Iron Man 3 "ARG" Retrospective
In the lead up to Iron Man's release in 2013, there was a minor bit of viral marketing for the film.
This consisted of Stark Industries putting up a site called Become Iron Man.[archive.org link] The site wanted test subjects to help test the Mark 42 (Mark XLII) Iron Man suit. I know, Stark Industries didn't make the suit in the film, that's just how it was set up. There was indication that there was going to be a location set up in Manchester, near-ish to where I lived at the time, so I signed up when I could. Eventually the location, and dates, of the Manchester were announced: a weekend in early April 2013, at the Trafford centre. I chose the Saturday as the buses were more frequent.
The day arrived, and I went down to the Trafford Centre. The booth wasn't too hard to find, I think I was given the specific location inside the centre. There was a bit of a queue, but nothing too bad. The booth was staffed by people in lab coats. While you were waiting you could watch other people doing testing, so you knew what you were in for. There were a variety of people taking part, even several kids.
Once I was at the front, they took my name (I think) and started getting an badge ready for me while one person told me where and how to stand. The test consisted of facing a giant screen showing you and your background, and seemed to involve motion capture of some kind, a Kinect perhaps? An arc reator was on your chest, and you had to move specifically for the test to callibrate. After a few moments, the suit components flew onto your body, and assembled itself. You had a few moments to admire yourself in the suit before the face plate few onto your face to complete it.
You were then taken to Stark's garage to take part in several activities to test the suit. Dancing, firing the repulsors at targets and hovering/flying around the garage. It ends with JARVIS telling you that you were needed to help rescue people being sucked out of a hole in Air Force One, which I think was part of the Air Force One rescue scene in the film. With testing complete, I was given my badge, which had a code on to get my photos from the site, which was connected to an Iron Man 3 lanyard.
Afterwards, there was a free poster to collect from a store elsewhere in the Trafford Centre, which I think I recycled/threw away at some point. I checked out, and downloaded, my photos when I good and they're an amazing reminder of the experience. There was also the #BecomeIronMan hastag on Twitter that people used, showing off their photos and talking about it. You'l have to scroll down to get to the tweets from this specific bit of viral marketing.
Why did I like this?
The biggest item was the fact that not many ARG or viral marketing live events happen in the UK, so it's rare when I'm able to attend one of these. Beyond that, I've always enjoyed the Iron Man films, since I saw the first one in the cinema. Tony Stark's my favourite hero in the MCU, with Captain America probably coming in second. I enjoyed seeing myself in the suit, listening to JARVIS, before flying away to rescue people.
Unfortunately I couldn't get any good photos of my badge and lanyard sorry.
Some videos were uploaded showing the experience.
Marvel UK showed off the tour.
Max Preston uploaded his experience.
Sarah Thomas posted her exprience and her friends'.
As always, there's the forum post where you can talk about this post. Did you attend the same one I did? Did you go to one of the experiences elsewhere in the UK or somewhere else in the world?