In 2016, Jamie Foster began documenting a strange new form of storytelling taking over the Internet.
It started with Tagruato.
Jamie Foster began investigating the mysterious oil rig company, Tagruato, only to discover it doesn’t exist. Neither did the Slusho cold beverage company, or ParafFun!, the paraffin wax byproducts manufacturer. These companies, and many more, were all part of an elaborate viral marketing campaign in 2008 for the movie Cloverfield. Other movie and game studios were also using this method and internet users were beginning to take notice. Soon, this marketing tactic became known as an Alternate Reality Game (ARG).
Foster soon discovered another ARG known as Junko Junsui that took place a few months after Cloverfield. He found himself falling down a rabbit hole of mysterious fake companies, stories and personas.
Fascinated, he began cataloguing the history of ARGs, from the earliest incarnations in 1993 as Ong’s Hat, all the way through the early 2000s with The Beast, used to promote the Steven Spielberg movie A.I., into the 2010s, where he discovered this method of viral marketing had slowed. This is when the internet users took this new form of storytelling into their own hands with Marble Hornets. As the ubiquity of the internet and social media grew, so did the stories.
These early user-created narratives featured ARG elements alongside a puzzle-solving aspect which inspired thousands of others to follow in their footsteps, both by solving the riddles and by creating their own stories for this new form, like the case of Daisy Brown and the “brother” her father created for her, and the strange case of Seventybroad which appeared to be so real it resulted in real-life consequences for its creator.
This form of storytelling is found throughout the internet but is little reported on outside. This book lifts the lid on this new world. Inside a Mind is based on the wildly popular and acclaimed YouTube channel of the same name. Started in 2016, it explores the viral marketing stories, the ARGs behind some of the biggest movies of the last twenty-five years, the way the form is spreading to other areas of the entertainment industry, and the strangest, most successful user-created webseries since the dawn of YouTube.
Inside a Mind is a collection of case files delving deep into the world of ARGs and webseries, featuring everything from Cloverfield, The Blair Witch Project, and Jurassic Park, to Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero, and the I Love Bees ARG created for Halo 2. Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, Inside a Mind is a unique, authoritative and essential look at this strange new form of storytelling.
ABOUT THE BOOK
- 240 page Royal Hardback.
- Full colour, high quality printing with head and tail bands
- A unique “in-universe” page design.
- Amazing pledge levels and more to be announced!
*Page and cover designs are subject to change.
I’ve been playing this over in my head for weeks. It just doesn’t make sense. Why would someone go to great lengths to convince you that an entire fictional company exists? What is their gain? Is it just for a laugh? A joke!? If you spend that much time putting this hoax together I’d say the jokes on you...
I think I’m getting ahead of myself. My name is J̶a̶m̶i̶e̶ ̶F̶o̶s̶t̶e̶r̶ J. I recently began an investigation into the mysterious deep sea drilling company known as Tagruato.
It was originally a mining company created after the second World War. It’s name translating to “Hand of Power” with its founder, Kantaro Tagruato, who emigrated to Japan from Polynesia with his family as a young boy. He set up the company with the dream of “holding Earth’s energy in my fist.” Hand of Powers engineers implemented and perfected the mining technique, and became a leader in domestic sales of coal and nonferrous metals including copper, lead, zinc, and aluminum. Throughout the 60’s and 70’s Kantaro began branching out the company by setting up machinery factories to help build and export engines for large construction vehicles for the western world. Along with been commissioned to work on Japan’s satellites and launch vehicles.
This rapidly declined during the 80’s. Several accusations and lawsuits latched onto the company, tainting its name. A few other business decisions didn’t go in their favour causing a huge loss in income. Hand of Power’s main area of expertise was still mining, but that business was declining at a fast pace after it became more financially feasible to import coal. The demand for Zinc and Lead decreased too. With no other option, Hand of Power went bankrupt.
After all hope was lost, a (Supposedly) brilliant young engineer, Ganu Yoshida, stepped in. Yoshida was needing support for his off-shore drilling revelations. Recognising the potential Hand of Power had, the young man bought out the company, became the new CEO and rebranded to Tagruato name it after it’s original owner. The CEO switched from Mining, to deep sea drilling by creating 14 drilling stations across several parts of the ocean in the space of just 10 years. You can find all of this information on their website at ‘Tagruato.jr’ You can even find a diagram mapping out all drilling stations, along with the year they were built, the name, the cost, and how many workers were on board:
So far so good, right? Other than a couple of shady dealings in the 80’s (Although I think you’d be hard pressed to find a large company that hasn’t done something shady over its lifespan), nothing out of the ordinary.
Exploring the website further we discover the company has branched out into several market places. They’ve set up four subsidiary companies, all can be discovered on the Tagruato subsidiary page:
Created by Tagruato C.E.O. Ganu Yoshida, Slusho! brand happy drink is a icy cool beverage that is rapidly becoming one of the company's most profitable expenditures. Slusho! contains a "special ingredient" that customers can't get enough of. Bearing the slogan, "You can't drink just six!", Slusho! has grown to the second most popular frozen drink in all Asian markets. Hip adult drinkers have begun concocting deliciously intoxicating alcoholic mix drinks starring Slusho! The beverage's popularity has spawned overwhelming sales of brand apparel, a hit theme song, and coming soon: an animated television show starring the Slusho! Flavor Droids! The next step is to introduce Slusho! to the rest of the world. A search is on for top marketing professionals who will be tasked with duplicating the drink's Asian popularity in the Western market. Our aspiration is to one day place Slusho! dispensers in every convenience store and mini mart. Slusho zoom!
Bold Futura is the contractor sector of our company principally engaged in the conception, design, manufacture and integration of advanced technology products. Our engineering technology is the most superior of its kind. A machine made with Bold Futura parts works where others fall to pieces. A vehicle made with Bold Futura equipment will travel where others cannot reach. Our unique ability to function in areas of severe temperature or pressure can have desirable implications for our clients. In the past, Bold Futura has partnered with military organizations, space exploration institutions, and arms manufacturers. Confidentiality is the first pillar of Bold Futura. We keep the identities, orders, and intentions of our patrons strictly to ourselves. If you are interested in partnering with us, email us at the address below. Let's build a bold future -- together!
YOSHIDA’S MEDICAL RESEARCH:
YMR is a genetic research firm specializing in deep sea bioprospecting. YMR implements Tagruato's advanced exploration technology to study extremophiles found only in the deepest parts of our oceans. The understanding of such organisms that thrive in conditions of extreme pressure, temperature, and toxicity has boundless pharmaceutical and industrial promise. We explore cold seeps and seamounts, where species diversity is known to be as high a 1,000 per square meter. Hidden among these deep sea ecosystems is the potential for medical advancements that will contribute to the future well-being of mankind. YMR doctors are currently developing marine biotechnology drugs that may one day be used as anti-cancer, antioxidant, antibiotic, and anti-malaria. Treatment applications for Alzheimer's disease, cystic fibrosis, and herpes are also under consideration. Our hope and our belief is that the work being done at YMR will prove to be the key to a cure for the diseases that have plagued mankind for centuries.
One of the many byproducts of our Petroleum reservoir is paraffin wax, an alkane with dozens of handy uses in your day to day life! Edible, malleable, colorable, and a fine electrical insulator. ParafFun! Wax Distributors meets all your wax needs.
All of these companies are apparently thriving as Tagruato’s technology is far superior than any other. That’s probably why Yoshida bought Hand of Power to begin with. They were the leading mining company for years and if it wasn’t for a few bad businesses decisions they’d probably still be thriving under the original name.
But out of these four subsidiaries, the main one we’ll be focusing on right now during this investigation is the incredibly popular “Icy Cool” energy drink with a “Special ingredient” known as Slusho! This special ingredient can make you incredibly motivated within seconds of consumption no matter your situation. Any alarm bells ringing, yet? I visited the Slusho! Website to see if I could gather more information there. Again, this just seemed like your average company trying to appeal to the general public. It hosted a competition with Slusho! Merchandise as a prize, they had their own Slusho! Commercial, a place to create your own flavour, and a page giving us a little information on how Ganu Yoshida discovered the special ingredient that makes this energy drink so appealing.
But I couldn’t shake the idea of a special ingredient that no one’s heard about. But it makes you happy? Addicted to the drink? “You can’t Drink Just Six” is their slogan. Something was clearly not right. It wasn’t until the next day I started to get somewhere...
I awoke to find the Tagruato website hacked. The title was replaced with “TAGRUATO IS DESTROYING OUR OCEANS”
The pic of Ganu Yoshidas on the front page had been vandalised. Horns were drawn over his head and the ocean outside his window was replaced with a dried up pit. Sea creatures lay around, gasping for breath.
Upon examining, the wave and sea animals all have roman numerals hidden on them from one to five, indicating that’s the order each animal needed to be placed in. The sea animals also had hidden words...
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