’s shaping up to be an ace day for viral marketing, both official and unofficial. J.J. Abrams weighed in with Harry at AICN about the puzzle site from late last week,, and he says not only is it not one of his sites, but that he has frickin’ sites, as in multiple ones which have yet to be discovered. So how used should we feel for jumping all over the Ethan Haas craze?

I’m not sure, actually. The Ethan Haas site is obviously not a simple fan-generated effort with its elaborate Flash interface and glossy graphics. More importantly, it contained a number of grainy videos, and the oddest thing about this whole business is that when these videos began popping up on YouTube, along with the bootleg trailers for 1-18-08, they were all taken down at the request of Paramount, as noted on the pages where they once resided. That would seem to suggest that they are linked despite what J.J. or anyone else says. Coincidence? Intentional misdirection at the corporate level? Or maybe it’s J.J. doing the misdirection with his denial?

I hesitate to overthink this because the fervor around the viral marketing for this movie is beginning to remind me of Jim Carrey’s The Number 23. People are simply seeing and hearing shit that ain’t there. It’s a Voltron movie. Or…maybe not a Voltron movie, but there is a giant lion attacking. Or maybe not, but did you know that when you add the individual numbers that appear in the film’s title, you get….gasp….duh duh DUH….eighteen?! Oh, and the movable pictures on add up to form the same girl. Or maybe they form Voltron. Or maybe they form Blazing Sword. If I could just check the source code one more time…

You get the point. But if you should choose to proceed further, the next “official” step in the Abrams Chase has arrived and is waiting for you. Prepare yourself for Slusho, which is both a fictional drink that appeared in Abrams’ Alias and one of the fake shooting titles for this film. It’s also the T-shirt of one of the characters in the trailer, which you can see for yourself by checking out the Quicktime version and watching the apparel of the gent who suggests they go to the roof. As for the site itself, it’s a garish anime-looking piece of work complete with a two-bar synth loop that will lead you to very dark thoughts if you listen to it for too long….say, 7 seconds or more. Not much in the way of content, but there is the obligatory email link, and I have yet to receive a response after having submitted to it. But go enjoy the “freshness” for yourself. Just remember to treat this and all word of the film – even from Abrams’ mouth – with your preferred amount of NaCl.