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Your Shot: H_IDE by WATCH_DOGS

Behind the Work 709 Add to collection

BETC app for Ubisoft taps timely fears of online surveillance

Your Shot: H_IDE by WATCH_DOGS

You know you’ve tapped into a strong insight when the advertising campaign you’ve been working on for months starts being mirrored in real world news events. As revelations about online surveillance and the complicity of tech firms continue to spill forth from the documents leaked to the Guardian by Edward Snowden, BETC Paris have launched an app that helps gamers obscure their digital footprint. The H_IDE app is the latest stage in the pre-launch campaign for WATCH_DOGS, a Ubisoft game about a hacker battling against an all-encompassing super computer. LBB’s Addison Capper caught up with the team at BETC to find out more.


LBB> What were the key insights that drove this campaign as a whole? And how does the H_IDE app move it forward from the WeAreData element?

BETC> The fact that people increasingly are communicating with each other on social media and via smart phones, often revealing details from their personal life, private information on themselves and their friends. Simultaneously, we observed that people strongly desire (even if mainly in theory) to be able to control the data they create and share, not least vis à vis brands, institutions or even the government. People are enjoying the new technologies and forms of social media that keep popping up, but there’s also a fear of who’s watching, controlling and what purposes the information collected is being used for.

The WATCH_DOGS WeAreData website, launched in July this year, demonstrated how public data can be available to anyone. The site used a 3D mapping system that gave the user access to public transport schedules, telecommunications networks, energy consumption, traffic and safety infrastructure (like CCTV cameras and traffic lights) and regionalized socioeconomic data (such as average net income, unemployment rate and crime rate). Further, geo-localized social media activities for the cities’ residents were available, including their public posts on Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Twitter.

Ubisoft is now giving back the power with its new app, H_IDE by WATCH_DOGS. It lets the user control her or his digital footprint, and we wanted to put mobile phones at the heart of this experience.

We were inspired by hackers and the way they change the original function of an object as a way of tricking the system.
LBB> With the recent Snowden revelations, the campaign feels particularly prescient and timely - what has been like to work on this project and see the scenarios of the last few weeks play out in real life?

BETC> Indeed, we followed all these events closely and with quite a bit of excitement. But the truth is that even if the revelations are creating a lot of fuss in the news around the world, it’s not the first time such things have come to light. The stories just confirm the insight that we have been working on in the agency over the past few years with Ubisoft.

Government control and the idea of a ‘Big Brother’ watching you has been a hot topic for decades, from George Orwell to Marshall McLuhan in the 60s and reality shows. Then there’s also what Julian Assange has done with Wikileaks and, more recently, the whistle blower Edward Snowden.

The recent events are increasing peoples’ awareness further.
LBB> The app uses a 'H_identity card' that allows users to compete against other 'hackers' - can you tell us a bit more about that and what will determine the rankings?

BETC> The more you use the app to encrypt or decode messages, the more secure your communication becomes. Your hacker reputation is directly linked to the amount of messages you send through H_IDE by WATCH_DOGS. When you reach a new level, you get a reward.

LBB> What did the research and design process involve?

BETC> With H_IDE by WATCH_DOGS, we wanted to develop a tool that is as fun as it’s useful. BETC worked with the developers of WATCH_DOGS to enrich the tone & style of the game by creating an interface that evokes hacking. So the design of the app and the universe of the game are as close as possible, but we imagined the functions in a totally original and playful way.

LBB> How will the app's content and functionality develop in the coming weeks?

BETC> New content will be released soon. We can’t reveal too much yet, but users can expect new features such as additional voice filters and an augmented reality module for recognizing 3D images.


Learn more about the app at:


ADVERTISER TEAM: Guillaume Carmona, Lionel Hiller, Sophie Blandin, Jean Guerin, Louis Gambini
ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT: Jean-Charles Caboche, Tiphaine du Plessis, Thomas Boutte, Damien Clanet 
EXECUTIVE CD: Stéphane Xiberras
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Stéphane Xiberras
ART DIRECTOR: Benjamin Le Breton, Antoine Coucoureux
COPYWRITER: Arnaud Assouline, Benjamin Cuzin

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Categories: Sports and Leisure, Gaming

BETC Paris, Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:03:09 GMT