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NAMM 2012: “Project Ultra” Kicks Off Viral Marketing Absurdity

Every year leading up to Winter NAMM, DJ equipment companies large and small get into a publicity war to make sure that their new controller/software/mixer is the most hyped and anticipated product of the show. This year, the hype machine is starting super early. We got an exclusive look at one of the most vague viral marketing campaigns ever. 

The Campaign

Originally spotted over at Reddit’s /r/djs this morning, Project Ultra is a marketing campaign styled after secret UFO videos and documents. It is based around a blog posting videos and photos relating to “incident CMD”, which is PR-speak for “our product is so mysterious and edgy!”. The videos, hosted on Vimeo, are uploaded by someone with the username “Travis Walton”, also the name of a famous alleged victim of an alien abduction. Enjoy this hilarious photoshop below, entitled “cmd sighting over brooklyn, ny”, or check out the blog for yourself, linked at the bottom of this article.

The Controllers

It’s pretty clear from the videos and stills that we’re looking at three controllers lined up next to eachother side by side. We took some screencaps of the videos and did our best to speculate on what’s going on.

The two controllers on the outside seem to be very similar variations on standard controllers – perhaps one of them is a two channel and the other a four channel controller? If you look at our still above of on of the two outside controllers, it’s clear that there are four channel faders and a telltale sticker in the circular patch of  darkness – jogwheels. Not that interesting, unless there’s another level to the controller that we don’t know about yet.

This controller in the middle is what were most interested in. We see a plethora of pads (in a four by four grid!) that are reminiscent of an APC or Launchpad, as well as no clear signs of standard EQs or jogwheels. Perhaps we’re finally seeing another wave of Ableton controllers after a long dry spell?

Who Could It Be?

While the “CMD” label seems to lend itself to a Denon-style naming convention, the gear itself seems to lend itself to a design sense we’ve seen in M-Audio and Numark over the past few years. Particularly the size and shape of the buttons reminds us of the Torq Xponent or the Mixtrack pro.

We’re Sick of This!

Ean and myself would like to officially state how tired we are of these kinds of viral campaigns that keep a product hidden and tease at an actual product release. We want to see the controller, imagine how we might use it, and imagine what we could do with it and work it into our DJ arsenal. Every year, these campaigns seem to get more and more lame. What’s next, an Alternate Reality Game for a controller launch?

Project Ultra blog
Project Ultra Vimeo

Are you as tired of this marketing scheme as we are? Who do you think is behind these controllers? Do you want to believe? 



  • Escapemcp

    I reckon it maybe something from Behringer??…  maybe a modular series of controllers??? perhaps 🙂  
    I like the “It’s pretty clear we’re looking at 3 controllers” line in the article… shows that no-one was thinking modular (which shows how stale the controller market was getting).Hooray for Behringer for shaking it up a little (read: ‘a lot’).  Before this, you only had Faderfox on the modular front, but they were so overpriced (and old!), people usually just bought an all in one, as it was cheaper.

    I’m going to sell a kidney to get these – oh, wait, I don’t have to!  OK Behringer, you’ve created the hype, done the big reveal which has created more hype – now, how long is it going to take you to bring these to market?  Gemini showed off their CDJ700 (Pioneer knock-off) at last years NAMM, and we’re STILL waiting for a release, please don’t do this!!!

  • ProcyonLotor

    The knobs and drumpads, from the controller of the center.. looks like the one we find on Akai MPCs… If those controllers are Akai it could be interesting

  • Tom

    Personally, I can’t get enough viral marketing. Really, I love it. I  n e e d  to know what this mysterious product is. With a campaingn like this, it _must_ be great! I’ve heard it also washes whiter than white! OMG! *gasp* OMG! Excuse me, while I put my head into boiling water…

  • DonmecZ

    <— Sick and tired of cyclical consumption in order to ensure we retain this fradulent monetary system.This extends to all kinds of gizmos from tv's to iphones, to ipads and laptops. How about we make the best controller possible and standardize software with the best qualities taken from all of the programs… oh wait that's right, fradulent monetary system fueled by cyclical consumption, that's right. mmmh happy holidays???


  • Bobsmitty
  • Audiomontana

    the alternate relaity for controller launch. Or reality interent fanboy construct.  or whatever.. i hope it does something differant and interesting for a change.

  • Tom_flynn

    I would like to add that – These companies are taking the DJ buying public for a ride. There’s a new product out every month, they all pretty much do the same thing.
    These companies realise all they have to do is release a product and attach a big DJ’s name like Ritchie Hawtin/Carl Cox etc & people will buy it. 

    I refuse to keep upgrading or buying new stuff unless it REALLY enhances or benefits how i DJ. 
    These companies are nickel & dime’ing us.

    (It’s also the same for Synth plugin companies – They do exactly the same thing)

  • Djzilch

    is this that new numark traktor controller the Numark 4Trak? Google it and you will find some interesting documents 

  • Maybe its just one big long controller lol

  • i agree that this is no way to sell something to people who are desperate to know every detail of a product before they purchase (considering that none of this stuff is cheap).  this isn’t going to work like the Blair Witch Project- I can’t see folks buying into this “it’s a secret because its sooooooo cool” BS.  Agreed with the authors on that point for surely.

  • None

    these campaigns are better than Ean’s holiday sale video … “Hi mom and dad” lol

  • Bitches

    Quit moaning, it’s fun! You can’t be that fed up of it if you wrote an article on it. In fact, I think your just upset that you aren’t cool enough to know who did it…

  • ActuallyFresh

    If you guys were truly “in the Know” as you try and present yourself to your clueless readers, You wouldn’t have to speculate what that is. The fact that this site don’t know what that is just proves that the people who made it don’t like you.

    • Tom

      OMG! I don’t know, too. What will my friends think of me now? This is all YOUR FAULT!! Where’s my gun…

  • Civ

    I’m sick of these lame posts. -1 for sure

  • Anonymous

    hehehe….it is only “viral” when other blogs, forums, and people in social networks spread the word about it and NI is surely helping its “virality” here too.

    But yeah, this is probably building up excitement over nothing, which is terrible marketing and I dislike this kind of marketing too.

  • seriously dont bash these guys blogs if you think you can do better everyone is waiting thanks gay v go be gay somewhere else.

    im going to put my money on numark it looks very similar to their button style

  • Cmmonroe

    your doing exactly what they want you to do…. write an article about it and speculate about what it is for attention

  • Gay Zombie

    Skratchworx had this days ago. If you are gonna call exclusive, have it actually be an exclusive.

    • D Holling

      ummm, where does it say exclusive? i see no such claim

      • Gay Zombie

        “We’ve got an exclusive look at one of the most vague viral marketing campaigns ever.”

        Top of the page.

        • Fatlorrette

          I don’t see the zoomed pics on Skratchworx so it is an exclusive LOOK in that sense…

          • Gay Zombie

            I took a dump this morning. It was unique to my toilet. Does that mean I just took an exclusive crap?

          • Rename

            ha haha!! brilliant..

    • Alexfells

      Stop winging. Its interesting to read and I don’t follow scratchworx.

  • SmiTTTen

    “The One” campaign was utter tripe. All the bs for an invitation to…..their Facebook page ? Did NI pull this with the S4? They seemed to produce more interest than all this put together. C- marketing ppl

  • SmiTTTen

    “The One” campaign was utter tripe. All the bs for an invitation to…..their Facebook page ? Did NI pull this with the S4? They seemed to produce more interest than all this put together. C- marketing ppl

  • Djskittish

    There objective worked. It’s on the number one site for Tech related products!

  • John Varela

    The button style actually reminds me of the xone:DX… Allen & Heath controller anyone?

  • Tomii!

    LMAO!!! Yeah…. and christmas is a son of a bitch too hahahahahah

  • Heretic

    I need a lot of informations, pics and time for a new controller, but not this marketing!


  • thanatos

    nu dj tech tool controler look ugly lol

  • bizcad

    Get used to it.  Viral marketing is the future.  The best ad has always been word of mouth.

    • archies’bald

      That was kind of the point I was making.

    • Viral marketing isn’t the future, making good content that can spread virally is…. and this aint it.
      NOTHING piques interest in this video. At least TRY to put something in there that is interesting….

  • Don’t worry.. it’ll run Trakor and you will love it later =)

  • archies’bald

    I am sick of the internet, but I’m still here