Best of the Decade: Jay-Z tells his story all over the map with the help of Bing

Grand Prix-winning idea from Droga5 took outdoor to a whole new level

Published On
Oct 17, 2010
Best of the Decade: Jay-Z tells his story all over the map with the help of Bing

Editor's Pick

Best of the Decade

Agency Droga5 made a big splash at the beginning of the decade with this 2010 integrated campaign that turned outdoor on its head to create an interactive, game-like experience that sent Jay-Z fans all over the country on a massive real world and digital scavenger hunt via the Bing search engine. The effort brought the pages of the artist’s memoir “Decoded” into the real world—on the bottom of the pool, painted on a car and even on products like towels. Each page was thoughtfully placed in settings inspired by the words within. The campaign went on to win the Outdoor and Integrated Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions in 2011.

Original Story

The interactive outdoor spectacle for Jay-Z's Decoded tops the 2010 Best of list in the Print/Outdoor category.

Droga5 New York goes all out in its launch of Jay-Z's upcoming memoir Decoded with a massive multiplatform campaign that takes every page of the book and brings it back to its birthplace, literally. The book, published out of Random House imprint Spiegel and Grau, is set to release on November 16. Until then, the campaign will recreate each book page on a traditional outdoor, or not so conventional space—think billboard, the lining of a suit, or bottom of a pool—all of it relevant to where the contents of each page originally took place.

"We've made canvases out of some pretty extraordinary places," says Droga5 Creative Chairman David Droga. "We've turned everything into outdoor—350 pages are outdoor and another 100 and 150 are things that money can't buy." The latter will involve some familiar other big names, which at press time Droga could not disclose. "A lot of other big global brands and icons have stepped up to turn themselves into canvases," he says.

"We're trying to do something that's consistent with the Jay-Z brand," Droga explains. "He does all these incredibly bold things in the music industry. He wants to do the same thing to the publishing industry. What's bolder than putting every single page of your book out in the real world, so if someone wanted to read it or discover it, they don't have to buy the book? He's so confident that the story's compelling, the reader will get so caught up in looking at this that they'll want to buy the book."

But fans need not be as jet-setting as Jay-Z to see each execution. A partnership with Bing maps gives the audience a chance to search for each page online via a scavenger hunt, which will provide daily clues to each of the various page locations. "I'd seen that Bing maps presentation from TED, which was extraordinary, and thought, Imagine if we could lay that over the top and suddenly you've got something that's global," says Droga. "You could be sitting in Arkansas and you could walk in the streets of Brooklyn." The agency had been in talks over the last year and a half with Bing to do a nontraditional promotion and finally found an opportunity when the book project came up.

The thrill of the search and book pages aren't the game's only rewards, however. The First players to find a page get a hard copy of the book with that page signed by the artist himself, and all will get thrown into a draw for the grand prize, a ticket to see Jay-Z and Coldplay in concert on New Year's in Vegas.


Oct 18, 2010
Brand :
Client :
Agency :
Droga5-New York
Chairperson :
David Droga
Creative Director :
Neil Heymann
Copywriter :
Adam Noel
Art Director :
Jon Kubik
Designer :
Jon Donaghy
Copywriter :
Spencer Lavallee
Director, Photography :
Paul McGeiver
Senior Digital Designer :
Piper Darley
Junior Digital Designer :
Elias Holtz
Head of Integrated Production :
Sally-Ann Dale
Senior Digital Producer :
Andrew Allen
Digital Producer :
Toph Brown
Executive Out of Home Producer :
Cliff Lewis
Out of Home Producer :
Mea Cole-Tefka
Head of Print Studio :
Rob Lugo
Studio Artist :
Chris Thomas
Digital Strategic Planner :
Hashem Bajwa
Chief Executive Offier :
Andrew Essex
Group Account Director :
Shawn Mackoff
Account Manager :
Megan Collins
Executive Creative Director :
Duncan Marshall
Executive Creative Director :
Ted Royer
Executive Creative Director :
Nik Studzinski
User Experience Designer :
Consuelo Ruybal
Director, Polygons :
Colin Lord
Photographer :
Dan Welch
General Counsel :
Scott Waldbaum
Videographer :
Sam Kilbreth
Videographer/Editor :
Nick Divers
Production Assistant :
TJ Ryan
Out of Home Coordinator :
Yael Bloom
Photographer :
Xiao Li Tan
Photographer :
Fernando Sanchez
Assistant Account Manager :
Louisa Cronan
Head of Digital Operations :
Mike Janensch
Community Manager :
Shalaina Ramos
Business Affairs Director :
Dianne Richter
Business Affairs Assistant :
Kristin Bilella
Broadcast Intern :
Bill Berg
Location Services :
Mick Breitenstein
Proofreader :
Cara Muzik

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