Watch Dogs – Hack Spotify

The Brief


Create an online ad mechanic, which will run on Spotify and give users the opportunity to win exclusive prizes, including Spotify premium memberships. With Watch Dogs Hack Spotify the chosen mechanic should relate to the games core features, which centre on ‘hacking’ everyday environments via a mobile device.

The Solution


To involve the idea of ‘hacking’ with a mobile phone for Watch Dogs Hack Spotify it seemed pretty obvious to try and have the user interact with the ad unit with their own mobile phone. The mechanic needed to be simple enough that users would be willing to go through the process and the prizes needed to be a strong incentive too.

After some research and meetings with the guys at Spotify, we decided the optimum format for us to use was what is called the ‘Advertiser page’, which gave us the maximum real estate within which to work and make it appear as though the app was being hacked. This format also enabled us to host the ad ourselves and thus have much more control about what content we could deliver within the ad space.

We knew that as most of the people who saw the ads wouldn’t be premium ‘paid’ members, prizes – including premium memberships for differing amounts of time – would be a strong incentive to interact.

We wanted to make the user feel as though they are actually hacking into the Spotify app via their phone to gain access to the premium membership prizes. The mechanic we chose was for users to recreate shapes on their mobile device, which were shown on their desktop screen within the Spotify app. This was achievable using WebSockets technology, creating an interactive communication session between the user’s browser and a server, so browsers on different devices could respond to each other.

On Watch Dogs Hack Spotify once users had successfully matched the 3 symbols, it triggered a video which we created from in-game footage and sound effects to appear as though the app was being hacked into. This also created suspense as the user waited to see if the ‘hack’ attempt was successful. If so, the screen flashed up ‘Hack Successful’ and they were then prompted to register to receive their authorization code. If unsuccessful, they were free to click on the ad again and have another go.

The ads were scheduled to run for 5 days so we were required to create a system where the prizes were split equally across this time, so that users had a fair chance of winning at all times during this period. The campaign proved a huge success, with all of the prizes given away over the 5 days and over 13,000 people using their mobile phones to hack Spotify!