On Friday July 15, at 12:00pm Pacific time, another countdown will reach 00:00 – a second opportunity for willing test subjects to volunteer themselves to the cause. But what’s in store this time?
On June 30, the first countdown reached zero opening the door to a hectic nation-wide scramble — a mission labeled “Icefly”. In 15 cities across the United States, over the course of many hours, subjects were directed to specific physical locations in each city at set times, revealed randomly every hour. The first to arrive at each had to complete a task which would allow them to fulfill their portion of the mission — to rescue an Icefly. Watch this road report from one volunteer:
Weeks earlier, mysterious instances of the phrase “TEST SUBJECTS NEEDED” began appearing at the end of 5 Gum TV commercials. Additionally, a number of E3 2011 attendees were handed envelopes containing branded paraphernalia, and print ads for 5 Gum began appearing including in the lower corner a small white wasp-like insect (which is now believed to be an icefly) along with a coded phrase. Whether in the form of morse or a QR code, this message led people to TestSubjectsNeeded.com.
This website hinted at a sensory experiment, one asking for volunteers – test subjects. Users were prompted to complete a word association test, and then asked to sign up and provide contact information and a mailing address. Candidates were then permitted to create a unique, custom badge for their profile.
Following on June 13 at the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee, a surreal event occurred. Between concerts, crowds of energetic people were treated to a gentle rainfall of glowing blue blinking lights. It was a scene quite reminiscent of some depicted in various 5 Gum commercials – individuals staring up into large swarming clouds of dots, objects. As the blue lights slowly hovered to the ground, the Bonnaroo crowds picked them up and examined them. On their wings were QR codes that led to MissionIcefly.com.
In the days and weeks to follow, subjects world-wide who had signed up at TestSubjectsNeeded.com began receiving packages in the mail from TestSubjectsNeeded.com (package sent to Wikibruce shown at right). Black or silver packaging contained another “icefly” – the origami helicopters with blinking LEDs that fell at Bonnaroo.
By now, MissionIcefly.com had been thoroughly examined. It displayed a timer that was counting down to June 30, at 12:00pm pacific. Once the countdown hit zero, Mission: Icefly began. When these first 15 successful test subjects completed their missions, a URL appeared in a corrupted video leading people to a new location, and a call to action narrated by Terry O’Quinn.
This monologue explains the importance of our senses, and specifically HSP – Heightened Sensory Perception. The backdrop for the narration is footage of individuals who lead the charge for the discovery and laboratory examination of an icefly that was buried in arctic ice – possibly for untold ages.
Having watched the entire video, users were directed to a chilly arctic landscape, in which stood a single lone door. This door, locked as of this writing, is the frame for a second timer; a new countdown leading to 12:00pm pacific, July 15.
Those 15 volunteers who rescued the iceflies took them home. These mechanical artifacts, when plugged in, began blinking in morse code, SURVIVALCODE.COM — the website that reveals more about … well, what this is all about… sort of.
While this campaign was discovered to be a partnership between veteran ARG creators 42 Entertainment and edgy gum franchise 5 Gum from Wrigley – the full extent of the campaign is as yet unknown. Skepticism about the campaign, as well as wild theories and speculation about its promotional content have run rampant, including hopes for connections to X-Men, Halo 4, even Bungie’s next video game; but they are just that: rampant speculation. Regardless, the project has been met with great excitement from the growing fan community, who’ve also created Facebook fan groups to connect and coordinate.
So, what will happen this Friday the 15th?
With the creation of user profiles on SurvivalCode.com came the revelation of a ‘game’, of sorts. A “Game Code Activation” feature allows users to input special unique codes that are found in specially marked packages of 5Gum. These codes, when redeemed, can be applied towards the collection of “keys”: Constellation keys, or Facility keys. Even their purpose, once again, is still unknown. But with the existence of what appears to be the beginning of a comic-book style story revealed in the form of ‘logs’, these keys may be used to unlock additional exclusive content, answers to mysteries, or perhaps rare prizes.
And what of the mysterious Traelek Institute? Mentioned by name in the initial prelude log comics, it’s believed to be the location of the classroom scene shown in The Genesis video, with Terry O’Quinn’s character appearing as a lecturer. Is it an evil organization? Or a high tech corporation that promises to save the world?
At the very least, if this is simply a promotional campaign for an upcoming 5 Gum flavor, it’s certainly pushing the edge of gum marketing, and has convinced thousands to run out to their nearest gum-selling stores on the hunt for icefly-labeled 5Gum packs. The campaign has been filled with high production quality, the hint of a grander story, a greater mystery and threat to humanity, promises of future events, challenges and puzzles, and of course a recurring appearance by adored LOST star, Terry O’Quinn. It’s the making of another 42 Entertainment-style mass-market Alternate Reality Game, in the footsteps of The Dark Knight’s Why So Serious?, and Tron: Legacy’s Flynn Lives campaigns.
Test Subjects Needed.
Friday July 15th, 12:00pm PDT... Will you be the hero human-kind needs to survive?
It can’t be measured, proven, or even defined — but it warns us when we’re in danger.
And it’s warning us now.
Human kind is at a crossroads.
If we want to survive, we must heed the call and explore the depths of our shared consciousness.
This is a time for heroes… for seers, for sages.
This is your time. The world needs you.
You must act now, before it’s too late.
- You can keep up to date with the ARG happenings at Wikibruce by bookmarking and visiting the community wiki:
- You can also join some of the community in IRC chat on the handy wiki page, or directly at:
icr.chat-solutions.org:6667, channel #testsubjectsneeded
(come by the chat especially on Friday at noon pacific time, 3pm eastern, to follow along live with the countdown’s events!)
- Twitter: @mission_icefly
- Community wiki: Icefly.Wikibruce.com
- IRC Chat (web): Icefly.Wikibruce.com/Chat
- Discussion forum: Unfiction forums
- Facebook fan group: Human Preservation Project
- Facebook fan group: Mission Icefly
Other media coverage:
- FirstShowing.net: Mission Icefly Viral Follow-Up – Local Pick Ups Lead to ‘Survival Code’
- Collider.com: Terry O’Quinn is Part of MISSION ICEFLY
- GregMakesGames.com: The Ice Fly Wants You: My Entire First Experience with Alternate Reality Games -or- How I Ended Up with a Strange (and broken) Glowing Bug Sculpture
- MovieViral.com: Test Subjects Needed article coverage