Jay-Z’s “Decoded”, A World-Wide Treasure Hunt

Jay-Z’s “Decoded”, A World-Wide Treasure Hunt


When we’re children, being taught how to read and encouraged to do so as often as possible, we’re told that we can find the world within the pages of books. Now it seems that you can find pages of books scattered around the world. Rapper Jay-Z’s new memoir Decoded, set to be released on November 16th, 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 on traditional marketing, pages from the book will be printed in secret locations “…printed in one instance on the bottom of a hotel swimming pool, in another on the lining of jackets in a store display window, and in another on the felt of pool tables in a pool hall,” said David Droga, creative chairman of Droga5 to The New York Times. This epic scavenger hunt will take place as much online as it will in the real world. As of Monday Bing launched interactive 3D maps that allow users to search the streets of New York, L.A., New Orleans, Miami, London (all cities mentioned in the book) and  more, looking for clues. These maps will have a “proximity meter” that indicates if you’re getting closer. Clues found, online or IRL, can be used to discover pages which players can lay claim to in order to win prizes. Up for grabs are signed copies of the book, the grand prizing being a trip to Las Vegas to see Jay-Z and Coldplay at a New Year’s Eve concert. There will be over 300 hidden pages in 600 placements in 15 world-wide and web locations, according to Jay-Z’s website. The grand notion is to have players find, “decode” and assemble the book together online before its release date.

This sort of real world gamification will not only drive up book sales – since the process is bound to make players feel included, invested and a part of the book themselves – but will hopefully bring new users to Bing for the first time, which currently garners about 11% of internet searches behind Google and Yahoo.

Area/Code is also involved in the project and General Manager and Executive Producer Demetri Detsaridis will be speaking at the Gamification Summit regarding this innovative campaign.


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