Bit Rate

NBC's Faux Show Promo

3/25/2008 11:32 AM

NBC is promoting a new primetime cop-drama called Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime on its Web site.

Starring Billy Baldwin and one Sarah Marshall, the show has the trappings of a horrible CSI-meets-Moonlighting hybrid. (Tagline: "Sex Crimes Just Got a Little Sexier.")

Like every TV show these days, Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime has video clips on its site — one from an episode called (ugh) "Bones in Semen" – plus behind-the-scenes photos and a discussion board.

It’s a hoax, of course, part of a concocted Internet alternate reality to promote Universal Studios’ April 18 release of Judd Apatow-produced comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The movie documents the ugly aftermath of Sarah’s split with Peter Bretter, the character who writes the music for Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime.

As guerilla marketing tactics go, this one is pretty elaborate. Apatow & Co. put up a fake blog site by the enraged, jilted hero, ihatesarahmarshall.com, embedded with embarrassing pre- and post-breakup YouTube videos.

There’s a fake fansite for the starlet of the title, sarahmarshallfan.com. Even a fake MySpace page for the band of Sarah Marshall’s new British boyfriend, Infant Sorrow, with two songs worthy of Spinal Tap.

And NBC fronted the fictional Sarah Marshall vehicle on its official site (synergy, you see, between NBC Universal’s TV and movie groups), in what is a convincing pantomime of TV shows’ Web companion sites.

But damn. I was actually looking forward to the Crime Scene pilot.

September