Are the Men in Black real? According to a 14-year-old who goes by the name of BugEyes, they are.

BugEyes is behind "The Men in Black Suits Are Real," a viral marketing campaign created to help promote the latest chapter in the "Men in Black" franchise. The marketing push includes a blog, aptly titled, along with an advertisement featuring a hotline number for people to call and get more information on MIB.

In the last decade, studios have been stepping up their viral marketing effort to drum up excitement for upcoming projects. "The Blair Witch Project," "The Dark Knight," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "Super 8" have all had successful -- and extremely cryptic -- ad campaigns.

So how does "MIB 3" stack up to those? For those who are already familiar with the "Men in Black" franchise, the stunt comes off forced and overdone. The driving message behind "The Suits Are Real" is that Men in Black and aliens actually exist. BugEyes' blog links to a variety of YouTube clips and stories on UFO sightings and other extra terrestrial activity. The thing is, fans of "MIB" already know all about the "government coverup" behind both of these things -- they were talked about extensively in the first two films.

Even if you make the case that the campaign is being directed toward younger kids who aren't as familiar with the "MIB" franchise, the information being provided by BugEyes can be found out just by watching the trailer.

Take "The Men in Black Suits Are Real" hotline. Other than directing you to the website, BugEyes talks about an alien named Clive, wants you to know he has evidence that "extra terrestrials live among us" and that there's "a secret organization of these Men in Black suits that watch over them." If you have any information about aliens, BugEyes wants you to leave a message on the hotline, right after he gets through this stale "Terms of Service" statement.

By leaving your message [on this hotline], you grant the permission to use your voice and anything you tell me about yourself and any portion of the content of your message in audio or text form as part of the Men in Black Suits Are Real experience without additional consent or compensation. Just letting you know.

The fun thing about the viral campaigns of "Tattoo" and "Super 8" were the mystery and intrigue behind them, which is lacking in the "Suits" effort. However, there may still be some hope for "MIB 3." In addition to the Suits Are Real, there is a website for Wu's Diamond Garden, a fake Chinese restaurant that serves up some odd deep-fried extra terrestrial food (photos included).

"Men in Black 3" won't hit theaters until May 23, 2012, so expect plenty more viral material to arrive in the next few months.


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categories Movies