With the Dark Knight marketing campaign in full swing for the July release, campaign vans for fictional D.A. Harvey Dent have been visiting cities across America, sending out a message of hope for Gotham that the majority of pedestrians didn't seem to understand. I reluctantly headed to Manhattan's Lower East Side, camera in hand, to see what it was all about. Here's what happened...
I was a little worried before leaving that I wouldn't be able to find the thing: the "I Believe in Harvey Dent" website gave the location only as "Soho area (Ludlow - Essex - Allen)." Aside from this area not technically being in Soho, there's the larger issue that these are three parallel streets. What the hell, Dent, you don't believe in giving cross-streets?
As it turns out, I found the "Dentmobile"--a Ford cargo van labeled with some magnetic propaganda--right away, parked on the street next to Essex Market at Delancey. They were just getting set-up, a process that involved opening a single fold-out table and littering it with t-shirts and pins.
As soon as I started taking photos, one of women asked if I was there to campaign for Harvey Dent, and I admitted I was covering the event for a movie blog. After divulging the site's address, one of the campaigners proved herself a bit of an observational comic, rolling her eyes and noting a peculiar similarity: "IWatchStuff.com, IBelieveInHarveyDent.com..." It's true--everything is .com these days!
Once they started on the bullhorn, intermittently broadcasting their support for the D.A., a few pedestrians stopped to find out what was going on. It quickly became clear I was the only one there who had any idea what was going on. The conversations all went something like this:
"We're campaigning for Harvey Dent! Do you believe in Harvey Dent?"
"Have you heard of Gotham City?!"
"What are you talking about?"
Despite the overwhelming disinterest from the occasional passerby, I was impressed the campaigners stayed true to character, never admitting they were promoting a Batman movie. Even when I asked how they ended up getting the job, their only response was, "Signed up at the Gotham City campaign headquarters!" Cute.
After less than ten minutes of this, as I prepared to head back with an embarrassing armful of promotional material, things got interesting again. Some security guys from the building came out and insisted the Dentmobile leave the premises. The men failed to respond to claims that permission was sought and granted, or that it was legal to campaign on a public street, so the campaigners returned to their script as a final, desperate hope: "Come on--don't you believe in Harvey Dent?"
A dejected Dentmobile moves on to parts unknown (probably the next street over). This may give some insight as to why the van was reportedly absent in some cities.
And finally, some trinkets and apparel that I will never show anyone again.
So, did anyone else go out for this?