11.11.11: An Epic Marketing Event

From movie releases to reopened museums, everyone’s banking on the date’s typographic appeal.

11.11.11: An Epic Marketing Event

November 11, 2011, has been identified as a date rife with mystical meaning. Referencing string theory, the illusionist Uri Geller has even suggested that one will be able to access the 11th dimension on this fateful day. The yoga website Spirit Voyage says “The date of 11-11-11 is one of the most powerful shifts in human awareness that we will experience in our lifetime. It is a rare opportunity to release lifetimes of karmic scripting and ancestral entrapment.” Wow, sign me up!


Is it any surprise that marketers, especially those in the entertainment industry, have seized on this very special day? There are more than a dozen films being released on 11.11.11, and some very literally capitalize on this “once in a century” moment in time. The boon for Hollywood: It falls on a Friday, helping to boost ticket sales going into the holiday season.

Here are some examples:

With the promise of plenty of bloody carnage and suspense, the director of the Saw series is going all the way by using the date as the title of his new film 11.11.11. “Mark the date” has never sounded so chilling.

Well-oiled, bronzed bodies, with enough CGI to fill the Colosseum, appear in the sword-and-sandal epic Immortals, complete with the resurrected Mickey Rourke.

The video game industry doesn’t miss a beat either. The much anticipated The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim waited until 11.11.11 for its release date. One promotional trailer ends with the six-letter SKYRIM cleverly rotating to become the Roman numerals I I. I I. I I. Fancy!

Not to be outdone by Hollywood, esteemed cultural institutions such as the New York Historical Society Museum & Library are taking advantage of November 11. The promotional ads, featuring distressed type for the newly renovated museum, seems to promise an energized rebirth of the elegant but dusty institution. Doors open at 11:00 A.M., of course.


For me, this date holds the same charm as when I happen to glance at a digital clock precisely at 11:11. It’s a little typographic buzz. However, 11.11.11 is even better and has a typographic purity that is unbeatable. Those digits all standing at attention embody a visual tension poised for action.

I don’t believe this date can look bad when set in almost any font. Here are a few examples, against an “apocalyptic” skyscape, to explore the ways type can set the mood:

Futura Extra Bold has a brutal strength about it that says whatever is coming will be big.

Centaur connotes a rapturous religious experience that makes you say your prayers.

Bermuda LP reminds you that the end is near, so have another margarita.

I, for one, am eagerly looking forward to 11:11 on 11.11.11. Starting on 11.12.11, marketers will begin planning for the “ominous” 12.12.12., when their fate will be determined by Mayan prophecies, or some really clever ad copy.

About the author

Ken Carbone is a designer, artist, musician, author and teacher. He is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Director of the Carbone Smolan Agency, a design and branding company in New York City.