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Terminaliens.
December 20, 2008 7:17 AM   Subscribe

Remember these UFOs? In May of last year, pictures were posted anonymously on Craiglist and Flickr of strange objects in the California sky. This Monday night, the mystery was solved.
posted by EarBucket (37 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
They'll be back.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 7:33 AM on December 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


Nice work by that Screen Rant poster.
posted by mwhybark at 8:25 AM on December 20, 2008


I'm waiting for the day when an instance of "viral marketing" pushes some disturbed person to commit horrible act of law-breaking. Well, really, I waiting for the day when the resultant lawsuits give PR firms some hesitation before wasting time on an elaborate hoax that will leave people pissed off at your product/client.
posted by Benjy at 8:33 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, though I don't believe for a second that UFOs are alien spacecrafts, I wouldn't say that they mystery is solved.

A bunch of photos and stories appeared on the web.

Later, similar images appeared on a TV show.

As the writer suggests, it's possible that the TV-show's creators adapted the web images (rather than the other way around). I agree with the writer that it's more likely that it was viral marketing for the TV show, but I'm not absolutely convinced of that.
posted by grumblebee at 8:36 AM on December 20, 2008


I totally noticed that too! Not, of course, that I watch that show. Heavens no.
Since nothing ever came of those photos when they first came out, it was quite satisfying to have it resolved over a year later, when I didn't expect to, and with no fanfare.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 8:41 AM on December 20, 2008


Wow. I hope that that these UFO believers start flooding Fox's phone lines until they get an answer. If this does end up being a corporate viral campaign interrupted by the writers' strike, I'd love hear the story from the Fox perspective.
posted by exhilaration at 8:43 AM on December 20, 2008


They're the ones that stole my ceiling fan!
posted by not_on_display at 8:48 AM on December 20, 2008


As the writer suggests, it's possible that the TV-show's creators adapted the web images (rather than the other way around).

I kind of doubt that. High profile content creators tend to be very aware of copyright law, I doubt they'd risk like that.

I'm 100% convinced fox created the images and released them as a viral campaign.
posted by Mcable at 8:52 AM on December 20, 2008


I agree that's the most likely explanation. But what about the possibility that some joker on the SFX or model-making team did it on his own, rather than as part of a planned campaign? I know that I would be tempted, if I was spending late nights working on such a model. The thought would occur to me: "Hm. A bit of Photoshopping and a post on Craigslist.... fun!"

Again, I'm not saying that that's LIKELY. I'm just saying that the mystery is not solved, other than obviously there's a connection between the Craislist posts and Fox. When I read that the mystery was solved, I was expecting non-circumstantial evidence, such as someone at Fox admitting that he made the photos and posted them.
posted by grumblebee at 9:09 AM on December 20, 2008


Mark my words - Elvis is behind this.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:46 AM on December 20, 2008


Kirth Gerson: If that's the case, then he must still be alive!
posted by Pants! at 9:57 AM on December 20, 2008


Perhaps 9/11 was viral marketing for a tv show
posted by KokuRyu at 9:59 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I want to believe.
posted by mecran01 at 10:00 AM on December 20, 2008


BREAKING: Julius Caesar not really dead. Viral marketing cooked up by him, Brutus and Antony to promote another Punic War.
posted by DU at 10:08 AM on December 20, 2008


I find it hard to believe that Fox News would just fabricate a news story like that. It would mean they think all of their viewers are gullible, mouth-breathing morons. Therefore, aliens must exist.
posted by stavrogin at 10:12 AM on December 20, 2008


It was a streetlight.
posted by jquinby at 10:17 AM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Kirth Gerson: If that's the case, then he must still be alive!

You have no idea how much of a "planner" Elvis was.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:39 AM on December 20, 2008


Apparently I'm the only person who watched the episode in question.

The show is not "aliens"-themed in any way, but in this particular case, a group of UFO believers had sighted something which Sarah believed to be actual future technology (presumably as a result of Skynet muddying the timeline), and worked with a high profile individual in the UFO community (and eventually intentionally let him die) to find the source of these sightings, where she was promptly shot and left to bleed out for a tedious mid-season cliffhanger.

So if you want to take THAT as some sort of depiction of how Fox treats its fans, yes, go right ahead.
posted by mek at 10:43 AM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I haven't seen the remake of 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' but I've always dreamed of an
UFO landing on the mall. Funk legend, George Clinton pops out with Sly Stone and they both
rock the funk out of DC.
posted by doctorschlock at 10:54 AM on December 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


mek: You're not alone!

For what it's worth, I immediately thought of T:TSCC when I saw the pictures. I never saw the pictures back when they first came out, and I'm sure I wouldn't have recognized them in the TV show anyway, but with the episode fresh in my mind, it just clicks.
posted by niles at 11:15 AM on December 20, 2008


I haven't seen the remake of 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' but I've always dreamed of an UFO landing on the mall. Funk legend, George Clinton pops out with Sly Stone and they both rock the funk out of DC.

From your lips to God's ears.
posted by jquinby at 11:16 AM on December 20, 2008


OK, let me add this to my lexicon of business terminology...
This term             Really means...
Viral marketing       fraud
Pretexting            fraud
Got it, thanks.
posted by crapmatic at 11:45 AM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't care who took it, earthlings. There won't be consequences. Just give me my ride back....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 11:54 AM on December 20, 2008


Kronos_to_Earth, maybe you should have a talk with These guys.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:09 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


There was no mystery unless you're a complete idiot.
posted by 2sheets at 12:30 PM on December 20, 2008


Reminds me of the time I saw a UFO. I was a teenager, watching Close Encounters at a drive-in south of Welland, Ontario. We had snuck in on our bikes and smoked up a bit. We were lying on the grass, off to the side, watching the final mothership sequence when a huge f*cking UFO materialized right out of the screen and floated out over all the parked cars!

...I forgotten the Welland canal was just on the far side of the screen. It was a big, great lakes freighter with all it's deck lights on.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:49 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, his neighbor's camera could only hold 5 pictures, huh?
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:18 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you vant to believe, come wit me!
posted by sharksandwich at 2:40 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen the latest Sarah Connor, but series two seemed to run out of ideas by the second episode. If this really is a viral marketing campaign, it seems to have involved more intelligence than most of the recent episodes.

I'd be far more impressed if someone had a covert shot of Shirley Manson morphing out of a urinal.
posted by hnnrs at 3:54 PM on December 20, 2008


This might be viral, but it's not Terminator viral. Why would a marketing team publish one single site almost one and a half year before being followed up on? Wouldn't it make more sense for a Terminator viral marketing campaign to contain, you know, Terminators? Especially for a show they didn't even know would make it through the first season.

Maybe the writers used the pictures because they are curious about who made the originals and wanted the creators to out themselves.
posted by ymgve at 4:17 PM on December 20, 2008


My best guess is this: Fox had some other show in development (maybe even the X-Files movie) and paid a PR company to drum up hype. Said other show was cancelled (or they dropped the aliens from the X-Files movie), so Fox ended up tying TSCC into the publicity campaign. No money lost, and it looks to the outside world like they planned it all along.
posted by hnnrs at 4:25 PM on December 20, 2008


Dammit, spoilers for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

In the UK we're only half-way through season 2. The mysterious three dots have just appeared in Sarah's dreams.

I guess I should have noticed the URL and shied away. With things like this and salon.com spoiling the "big bad" of Buffy season 6, it's a real pain trying to stay unspoilered watching American shows on UK terrestrial TV.
posted by Slogby at 5:08 PM on December 20, 2008


Kronos_to_Earth, maybe you should have a talk with these guys.

Don't that beat all?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 5:37 PM on December 20, 2008


I've enjoyed watching Brian Austin Green slowly (but surely) become Tek Jansen!
posted by funkbrain at 6:53 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


hnnrs, Fox does its own publicity. It's pretty unlikely that creative would be repurposed like that. (I used to work in Fox Marketing.)
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:48 PM on December 20, 2008


Worst viral marketing campaign ever - particularly since The Sarah Connor Chronicles didn't begin airing until January 2008.
posted by crossoverman at 7:37 PM on December 21, 2008


"Maybe the writers used the pictures because they are curious about who made the originals and wanted the creators to out themselves."

Or maybe somewhere in the Fox chain of command is a Cigarette Smoking Man, whose goal is to discredit the images.

I looked at the pictures of the "craft" and they do look a bit shiny (CG) to me. Something's off about them.
posted by Sukiari at 10:23 PM on December 22, 2008


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