Halo 3 viral marketing beings

Alien conspiracy group emerges.

The inevitable viral marketing campaign to promote Halo 3 has begun.

This weekend groups from an organisation called The Society of the Ancients took to the streets of New York and London (among other places) to hand out flyers and preach that "we are not alone".

A logo on the T-shirts they wore and paperwork handed-out are exactly the same as used by a mysterious poster on the Halo 3 forums, as well as on a bizarre email sent out by Microsoft that was built around the same theme.

All clues point towards The Society of the Ancients website, which features various clichéd phenomenon like Stonehenge and crop circles, and looks like it was made in 1996. Have a nose around and you'll eventually find yourself on a page sporting a countdown timer.

We've asked Microsoft what it's all about and what the event is the timer counts down to, but we're still waiting for an answer (which we don't think is too likely to materialise).

It isn't the first time wacky marketing has been linked with a Halo game. The second instalment in the series was promoted by the "ilovebees" campaign. This revolved around a bizarre website seemingly about the joys of keeping those buzzy bees. However, as people started to dig further the plot thickened.

It all culminated in participants being offered early access to play the game at special events, as well as getting their hands on promotional bits and pieces like DVDs and posters.

We shall be keeping our eyes peeled.

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