Christian Bale Rant Turns into Viral Marketing Gold

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In the world of entertainment, the hottest story over the last few weeks has been Christian Bale’s meltdown on the set of Terminator Salvation. If you haven’t heard it by now (have you been under a rock?) the rant is a four minute, expletive-filled tirade delivered by Christian Bale to the movie’s Director of Photography. The DP was distracting Bale during a scene, and Bale blew up on the guy.

Now, the audio of the rant has hit the Internet, and predictably, the clip has hit cult status. Millions of people have watched the clip and shared it with their friends. A remix of the clip has even gone hot. In short, the clip has gone viral.

While I don’t think this clip was leaked for the purpose of viral marketing, the simple fact is that’s what it’s turned into. Simply put, the more attention this clip gets, the more attention the upcoming Terminator movie gets. And that’s the ultimate goal of viral marketing, isn’t it? To spread a message in an unexpected format that begs to be shared.

Of course, some people will say that the offensive nature of this clip makes it a terrible piece of viral marketing. After all, a significant percent of comments come from people claiming they’ll never watch another Christian Bale movie again.

But frankly, I call BS.

I remember when I was still in high school, I used to work at a local retail store. Any time a customer got in a dispute with management, the first thing they’d say was “I’ll never come back to this store again! And I’m going to tell my friends too!” Every single time, the person would inevitably end up in the store spending their money within just a few weeks.

The point is, the saying “There’s no such thing as bad press” has some merit to it. Sure, some people who are offended by this clip won’t go see the new movie. But those are mostly people who wouldn’t have seen the movie anyway.

Those in the target demographic for Terminator Salvation have had their interest piqued by this clip. Everyone wants to know just how intense the movie is going to be and what scene had Bale so stressed out.

The bottom line is this: the hype for Terminator Salvation is much higher now than it was before this clip came out. Don’t believe me? Just check out the increase in search volume for “Terminator Salvation” around the time this clip leaked. This is proof that the Christian Bale rant clip led people to search for more information on the new Terminator flick.

And to me, that’s a viral marketing success.

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