Horror Fans Share Their Experiences With Viral Marketing Before 2002’s The Ring

Upcoming Psychological Horror Smile made waves online last weekend with an apparent viral marketing stunt. The actors have appeared at a number of Major League Baseball games, staring maniacally at the cameras behind home plate to promote the film.

Although the waterfall certainly drew attention to Smileit also prompted fans to share their experiences with viral marketing campaigns for other horror films.

A movie that did that exceptionally well? The supernatural horror of 2002 The ring.

TikTok user astro_nina, also known as Nina Fitzgerald, took to the platform to talk about the “sick” viral marketing campaign behind the film, which was an American remake of the J-classic. horrible Ringo.


According to Fitzgerald, the film’s “cursed tape” was distributed widely and randomly before the ringthe exit.

Related: Blair Witch Viral Marketing Website Discovered By Fans?

“Their marketing strategy was basically ‘let’s get this tape seen by as many people as possible without those people being aware of what it is, kind of spark the intrigue,'” she says.

One of the ways they achieved this was by airing the tape, which would have marked its viewers for death within seven days, as a context-free advertisement. The video would play between late night programs “without words, without mention of a movie, for about a month… so people would stumble upon it and it would go on to the next thing, and people would be like, ‘What is -what is it?'”

Marketing for the ring Also included scary websites

While a late-night TV spot would be scary enough for most, Fitzgerald says studios went the extra mile.

“But also they left the physical VHS tape in different places,” Fitzgerald said, detailing how tapes were placed under seats in movie theaters and on car windshields outside of events. The tapes played the “cursed” video and directed viewers to a disturbing network of websites, including a site of a murderer who fell victim to the tape.

Although Fitzgerald says that Dreamworks, the studio behind the ring, cleaned up the internet sites and denied any involvement after the film’s release, Reddit users were able to find archived pages.

Starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Daveigh Chase and directed by Gore Verbinski, the ring is available for rental or purchase on Amazon, Google Play and YouTube.

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