Bros. campaign for the new A Nightmare on Elm Street. Unfortunately, I'm late to the game, and the site has already been taken down and automatically redirects to the main Warner Bros. homepage. I'd have liked to played with it a little just to really make sure it was as ridiculous and gnarly as it sounds.

BoingBoing first pointed it out in mid-March, writing, "Maybe they picked up tips from American black ops torturers, waterboarding detainees and forcing 'stress positions' to 'keep them awake' in the name of liberty." Writer Susannah Breslin stepped up the coverage a notch with a blog post entitled, "Warner Bros. wants you to torture a woman to death." Bresln writes, "Surely, these days, studios like Warner Bros. will do whatever it takes to fill theater seats. Don't let the guys at Guantanamo Bay have all the fun! the thinking must have been. Everyone can be a torturer. It's the American way."

I'm not totally convinced that the connection between US civil rights violations of prisoners has a lot to do with an ill-conceived promotional game, although the similarities are eerily similar. I do think it's the latest in a long line of terribly ill-conceived and/or tasteless attempts at viral marketing, such as the "oral sex" video game promo for the movie Running Scared, which, as Christopher Campbell pointed out, requires the player to perform oral sex on one of the character's wives, ostensibly searching for the G-Spot in the hoping of winning by pleasuring the woman until she orgasms. Well, points for mentioning the G-Spot, I suppose.