Bruce Willis chatted with movie fans in Second Life to promote his upcoming Die Hard 4.0 release in a move that is being seen as good example of virtual world marketing.

capture: Dave Brown

Film marketers Picture Production Company and 20th Century Fox teamed to build a location, Silver Screen, to host the event, which fans attended after winning competitions.

Around 60 avatars, including journalists and bloggers, gathered in-world to put questions to the actor, while a moderator asked Willis questions over an audio stream.

The event has been hailed as innovative, but – unusually for many Second Life gimmicks – worthwhile.

Social media marketer Neville Hobson said:

“[The event] in Second Life was a great example of how this virtual medium can work well when you have some real imagination and execute a good plan of organisation.”

InformationWeek’s Mitch Wagner said:

“The event taught several lessons in Second Life marketing. Fox and PPC have a plan – they’re using the Second Life area and press conference as a means of building buzz for the movie both in Second Life and outside of it.”

The internet has so far played a big part in the promotion of the forthcoming

Acting individually, Willis last week popped up on the forums of movie news and reviews site Ain’t It Cool News to debate the finer points of his work with fans.

Seeking to prove his identity to sceptical forum-goers, Willis even entered an iChat videoconferencing conversation with one delighted fan.