2012 Fear = Money: Sony Pictures Cashes In

ihc

Another day, another inbox with three emails asking me about what this 2012 “thing” is all about.

Another two from concerned (but now relieved) readers and one (from late last night) calling me a fudging idiot (edit the italicized word). I had no idea that my 2012 articles on the Universe Today (and the growing number on Astroengine) would evoke such a spirited and sustained barrage of hate/love/relief mail. I’m a scientist, first and foremost, I’m not used to this kind of attention.

Seriously though, this 2012 insanity needs to calm down. Admittedly, telling “believers” there is nothing to fear about the Mayan calendar coming to the end (or the hopelessly flawed Bible Code is nonsense) is a bit like waving a red cloth in front of a pissed off bull, and any hope that we wont be barraged by doomsday hysteria in 2012 is a lost cause (in my opinion). But mainstream media really needs to lay off the scaremongering tactics.

I can deal with the crackpots, greedy authors, pseudo-science liars, misinformed and weak-minded “YouTube Scientists” spreading prophecies of doomsday, linking ancient prophecy (that has a non-existent prediction:proof ratio by the way) with modern science. But when Sony Pictures jump on the 2012 juggernaut, I think we can forget about having any sanity in the run-up to December 21st 2012.

Enter the Institute for Human Continuity, a Sony Pictures viral campaign…

I have known about this for some time, but today I received the following email:

Greetings,

As the Communications Director of the Institute for Human Continuity, I’d like to thank you for taking an active role in preparing yourself for 2012. Please note your ticket is only valid for one person. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you encourage your friends and family to register for lottery numbers at TheIHC.com.

The IHC has uncovered evidence indicating that the disasters of 2012 are both real and unavoidable. We believe with 94% certainty that exactly four years from today, cataclysmic events will devastate our planet and many who inhabit it. December 21, 2012 cannot be ignored.

Though the future is uncertain, there are several things we can and must do to prepare. You have already begun by entering the IHC lottery and visiting our website. In the coming weeks, I will be hosting an online discussion during which I will answer your questions and provide additional knowledge on how you can continue to prepare. You may submit your written questions to me via twitter and email. We will also be accepting video questions and will have more details for you in the coming weeks.

I look forward to receiving your questions and working together to ensure that the end is just the beginning.

Sincerely,

Dr. Sorën Ulfert, PhD
Communications Director
The Institute for Human Continuity

A little confused at first, I wondered what the hell this “organization” was going on about (I nearly hit delete as a strange amount of 2012 spam has been leaking into my email of late). But then I remembered, I had signed up to get my ticket for a lottery that might save me from the inevitable doomsday that awaits us in 2012. Don’t worry, I haven’t passed over to the Dark Side, I deliberately signed up the the Sony Pictures marketing ploy in the run-up to the disaster movie: 2012. This kind of viral marketing has been done before by motion picture studios, but this one seems a little… um… too much.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with disaster movies, I love a bit of gratuitous planet-bashing by an unstoppable interplanetary wrecking ball, but this is science-fiction. The clue is in the word “fiction”. I will be there at the theatre, looking forward to seeing the “2012” movie by Roland Emmerich.

I enjoyed Emmerich’s “The Day After Tomorrow” (although I think he missed opportunities, and mashed up a a tonne of science — never mind, it is Hollywood after all), but it looks like Dennis Quaid (the “Dad With A Plan”) will be replaced by John Cusack in this new doomsday outing (John Cusack? Disaster movie? Really? Please no). Actually, I’m a little disappointed with the cast line-up, most need a decent film to get their careers back on track. I think the movie industry learnt their lesson after the War of the Worlds/Tom Cruise nightmare in 2005…

But I’m not writing about the movie, I have no problems with the movie. After all, it’s a movie. It might be good, it might be bad. I am, however, disappointed that a major US production company has spent a fortune on a very high quality Flash website, spoofing the pseudo-science that the 2012 advocates are trying to make the world believe from their YouTube accounts. I’m not going to link to it here, I am sure you’ll stumble across it in the coming months (you have time, the release date of “2012” is the end of this year), but when you do see it, you’ll know what I mean.

It is a doomsayer’s wet dream. It will be used in the “list of evidence” of some kind of global government conspiracy by the 2012 believers. The true intention behind the Institute for Human Continuity is not obvious and it is intended to frighten people. Yes, eventually (if you are patient), you eventually get forwarded to the official 2012 movie site, but the intent is clear. Advertising through a viral marketing campaign, intended to scare and profit from people’s fear.

Just because it is a mainstream hoax, does not make it “OK”. It is just as irresponsible as greedy authors trying to cash in by publishing a book or DVD with inaccurate science, historic fallacies with a heavy dose of conspiracy theory thrown in.

Huh? Danny Glover is the US President in 2012…? Phew, the world just got a bit safer, looks like Palin doesn’t get elected (sorry).

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69 responses to “2012 Fear = Money: Sony Pictures Cashes In

  1. The end of the movie trailer is especially bad…

    – Find out the truth: google “2012”

    (fortunately Wikipedia comes out on top ;)

  2. well…so far i haven’t read very much on your artical but more of how u feel about everything and what kind of person you are. Wich generally anyone should find out before they actally read the persons opinions and facts on whatever they have. So far i like the way u talk and see things. Id like to talk to you some time if ur not to busy

    -Ariel
    (The girl that always looks for facts)

  3. **headdesk**

    Yes, this can only make the situation worse. Argh!

    “I’m a scientist, first and foremost, I’m not used to this kind of attention.”

    LOL! It’s true, isn’t it? When my mom’s co-workers thought I was the one to ask about all this, I was flattered. Especially since they are all my former elementary school teachers.

    But for the most part, I point to your UT articles since they rock!

  4. I remember Phil Plait blogging about a girl in India (IIRC) who was so frighted by all of the doomsday talk around the LHC turn-up she committed suicide. I wonder how long it will be before this starts happening WRT 2012 doomsday hype?

    This is going way beyond viral marketing. I’m fielding questions both online and IRL from people who are *scared*.

  5. If I could I would sue that company for damaging peoples brains. Especially when a person like me who has an anxiety disorder find out about it. Just think how many people will stop living their life and start worrying about complete BS.

    • THANK YOU. Sony Pictures have gone too far. The first time I saw their commercial for “a lottery ensuring that everyone has a chance at life” or some BS I almost had a panic attack. This is ridiculous. They should not be allowed to strike fear into people's hearts to promote a movie. There has got to be some type of law about that.

      • i agree this is ohh! soooo wrong. i just visited the stupid site. and it all seems so legit. and i thought there has to be somthing wrong with this new way of advertising a movie, i have to agree after watching an episode of the history channel and how they explain the ancient calendars. and the alignment of the galaxy. the peak was when nostradamus also invisioned this far way back then, i have my doubts about the future and something is gonna happen not the end of our kind our world i hope..

    • When i first saw the comercial i freaked out and went to the website to enter the lottery, and when my computer wouldnt open the page my anxiety hit me like fricken puch to the face. i swear i almost had a heart attack. Sony has gone WAY too far.

  6. Many predictions have been made similar to this for ages.
    However, most of this crap never takes place. I believe it’s just another way to put fear in the hearts of people so they can continue to purchase anti depressant drugs and be under a goverment manipulation. It’s all B.S. and only God knows when to close the curtains on this planet. No man with all of his knowledge and tools will ever overthrow that. DON’T BUY INTO THIS GARBAGE!

  7. I wouldn’t be so quick to write this off, my friend. The Mayans have NEVER been wrong in there predictions. Every solar eclipse, lunar eclipse, comet, you name it. That’s what we base our calendar off of. Not sure about all the death and destruction though. The Mayans simply said a “New Age” would begin.

      • Do you honestly think if the world was going to end there is really anything any human can do about it? post appocaliptic earth would not be a place i would want to live in. I take comfort in the fact that if and when i die it will be with the people i love and not on some arch made up of a bunch of histerical people

    • The Mayans may be right, but that being said… all the calander tells is that it will be the end of the world “as we know it” have you ever lived through an ice age? I didnt think so, considering that if the worlds atmosphere was changed dramatically based on changes in our magnetic field then we would all experience changes to our planet that no living person had ever seen. Therefore in conclusion i say “boo” on this living in fear bull and “yay” to that fact that perhaps things will change around here soon, the earth will go through its natural cycle as it has for millions of years, if the human race has stuck around since cave men, then im pretty sure we dont have much to worry about!

  8. This feels might similar to the Y2K scare… PLANES ARE GONNA CRASH, and the computers are gonna reset so… and so on. Just replacing it with, the world is going to end.

  9. You are right it is a propaganda play, but millions are gonna believe it.

    Christian perspective debunking ‘2012’ Institute for Human Continuity: Parts 1 and 2:

    Part 1

    Part 2

  10. *sigh*. Chill out everybody. Its just entertainment. It’s Sony alright. Between them and the cross links to geddongear.com, and then all these posts like this one, it just proves we eat this stuff up. Sony wouldnt do it if these sites didnt talk about em’.

    In any case, the trailer looks fun to me. Gotta love those big waves!

  11. well guys, instead of thinking about this movie, why not look at the brighter side, i think the real message here is the earth is dying from human pollution so we should be doing our share in the community to save nature. forget about the crap movie. besides, when the world ends, “HE” up there knows if we will be saved or not.

    –but trish is right, the big waves are cool hehe!

  12. haha, I find it funny that so many people can look at any bunch of data and draw soo many different meanings from it.

    It’s like, so long as you believe something (read 2012) will happen, it starts appearing everywhere you look.

    It’s called your reticular activation system . It’s supposed to give you focus, unfortunately with the amount of fear in the world it serves an evil dual purpose :(

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  14. Pingback: John Cusack? Airlifted Giraffes? Please Tell Me It’s Doomsday | Astroengine.com

  15. I don't think they are doing this for money… it's better to be careful than sorry when it comes to this topic. It won't cost you anything, it's just a matter of getting ready for it if anything were to go wrong on 21 Dec 2012. Let's hope not…

    • This has everything to do with money, it's a very high-profile viral marketing campaign. The IHC was invented by Sony Pictures to whip up a frenzy around the upcoming 2012 movie. There is no interest in getting ready for Dec. 21st 2012, this is all about getting as many people as possible into movie theatres (ticket sales = money).Also, there's just as much chance of something bad happening in the next 5 minutes as there is of something bad happening in three years, so don't worry about 2012, the Mayan calendar never predicted the end of the world.Thanks for stopping by :)Ian

  16. the sony people are such assholes. why the hell would you try to make everyone so scared that they check out your movies? such bullshit, fuck corporate america.

  17. First of all your” theihc.com” website is out of order, and disfunctional, so you better fix it soon. Moreover, I regretfully must inform you that your movie is NOT based on the true aspect of the 2012 Extinction Level Events (ELE); and that, 12/21/2012 will come and go and people will feel betrayed, and misled. 12/21/2012 is truly The-End of “something;” but you've got it all wrong, it is the end of the 2000 years that you have been given to complete the evolution of human consciousness, and develop a human-civilization (of love, peace, and paradise) upon earth, and then become capable of controlling existence and the forces of nature, so that you can defend your own world paradise against the 2012 ELE events. These destructive events, in your movie, will happen; however, there will be a SLOW escalation of these devastations, and this SLOW escalation is designed to encourage you-people to abandon your current status-quo, of unrewarded human sacrifice and parasitical authorities. Your 2012 Movie is still treating people like brain-dead drones who must always be a victim of the forces of nature, (just like any other animal), and people will feel insulted after they waste their time, money, and hope on your fabrication of truth. In addition, you have also failed to reveal to the-people that the Post 2012 World LEADER is already CHOSEN; that survival [ AFTER ] 12/21/2012 is completely dependent upon the evolution of the human-conscious-mind, and that people must abandon all dishonesty, all manipulation and deception and fraud, and all criminalities; and, that the world as we know it must end so that a human civilization of total peace, true-love, and faith and belief can complete its development; because, right now, it cannot. Just like the dinosaurs became extinct so that humankind can evolve, so it is that an immoral, unethical, dishonest mentality must become extinct, so that a moral, ethical, and honest human-mind can evolve.

  18. thoes motherf**ers they just feeding us propaganda well hey it cant hurt to get a ticket or what ever it is but still still sounds like a bit much

  19. I am very hard to fool, and these bastards got me long enough on this one for me to start to have a panic attack. I can only imagine how many other people were taken in and hurt by this. This is extremely irresponsible BS on sony's part. Anyone who was affected should sue them in a mass class action law suit. For anyone who thinks this type of marketing is okay, no matter how clever it may seem, is an idiot and a sick fool. If John Cusack is starring in this, as I have heard, he's an even bigger jackoff than I thought.

    • In a world where Panic and depression are getting increasingly out of control, I feel movies like this only feed the evil. A great deal of people don't need to see this right now… or ever. Most great movies came out when there was a need to escape. Right now where the world is in a slightly chaotic state… we don't need nationwide panic over a crappy disaster flick….I will boycott.

  20. Oh, and sony, I will be boycotting this movie because of this. Everyone, boycott this movie and make sure it is a box office disaster!!! Sony, John Cusack, and everyone involved in this; you're F-ing scumbags!!!

  21. Seems pretty solid. I agree with you Mr. Scientist. When I saw this commercial it scared the crap out of me, at first. but that's my question, they put out a commercial for the website / lottery. Why not just have a commercial for the movie? This indeed seems like a little much. Unfortunatly you are the only person I have found challenging it myself, and I hope for both our sakes your right. Sony being involved is VERY fishy however, at the same time everyone's word should be taken with a grain of salt. I love how this evidence is not discolsed but you have to admit that the length they went to in an attempt to prove their point is freightening in it's self, is it not?

  22. There is still concern for CERN or the LHC. It broke down when they first fired it up, and now they are almost ready to fire it back up after extensive repair. The SWINE flue could very well be the Four Horsemen of the apocolypse, as the new strain is a combination of FOUR different strains.. Flu's are usually air borne, and what's that old saying? “When pigs fly?” Things are already unfolding, and I believe with a 94% certainty that from now until the 2012 date, you will see things escalate, getting worse really quick. The IHC may be BS, but a world event is coming. I've prepared by learning to survive off the land, so when things do begin to happen I can run away to the wilderness and live comfortably while the town and cities of the world are engulfed in chaos. If the event is something I can not out run, then so be it. Until then I live life to it's fullest, experiencing as much as I can, THE WAY I WANT, because I can, and because I know life itself is a movie, and it's only what you make of it.

  23. I agree with you, this is all way too much. they are just scaring more and more people. Sending out false facts isn't a right way to promote a movie or anything.

  24. I regretfully must inform you that your movie is NOT based on the TRUE-aspect of the 2012 Extinction Level Events (ELE); and that, 12/21/2012 will come and go and people will feel betrayed and misled. December 21, 2012 is truly The-End of “SOMETHING;” but you've got it all wrong, it is the end of the 2000 years that you have been given to complete the evolution of human consciousness, and develop a human-civilization (of love, peace, and paradise) upon earth; and then, become capable of controlling existence and the forces of nature, so that you can defend your own peaceful world-paradise against the 2012 ELE events. These destructive events, in your movie, WILL happen; however, there will be a SLOW escalation of these devastations, and this SLOW escalation is designed to encourage you-people to abandon your current status-quo, of parasitical-authorities, and unrewarded human sacrifice. Your 2012 Movie is still treating people like BRAIN-DEAD drones who must always be a victim of the forces of nature, (just like any other animal), and people will feel insulted after they waste their time, money, and hope on your fabrication of truth. In addition to all this, you have also failed to reveal to the-people that the Post 2012 World LEADER is already CHOSEN; that survival [ AFTER ] 12/21/2012 is completely dependent upon the evolution of the human-conscious-mind, and that people must abandon all dishonesty, all manipulation, deception, fraud, and all criminalities; and, that the world as we know it must end so that a human civilization of total peace, true-love, and faith and belief can evolve and complete its development; because, right now, it cannot. Just like the dinosaurs became extinct so that humankind can evolve, so it is that an immoral, unethical, dishonest mentality must become extinct, so that a moral, ethical, and honest human-mind can evolve. What is insulting is that there is no IHC institution!

  25. This totally freaked me out because just this evening I was watching the history channel and it was an interesting FACT BASED documentary on Nostradomus (sp?) and this mayan/jewish calendar ending in 2012. and then a few hourse later Im sitting on the couch and see an ad for this Institution for Human Continuity and I just about shit my pants. It was too coincidental and I got a sick feeling in my stomach. I dont even have an anxiety disorder.. or atleast not a diagnosed one LOL Anyhow, I agree with many of the previous posters. Sony has gone too far. There should be a law thru the FCC or whoever is the governing authority on these types of matters barring this type of promoting. It sickens me to think that these people, whom are praying on the anxious, the naive, and the people looking for direction, get to sit back and cash in on fear-mongering websites and movies and the like. Sick Basterds

    • If there was an IHC, and if they were acctually making some effort, things would be different. However, this fictional IHC is a total illusion, and this IHC promotion is a complete delusion, and Sony is treating everyone as if we are fools for anything they promote. This may work in Japan, but we are on to them, and we are not falling for this scam.

  26. hey man im 14 and i cryed dude dpr a long time and im kinda a bully at skool lol but fuk im so scared but i have read a few things and it helps thanks

  27. Thank you so much for your article! My children and their friends were absolutely terrified by the adds for the IHC. I tried to explain how it wasn't logical that there would be a lottery to determine who would live and die in a disaster. They kept asking how I knew I was right and the TV was wrong. Finally I went to the IHC website that is advertised on the TV to prove to them it was a hoax. Needless to say the website did not help. So I thought I would google the Institute for Human Continuity to see if there were any differing opinions on the subject thankfully we found your article. Bless you for the truth.

  28. You know… when I first saw the trailer for 2012, I thought it was for a remake of the movie “When Worlds Collide”, and was very disappointed to find out it wasn't. There are certainly enough disasters to make one think “Bronson Alpha” was passing close to Earth (the effects from the trailer are awesome!). But feeding people on stuff like “The Institute for Human Continuity” with out a disclaimer notice in my opinion, is going a little over the top.It's just like the e-mails I get every year (and delete it every year), about the orbit of Mars will be close enough to Earth that it will appear as large as the Moon in the night sky. Columbia Pictures might think this is innocent fun, but some people will use this information (along with other 2012 Doomsday stuff), to give serious rise to panic.In this day and age of Lawsuits… Columbia, do yourself a favor. Protect yourself by having a disclaimer that this to promote the movie 2012 and for entertainment purposes only.

    • Facebook, I agree completely that there should be a disclaimer, but not to protect the @$$holes who made this. That is to protect the people who see this. That being siad, the damage has already been done to many. Anyone with anxiety disorder or any other documented medical problem whom was effected by this should sue these bastards for millions. Please everyone, write your congress people to pass a law to outlaw this kind of marketing unless there is a clear spoken disclaimer at the end and the beginning of video ads and a huge written disclaimer in web or print.Also, PLEASE BOYCOTT THIS MOVIE AND SPEAK OF IT TO NO ONE unless you are trying to comfort them by letting them know it is all a lie. PLEASE DO NOT BUY A TICKET AND GIVE THEM ANY MONEY. A previous poster said it couldn't hurt to buy a ticket, but yes, that is the worst thing you could do. Make this type of thing fail. We have the power. The only way this will work for them is if we go see or rent or even download any parts of this movie. Boycott it at all costs and BY NO MEANS GIVE ANY ONE ANY MONEY TO SEE ANY OF IT! We can make this movie fail simply by not going and not talking to anyone about it who we don't know for sure already knows about it. Let's make these bastards pay.

  29. I teach high school, and many of my students were frightened by the commercial, as were many of their younger siblings. I had to take an entire class period to wade through the various media (commercial, websites, Woody Harrelson as an ‘expert’, e-mails, ‘actual’ pictures of IHC headquarters) to show them it’s all a hoax to sell the movie. The copyright link to Sony pictures at the bottom of the IHC site is a dead giveaway. As frightening as it is, the website does give the ploy away through the Sony copyright at the bottom; unfortunately, not many people will look at this and realize it’s a marketing scam. By the way – every one of my students has decided to go see the movie. Guess the marketing is working – unfortunately.

    • Survival [ AFTER ] 12/21/2012 is completely dependent upon the evolution of the human-conscious-mind. People must abandon all dishonesty, all manipulation, deception, fraud, and the criminal status-quo that maintain our modern anti-civilization. If we can abandon this present-day profit based monetary system, and develop a human civilization of total peace, true-love, and benevolence, we will receive help to survive the extinction level events of 2012. Just like the dinosaurs became extinct so that humankind can evolve, so it is that an immoral, unethical, dishonest mentality must become extinct, so that a moral, ethical, and honest human-mind can evolve.

  30. i agree this is ohh! soooo wrong. i just visited the stupid site. and it all seems so legit. and i thought there has to be somthing wrong with this new way of advertising a movie, i have to agree after watching an episode of the history channel and how they explain the ancient calendars. and the alignment of the galaxy. the peak was when nostradamus also invisioned this far way back then, i have my doubts about the future and something is gonna happen not the end of our kind our world i hope..

  31. The doomsday is going to be in the carbon dioxide levels becoming to high, of which in turn is going to kill everyone. If you look at the charts of air monitoring results available, we are on an endless senerio of certain death by carbon dioxide poisioning. As CO2 increases, sicknesses will increase, this is what we all need to worry about. As people die off, that will inturn cause less production of less CO2, it is the way the earths system will, try to balance itself. The body and plants and animals can handle only so much CO2, until the bodys immune systems starts to break down. Not sure how long, but if we continue on this pace it is going to get ugly sooner than later. Did you see how the EPA deemed CO2 a health hazard just recently…..this is why man. The problem is if we cut CO2 production, we cut the economic growth, and the forces that tie themselves to economic growth are sharpening the blades for them to cut their own throats. Is there an answer, I do believe there is, but it is going to take sacrafice, of which, we have become immune to, as a civilization. Its going to get ugly…hate to say it, cause we got a good thing going on this planet, and we are about to throw it out, like we do for everything else.

  32. Well, for believers there is really nothing to worry about. Believers know that only Him can tell when the Earth has to end. Nobody can predict what will happen in the future. We wouldn't know when the Earth will end, if not on 2010 it could be later or earlier. -Contributor: Pregnancy Miracle Thoughts

  33. Hey dude, seriously, thank you for this, I just watched the flipping movie and it got me thinking, jumped to conclusions and cheese.

  34. Great stuff from you, man. Ive read your stuff before and youre just too awesome. I love what youve got here, love what youre saying and the way you say it. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. I cant wait to read more from you. This is really a great blog.

  35. Pingback: It’s Official: “2012″ Sucked | Astroengine.com

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  37. Pingback: Surprise! The world did not end on December 21, 2012; Mayans were not the stupid ones

  38. @Bored…, Lol, you’re right! But funnily enough, it’s a superb promotion for my Universe Today articles. Type in “2012” and at about #6 is my “No Doomsday in 2012″! I hope the movie is a hit, I might push over the 1 million hit-mark sooner rather than later!

    Cheers, Ian

  39. @kdog, Well, you’re replacing one conspiracy theory with another one. Alas, I suspect anti-depression drugs are more a society-based problem. A real problem we need to be looked into. This is why I find conspiracy theories so frustrating – there are so many real issues out there, I have little time for made-up ones!

    Cheers, Ian :)

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