Posted October 18, 2010 8:22 pm by with 1 comment

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People love a good treasure hunt, and that’s what Bing is banking on with its interactive marketing campaign for Jay-Z “Decoded.”

The complex ad campaign involves book pages hidden all over both the real world and the virtual one. The object is to use the combined forces of the world’s population to uncover and ‘decode” all of the pages before the book comes out in print on November 16. Random House is publishing the memoir but word is that Bing is paying for the campaign which couldn’t have been cheap.

Here’s how it works. You go online to Decode Jay-Z with Bing and get a clue which pops up over a Bing map. The first clue is this:

“Find your first page in the NYC district where Jay and Leo saw Wale at the Highline.”

Don’t know the answer? That’s where Bing comes in. The search box is located under the response box and I’ll admit I had to use it to find the answer, which I got from other reporters writing about this story. Not how they intended it to go, I’m sure. The second clue though said Jay-Z mentioned this “Phillip” in a Time-Out article. Use the last name to find a fancy art gallery in the area (Chelsea). Now I had to use Bing in the way it was intended. Found the article, got Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman, Chelsea and art gallery got me to the Nancy Hoffman Gallery and voila, I was in like Flynn.

Unfortunately, I don’t live in New York, so I had to depend on a local to go to the gallery and shoot a photo of the page which is on display as a piece of art. Pretty cool. The people who saw the page in person were able to get a code which they enter online for a chance at a prize.

For the housebound among you, there will also be online scavenger hunts for pages so you can win without leaving the house.

It’s a monumental project and I can’t imagine the kind of coordination it took to put this together. The ROI comes back in a couple of ways. First, Bing is getting a huge amount of publicity and traffic just for hosting this thing. Random House expects to sell through the first printing of the book even though it will be fully available online. Jay-Z is getting his royalties and lots of buzz.

The second level of return is on dollars and buzz generated for each spot where the pages are located. David Droga, creative chairman of Droga5, the New York agency that is behind the campaign said that pages will turn up in the most unlikely places including at the bottom of a hotel swimming pool, inside jackets in a store window or on the felt of a pool table.

“People were lining up to be part of this, like premium hotel brands and sports stadiums. It’s a sincerely mutually beneficial partnership. At the center is Jay-Z’s book, but all the players at the table stand to benefit.”

As of this writing, seven pages were released, seven found and six decoded. Looks like they’re off to a great start, and I’ll bet that by the time this game comes to an end, they’ll have more players than they ever anticipated.

What do you think of this campaign? Is it likely to push Bing to beat Yahoo in the search engine wars? Or will it be a one time glut of traffic that falls away when the game is over?

  • I actually came across this page trying to search for the clue lol. Now that I’m in like Flynn as well I have to walk around it…talk about a pain in the ass! I believe this is where the line draws for me. I don’t got time for this crap…and as Jay-Z states…”ON TO THE NEXT ONE!”