Jay Z, Microsoft, and Random House Publishing “Decode” the Art of Digital Viral Marketing

The Appetizer

On October 18th , 2010, media mogul/rapper Jay-Z, Microsoft and Random House Publishing group subsidiary Spiegel  & Grau launched a worldwide viral ad campaign/videogame for Jay Z’s upcoming autobiography, “Decoded” (in stores November 16th). The campaign combines traditional and digital media outlets, using Bing as the mediary between the two approaches, to create an interactive game based upon the individual pages of Decoded.  The game requires its players to find every single page  from the book, as each page has been released separately across the world in 15 different cities on traditional, non-traditional, and digital advertisement placements.  Players have the option of physically locating the pages, or using Microsoft’s Bing search engine and clues provided by questions/information from the book to determine where specific pages are located.  Players are able to work together with others signed up to play the game, thus creating a social community, and the player that has discovered the most pages will win an all expense paid trip to see Jay Z and Coldplay’s New Year’s Eve Las Vegas concert.

The Main Course

The Dessert

This gets 5 stars.  I have NEVER heard of something so elaborate that seamlessly combines, and pays respects to, so many media mediums, and does it in a way that not only effectively pushes the product, but also encourages user interaction and the building of a social community. The award for this is an excellent one, considering the concert’s creation itself has already made headlines upon being confirmed.  This, to me, is a prime example of not only where the industries are going in terms of digital media, but a prime example of how to make digital media technologies/advances work for a business and/or product for promotion and revenue generation.  Not only does it incorporate new and old advertising concepts, it is also incorporates digital social communities, gamification, search engine-based research, reading, music knowledge, and map usage.  Even with that said, there is an even bigger picture.  To my knowledge, Jay Z is one of the few artists that does not have a personal social network site  (ala 50 Cent’s “Thisis50.com”).  Guess what he will have a foundation for now– and he did not even have to pay for it.  In addition, it, with the number of players/users who will sign up for it will provide the social network/community an established active userbase, ie for advertising dollars, which is where the long term revenue generation is really at.  Like I said, 5 stars!

The Overall Meal

5 Stars!

The Doggybag

Have you seen/heard of any digital media related advertising campaigns that were as complexed as this one?  If so, what were they?

Please place your response below.

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