Mar 14 2008Exclusive: I Believed in Harvey Dent!

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With the Dark Knight marketing campaign in full swing for the July release, campaign vans for fictional D.A. Harvey Dent have been visiting cities across America, sending out a message of hope for Gotham that the majority of pedestrians didn't seem to understand. I reluctantly headed to Manhattan's Lower East Side, camera in hand, to see what it was all about. Here's what happened...

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I was a little worried before leaving that I wouldn't be able to find the thing: the "I Believe in Harvey Dent" website gave the location only as "Soho area (Ludlow - Essex - Allen)." Aside from this area not technically being in Soho, there's the larger issue that these are three parallel streets. What the hell, Dent, you don't believe in giving cross-streets?

As it turns out, I found the "Dentmobile"--a Ford cargo van labeled with some magnetic propaganda--right away, parked on the street next to Essex Market at Delancey. They were just getting set-up, a process that involved opening a single fold-out table and littering it with t-shirts and pins.

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As soon as I started taking photos, one of women asked if I was there to campaign for Harvey Dent, and I admitted I was covering the event for a movie blog. After divulging the site's address, one of the campaigners proved herself a bit of an observational comic, rolling her eyes and noting a peculiar similarity: "IWatchStuff.com, IBelieveInHarveyDent.com..." It's true--everything is .com these days!

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Once they started on the bullhorn, intermittently broadcasting their support for the D.A., a few pedestrians stopped to find out what was going on. It quickly became clear I was the only one there who had any idea what was going on. The conversations all went something like this:

"What's this?"

"We're campaigning for Harvey Dent! Do you believe in Harvey Dent?"

"Who?"

"Have you heard of Gotham City?!"

"What are you talking about?"

Despite the overwhelming disinterest from the occasional passerby, I was impressed the campaigners stayed true to character, never admitting they were promoting a Batman movie. Even when I asked how they ended up getting the job, their only response was, "Signed up at the Gotham City campaign headquarters!" Cute.

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After less than ten minutes of this, as I prepared to head back with an embarrassing armful of promotional material, things got interesting again. Some security guys from the building came out and insisted the Dentmobile leave the premises. The men failed to respond to claims that permission was sought and granted, or that it was legal to campaign on a public street, so the campaigners returned to their script as a final, desperate hope: "Come on--don't you believe in Harvey Dent?"

They didn't.

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A dejected Dentmobile moves on to parts unknown (probably the next street over). This may give some insight as to why the van was reportedly absent in some cities.

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And finally, some trinkets and apparel that I will never show anyone again.

So, did anyone else go out for this?

Reader Comments

Awesome, I totally want one of those shirts

pretty cool - you've now gone from annonymous blogger to investigative photo journalist!

So... pretty lame then. I'm still going, if just for the t-shirt

I went in DC @ the Georgetown location. It was the same thing that you described. Not only did the "volunteers" stay true to form, so did the people that showed up. I got the stickers and stuff, but no shirt :(.

nice reporting!

I think Harvey Dent should be nominated for President. Hell, even Two-Face would be better than any of our current options.

You should hold a contest so the iwatchstuff.com fans can have a chance to win some of your chotskies.

It never occurred to me that Mr. Superficial's blogs constituted a real job. Or at least that he might do first hand reporting. Or that he's in New York! This is so revealing. I'm a couple of Batman movies behind, so, huh.

Nice job superfish. I can now forgive you for calling Britney's video badass (*shudders* don't ever do that to us again, bad superfish very bad but, now superfish do good, very good... so it's cools)
Man, those stupid tools I'm so embarrassed for them. Don't they understand that the public isn't intelligent enough for this, people hardly remember their own grandma's name so they ain't gonna remember the name of some politician in some movie that isn't out yet, more importantly they don't care enough to try. Also these things don't have a shot in hell of working unless there are some hot chicks involved, I see NO hot chicks so it's a bust.

Product placement works but, this kind of shit does not. I hope they stop this tardness ASAP because it's making me dislike the movie.. There's nothing less impressive than trying too hard. This is so what a bunch of drama geeks in highschool would do to promote their new play and they'd go to a football game and carry on like this being way to enthusiastic thinking they were being all creative and no one would get it and it would just be really sad and slightly creepy. But, in that case instead of being made to leave by security they'd be pelted by juice boxes, boooos and then the jock douchebags would shove them in some lockers and break all their props.

Wait... was that real highschool or just some movie I saw? Fuck maybe if I went to any school activities or half my classes I'd remember.

it was a pleasant surprise to learn that you live in nyc. i bet you work in your pjs.. looks like you laid that promo junk on your bed.

Sooooo I'm in Ohio and showed up for this thing in Cinci. It wasn't anything like the pictures here, but it was raining too.

Anyway, the van was completely unmarked and sitting among all the regular parking spaces! The only way I found it was b/c they opened up the back and were holding tshirts. I got up to the van and they asked me if I supported Dent and was I was like heck yeah!

They gave me a tshirt and some stickers, but then security nearby turned on their siren and the guy was like "that's our warning, gotta go!" They closed up shop just as soon as they had come and tore outta there. It was a bit anti-climatic...

I went out looking for the white van and found it! some nice guys who offered to not only give me an "I belive in Harvey Dent" t-shirt but pants, undies and an original Dent . WOW! but in the end they just wanted to touch my parts.
Oh... hell I just remembered.. I ive in Mexico. o_O

I forgot to mention the van was 40 min late

I work in Chicago and they were campaigning off of Madison by Olgilvie Train Station

GAY

I get that the name "Harvey Dent" is definitely obscure. But if you drop the name "Gotham City" and no one responds, then you're in trouble. Not to mention that those walking by the van didn't recognize Aaron E's face on the posters, that's a third strike. I love that these were planned and yet totally guerrilla.

wow, superficial pervert, i always assumed you lived in california. i bet that janitor was hoping this politician would allow him to vote. way to give them hope, predator mobile!!!

I hear Harvey Dent is just another two-faced politician with a $1,000 a week whore problem.

That's not too shabby, I'd rock one of those shirts.

I saw them out on Lafayette and Astor place in NYC this afternoon, but people sometimes refer to New York as "Gotham" so I thought it was just some crazy woman with a lot of passion. I don't think their campaign was successful for this film.

i went in rhode island and it was a hit. they set up and people came- i had planned ahead and it seemed that many of the people there had as well. we marched on the state house and had a good time. all in all i think it was a cool idea and it was well executed.

HAHAHA harvey dent is just a two-faced politician. bwahahaha.... the thing is, i don't think he meant that. dumbass.

Yes indeed, NYC is frequently referred to as Gotham City, so passersby on the street not recognizing 'Gotham City' for that reason alone is disheartening, to say nothing of the cutural touchstone that was the Adam West Batman TV show.

I say it'd be a great idea to have the Dent Mobile at the movie's premiere in various cities.

Jeez Mark, I guess no one ever read your About Section.

Mark has written for I Watch Stuff since January 2006. His qualifications include having seen several movies--including Star Wars and the one with dinosaurs--and literacy.

He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with your dog.

GET OUT

I was down there today! And I saw the van and the crazy promoters and was confused and everything until I heard what they were shouting. It was really funny! It happened right outside Washington Square Park.

I think you meant "sites," not "cites."

I went to the one in Baltimore today. I have to say, it was a helluva lot of fun. We all got our signs and marched downtown, one guy manning a megaphone and yelling at cars. The looks on people's faces were PRICELESS. Sure, it was just a group of random dorks walking around a city, but as a piece of marketing it was genius, and all it cost WB was a handful of vans and some promo swag.

Walking in Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon, there was a van with one girl campaigning. Why I didn't say to myself "A D.A. campaign in March?" is beyond me. Good looks.

Matt

Hey, be happy they showed up. I, along with 30 or so other people, waited around for 2 1/2 hours in Philadelphia and they never bothered to show up.

I think viral marketing like that is great for the interbutts, but seriously, it's way too subtle for the normal citizen out on the streets.

It's working fine. You're talking about it right now.

that sounds lame enough to be found on a community college campus somewhere

GODAMMIT! i woulda totally cut class for this.

CRAPPING HELL!

Even I know who Harvey Dent is and I am from Canada.

( Damn it, I've probably confused the masses again. The big place on top of your country, you know, America's Hat?)


Damnit! I and a friend of mine waited by the Galleria in Houston, TX but it never showed up...so either they were really late, never showed, or like Ryan said above, the van was unmarked. We even walked around the parking lot looking for them...Oh well.

#9, you really had a monologue going there but you ended it wrong.

You're last line should have been: "It was four hours before someone let me out of that locker!"

You see how that works? It's called making your dull, whiny, shit interesting.

You should have told them you supported the Joker...just to see if their reactions.

is that the same sheet you rape on?

I went to the Seattle Dentmobile location yesterday at Pike Place Market, and got plenty of swag and tons of pictures. They showed up a good 30 minutes late, but had a ton of swag to give out, so it was worth it.

I went to the Union Square location in San Francisco. It was also late and they didn't even bother setting up a table - they just handed out stuff out of the back doors. Some guy asked us what the t-shirts were about while wearing one.

Nice report & cool photos, thanks. Yeah, the Dentmobile Campaign sort of bummed me out because I live in Oklahoma City & they never came anywhere close to me. I would have liked to get one of those T-Shirts & maybe a bumper sticker or two. Congrats to those of you who did, that's cool.

BATMAN FAN? Visit The Bat-Blog!
http://www.bat-blog.com

Thanks, Tommy

hey eh? Ahhh..... America's hat is called Can - a - da, neat.

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