NIN Drums Up Excitement for New Album

By March 22, 2007

When we first told you about ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) a few years ago they hadn’t yet hit as a mainstream marketing technique. While ARGs may never become as ubiquitous as traditional advertising billboards, we’re impressed with the way an elaborately executed ARG is promoting Nine Inch Nails’ upcoming concept album, Year Zero.

The ARG, like the album, tells the tale of a bleak apocalyptic world in the year 2022. Discovered in February, fans first realized that by tacking “.com” onto the words “I am trying to believe” which were highlighted on the back of NIN tour t-shirts, they were lead to a website giving them more clues about the impending dystopia. Numbers on the t-shirts turned out to be a phone number giving callers access to a preview clip of the NIN single, “Survivalism.” More recently, USB drives found in the bathrooms at NIN concerts in Portugal, Spain and England were found to contain various image files, videos and MP3s related to the Year Zero ARG. Fans have found over 28 websites by uncovering Morse code clues hidden in audio tracks, images revealed through spectogram analysis of MP3s, and visuals buried in music videos.

With countless fan blogs tracking each new revelation—not to mention a Wiki dedicated to decoding the mystery—it seems that Nine Inch Nails has succeeded in inspiring fan excitement regarding their upcoming album. We’ll have to wait to see if the fan immersion actually pays off when Year Zero is released April 17th.

Article courtesy of

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KeithB March 26, 2007

I saw this on one of my RSS feeds the other day. Very well-executed campaign thus far. I like the fact that they also seem to be able to control the trickle of the clues so as to keep the whole campaign from unfolding prematurely.

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