2012 marketing campaign causes global panic

The viral marketing campaign for Roland Emmerich’s big budget disaster movie 2012 has caused real global panic, with thousands inundating NASA with concerned phone calls and emails in the build-up to the film’s release.

The teaser campaign for the film, which is based on fact inasmuch as there really is a conspiracy theory which quite a few online kooks and eccentric authors subscribe to that predicts the apocalypse in 2012, encouraged viewers to google said theory to find out ‘the truth’.

Once the more gullible members of the public had been sufficiently stirred up by the conspiracy theorists, Columbia Pictures’ marketing team then created a fake website called the Institute for Human Continuity to add further weight to the end of days panic.

The website announced that after a 25-year assessment of threats to the continuation of mankind, “the odds of global destruction had been confirmed at 94%” and that users must register for a lottery to ensure their chance of survival.

David Morrison from NASA told the Guardian last weekend he and his colleagues had been inundated with concerned calls and emails after the site went up.

“People are really, really worried about the world coming to an end”, said Morrison.

“Kids are contemplating suicide. Adults tell me they can’t sleep and can’t stop crying.”

The hysteria got to such a level that NASA was forced to set up its own website a few months ago, assuring the public that no, the world was not going to end on December 21, 2012, as the film insinuates.

For those who aren’t familiar with the origins of the doomsday theory, the site explains that it “started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed towards Earth.

“This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened, the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012.”

Mmm, sounds credible.

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