Decode Jay-Z with Bing is one of the most innovative advertising campaigns ever seen, a true benchmark for integrative thinking. A campaign that shows creativity beyond measure: more than 300 pages to decode, 600 unique traditional, nontraditional and digital advertising placements in 13 cities around the world and in Bing Maps, 200 winners and a multi-million budget. The idea generated a phenomenal amount of media attention, resulting in Bing becoming one of the world's top-ten most-visited sites.
The marketing goal was to increase Microsoft’s relevance with the ‘Y’ generation audience and engage more consumers with Bing’s new mapping software. As a strategic move the company looked to hip-hop artist Jay-Z because he already had a following that matched Bing’s desired audience, the Y generation who is consuming and sharing content through a digital medium. The goal of the campaign was also to generate buzz about the new Jay-Z autobiography by taking pages of the book out into real world locations and by creating an online experience using social media technology. With the joint campaign, both brands were able to see an increase in attention to their products. Produced by creative agency Droga5, the 'treasure hunt' turned the art of trans-media storytelling to transform online interaction into offline action. For those of you who might not know, trans-media storytelling is the “technique of telling stories across multiple platforms and formats.”
The video is from the DECODED Search Experience launch party in Miami, where both Jay-Z and Eric Hadley, General Manager at Bing, shared their thoughts for the up-coming campaign.
Droga5’s idea was to make the companies help each other out in a campaign style that had never been done before, following 2 main objectives: to attract young generation to use Bing’s new Maps, while promoting Jay-Z's new book, Decoded, at the same time.
Every day for a month another page of Jay-Z's first autobiography, Decoded - an exploration of his life and lyrics, was placed in different spots from USA and abroad that were relevant to the content of the page. They didn’t follow only the traditional model of advertising, so pages were displayed on unexpected things such as an old Cadillac, parked on a street in Brooklyn to comemorate the birth of New York Hip Hop, the pool tables at Jay-Z's 40/40 Club, the lining of a leather Gucci jacket, and even the bottom of Delano Hotel's pool, that discussed the song "Big Pimpin'."
The different locations of each page allowed for Bing Maps to be used to its full potential. With the creative inspiration from Droga5, Microsoft designed an interactive web site for the campaign that allowed for people to follow the pages as they were released and build the book online, for free. A clue to where a page would be released was given each day via the website and Jay-Z’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. And everyone who located a page automatically entered into a contest for the grand prize 'two tickets to see Jay-Z and Coldplay in concert at Las Vegas on New Year's Eve or the found page autographed by Jay-Z himself.'
"We loved its bravery, its boldness, its innovation. It's immersive. It's interactive. It's creating conversations with customers. It gave millions a reason to use Bing. They put every page of [Jay -Z's new autobiography] out in the world every day for a month in 13 major cities in the world. Fans could walk through J-Z's life." Cannes Lions Jury President Bob Scarpelli, chairman of DDB Worldwide. "
Agency’s main challenge was to bring together the product (Jay-Z’s memoir), the sponsor (Bing) and the audiences. And they came up with this amazing idea of creating an adult game, some sort of treasure hunt where clues to the physical locations of the book pages were given through the Bing.com/Jay-Z website, as well as through updates from Jay-Z’s Facebook and Twitter page. A simple idea played out on an huge scale and beautiful executed. And it also proves that advertising can take on any shape.
“Engagement was the word of the day", as Demetri Detsaridis, the executive producer at Area/Code, explains in the video below. At the Gamification Summit 2011, he shows how the campaign came alive in a number of innovative ways including on billboards, on the bottom of swimming pools and even wrapped on a car.
In just one month:
- The campaign drove an 11.7 percent increase in visits to Bing, according to Microsoft's internal numbers, with an average engagement per player of 11 minutes.
- The campaign earned 1,1 billion global media impressions.
- Jay-Z grew his Facebook "likes" by 1 million.
- The book hit the best sellers list for 19 weeks.
- The agency, Droga5, has won a Grand Prix Lion (Cannes Festival) in the Outdoor category in 2011