Remember how Cloverfield came out of nowhere and then dumped a pile of viral marketing on us to keep interest in the then-mysterious movie high? Well, its sibling movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane, is operating in much the same way.
Let’s break this down: Back when the trailer for Dan Trachtenberg’s movie came out last month, J.J. Abrams described it as a “blood relative of Cloverfield.” Which means, at the very least, that 10 Cloverfield Lane shares a universe with Cloverfield.
The original 2008 movie gave us Tagruato, a drilling company which has a station near New York destroyed just before the events of Cloverfield take place, whose website was part of the original viral campaign. The fake company’s website fired up again recently, sending out e-mails from Vanessa Gwon “Employee of the Month: January 2016.”
In the Clover-universe (sigh), Tagruato is also the maker of the fictional Slusho, a drink made from “seabed’s nectar.” While Tagruato also appeared in Abrams’ Star Trek, Slusho goes all the way back to Alias. This could either mean everything exists in one J.J. Abrams universe or simply that it’s a fun Easter egg for fans.
Tagruato’s reappearance is specifically interesting, only because the company was implied to be connected with the monster attack in Cloverfield. If they’re also connected to whatever makes the characters of 10 Cloverfield Lane stay in their fallout shelter, we’ve got a company with an appalling safety record on our hands.
In less “viral marketing” and more “product placement” news, the 10 Cloverfield Lane trailer showed the characters drinking the actual product Swamp Pop. TheSwamp Pop website features a sold out “product” that is clearly related to the film, since it’s called “Long-Term Shelter Supply” and costs $4,813—the same number punched into the jukebox in the trailer.
Orders of Swamp Pop have come with puzzle pieces like the puzzle in the trailer. The pieces, put together by Reddit, turned out to create the image of the Eiffel Tower.
What does it all mean? Well, it could mean nothing. Viral marketing done correctly adds a layer of information but isn’t required to make the film make sense.
It could also explain the connection between the original Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane. The “sold out” shelter supply of Swamp Pop is supposedly because of “unforeseen circumstances on the eastern seaboard,” which could be related to the disaster in New York in Cloverfield—the disaster that was also connected to Tagruato. Plus, the end of Cloverfield also gives a natural explanation for why people would be hunkered down in a bunker.
Either way, we’re probably going to be bombarded with the stuff until the film comes out on March 11.