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American Gamester: Gamifying the Launch of Jay-Z's "Decoded" - Demetri Detsaridis
 

American Gamester: Gamifying the Launch of Jay-Z's "Decoded" - Demetri Detsaridis

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Rapper Jay-Z’s recently-released memoir “Decoded” turns reading back into a game for adults with a new campaign sponsored by Bing and headed by New York ad agency Droga5. Not relying just on ...

Rapper Jay-Z’s recently-released memoir “Decoded” turns reading back into a game for adults with a new campaign sponsored by Bing and headed by New York ad agency Droga5. Not relying just on traditional marketing, pages from the book are printed in secret locations.

This epic scavenger hunt takes place as much online as it does in the real world. For its part, Bing launched interactive 3D maps that allows users to search the streets of New York, L.A., New Orleans, Miami, London (all cities mentioned in the book) and more, letting users look for clues. The grand notion is to have players find, “decode” and assemble the book together online. Interactive design experts Area/Code designed the gamified elements of this monumental project. In this in-depth case study of how they went about gamifying a book online and in real-life, Area/Code GM and Executive Producer Demetri Detsaridis discusses this historical marketing campaign.

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    American Gamester: Gamifying the Launch of Jay-Z's "Decoded" - Demetri Detsaridis American Gamester: Gamifying the Launch of Jay-Z's "Decoded" - Demetri Detsaridis Presentation Transcript

    • AMERICAN GAMESTERGamifying the Launch of Jay-Z's Decoded
    • BACKGROUND
      JAY-Zis Hip-Hop’s biggest star and a $450M one man brand.
      Multiplatinum recording artist and 10-time Grammy Winner
      $63M in revenues in 2010 alone (recording sales, tours, apparel, real estate, nightclubs, and sports teams)
    • BACKGROUND
      DECODEDis Jay-Z’s memoirs, published by Random House
      Expectations set at record levels, with a multimillion dollar advance and a prestige format release
      Decoded would benefit from a multimillion dollar campaign aimed at audience crossover
    • BACKGROUND
      DROGA5is the advertising agency publicizing Decoded
      Creators of breakthrough viral ads like “Stay Free”, “Bike Hero” and “The Great Schlep”
      The Guardian calls them “the world’s most exciting agency”
    • BACKGROUND
      BINGis Microsoft’s “decision engine” and the project’s sponsor
      Looking to broaden awareness, especially in the crucial 18-24 demo, and amongst African-Americans and Hip-Hop fans, both of whom consume more search pages per month than the average web surfer
    • BACKGROUND
      HOW TO DO IT?How to bring together product, audiences, and sponsor?
      BUILD A GAME
      Nails the “game generation” demographic
      Blows up engagement vs. traditional campaigns
      The ads become a story and free marketing follows
      Games, like Jay-Z, are cool. Cool is infectious.
    • PRODUCTION
      AREA/CODEA game design and development studio founded in 2005
      “Area/Code takes advantage of today’s environment of pervasive technologies and overlapping media to create new kinds of entertainment.
      Area/Code projects explore the new ways that games can connect with the real world in order to produce powerful, engaging experiences.”
      CONQWEST
    • PRODUCTION
      AREA/CODEMakes games and consults on game design
      Clients have included brands as diverse as Nike, Electronic Arts, A&E Networks, the government of the United Kingdom, Nokia, the Discovery Channel, Disney and many more.
      Area/Code had worked with Droga5 before on a project for Puma. Our approach and methodology were exactly what they were looking for on Jay-Z’s Decoded.
    • PRODUCTION
      GAME DESIGN
      drives the process at Area/Code
      We start every project by figuring out whether a game is really the right approach
      If it is, we look first at the players – who do we want to play this game? What kinds of games do they like?
      What type of engagement are we trying to produce in our players? Light, frequent? Deep, compulsive? These choices have major, lasting consequences
      One size does not fit all
    • PRODUCTION
      DECODEDcame with a conceit (and a sponsor) already in place
      Droga5 had Bing on board, and they knew that Jay-Z wanted to “give away” the book to his biggest fans by hiding the pages around the world
      But how does Bing work into the game? And how do we make it relevant to a nationwide userbase that may never even get close to one of the pages?
    • PRODUCTION
      Our involvement was to last one month. By month’s end, we’d produce a document with a complete “production kit” for Bing and third-party engineers to build the game in two months.
      Our first drafts of the design were too complex, but we focused on solving key problems before polishing user experience. This is the reverse of how game production often works in the industry.
      Decoded is a collaborative scavenger hunt. It’s a puzzle and more “brittle” than our usual work, but it produces the repetitive, highly-directed engagement that the project needed. There is no one perfect game type for every project – badges would not have worked here.
    • PRODUCTION
      So, how did we decide to do it?
      Bing became the game’s platform.
      We placed 160 page icons in a customized version of Bing Maps on the Decoded site.
      Clicking each icon gave a clue and prompted players to search Bing for the answers.
      Correct answers brought players to Bing Maps Streetside view, where the exact locations of real-world pages were indicated.
      The first player to find each page in Streetside got a shout-out on the site – and so did the first player to find it in real life (and enter a code or upload a picture to prove it).
    • PRODUCTION
      Unlike most of our games, Decoded was not created with replayability in mind. Players work toward a goal: unlocking the whole book. Once met, the game is over. This project required spectacle and replayability is the enemy of spectacle. Whether a game needs to be replayable determines much of its destiny.
      For most players, especially those far from New York, where most of the pages were hidden, the fun of the game was in seeing the clever ways in which we hid the pages.
    • PRODUCTION
      By the time the promotion ended, all 320 pages of the book (placed as 2-page spreads) had been found both online and in the real world. Response was tremendous, and most of the hidden real-world pages were spotted within five minutes of their virtual counterparts unlocking.
      Creating custom content like this is difficult and costly, but if your goal is to make a big splash (and your game only runs once), it can’t be beat
    • RECEPTION
      HOW DID WE DO?Did the game accomplish its goals?
      FORBES10 Most Creative Advertising Ideas
      NEW YORK TIMESFeature Article on Decoded
      CREATIVITY10 Campaigns Creativity Loved / 2010
      ADVERTISING AGE10 Coolest Out-of-Home Ideas / 2010
      FAST COMPANY”Inside Decoded” Feature
      CREATIVITYBest of 2010: : #1 P/D
    • RECEPTION
      HOW DID WE DO?Did the game accomplish its goals?
      IT’S A HIT!
      Bing’smost effective marketing program to date
      “Intent to Use” is up 20% for young urban males
      The buzz and editorial discussion was off the charts
      Decoded itself debuted at #3 on the NYT Bestseller List
    • RECEPTION
      HOW DID WE DO?Did the game accomplish its goals?
      Regardless of any individual marketing milestones, the ultimate goal of the project was always to
      use a branded game to chip away at Google’s massive lead in search
      By conditioning a group – any group – of frequent search users to turn to Bing daily, for both text (clues) and geographical (map) searches, Microsoft definitely achieved one of its goals.
      Even ancillary third-party participants, largely paid in-kind, received tremendous value in media coverage, as well as thousands of in-person visits driven solely by the campaign.
    • RECEPTION
      HOW DID WE DO?Did the game accomplish its goals?
      HAPPY PLAYERS
      HAPPY SPONSORS
      HAPPY CLIENTS
    • ANY QUESTIONS?
      THANK YOU
      I think we’ve got about 8 minutes.
      I think we’ve got time for one more.
    • CONTACT
      DEMETRI DETSARIDIS
      General Manager and Executive Producer
      demetri.detsaridis@areacodeinc.com
      facebook.com/detsaridis@detsaridis