In the last couple of days, the official site for Black Snake Moan launched. Starring Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci, it is about a man who chains a girl to a radiator in an attempt to cure her from her promiscuity. As Ricci told MTV, her character is:
a girl who suffers physical flashbacks to a childhood rape. Some women and young girls freak out, panic, and need to cut themselves. [My character] needs to cause herself the same kind of pain when she has panic attacks by having anonymous sex.
As strange of a plot as this sounds, however, Paramount has created a relatively interactive environment to market the film.
First, if you click on “Mess Around” from the flash menu, you’ll have a choice of either making your own blues song, create a Black Snake Moan MySpace skin, impose your face over those of Ricci and/or Jackson in a variety of poster pics, or take a Nymph Quiz — the score of which you can embed in your MySpace. As a more usual movie site feature, moreover, under the menu option “Get Some,” there are several desktop backgrounds that can be downloaded. Finally, on every page, there’s a “Send this Page to a Friend” button.
The most interesting features, however, are found after clicking on “Experience” in the top left-hand corner. From here you can click on five different characters’ names, and although three only feature a quote and desktop download, both Ricci and Jackson’s characters feature a short video, after which the user can interact with the page. In Ricci’s case, you can feed her two pills after which you’ll watch a shot of her passing out. In Jackson’s case, you can make him play a couple cords of blues guitar.
The only feature that the site seems to lack is a forum or blog. Of course, these could be detrimental to the movies as users could easily post negative comments about the movie. Indeed, separate blogs have already featured negative commentary on the film. Furthermore, I can’t imagine what the blog could be updated with on a daily or even regular basis.
All in all, I think that Paramount has created an exceptional user experience. From interactive videos to MySpace widgets, they’ve seemed to covered all their basis, and the site seems to serve its purpose: coaxing the user to tell someone about it. Not only isword of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising, but I’ve bothered to write about it.