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Post-Apocalyptic LA Comes to Life in VR-Driven Book

Post-Apocalyptic LA Comes to Life in VR-Driven Book | Mister Sweat | Mister Sweat
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Industry: Media & Publishing
Media:Design & Branding
Market:United States
Style: Minimalism
A post-apocalyptic Los Angeles comes to life in VR and audio signals in Mayfly Quest, an unusual book-marketing campaign from author Jeff Sweat to promote the novel Mayfly.

Mayfly Quest explores new ways of telling stories and is intended to span the gap between Mayfly and its sequel, Scorpion. It decodes LA (now Ell Aye) a hundred years from now, long after a mysterious plague called the End has wiped out all adults and continues to kill kids before they reach the age of 17.

The Quest expands upon traditional online scavenger hunts with innovative technology, most notably by hacking Google Maps with 360-degree VR images of Los Angeles landmarks that have been “apocalypsized” and populated with clues to the cause of the End. The clues appear daily now through April 25 on Twitter @projectlonglife and on Instagram @jeffsweatbooks and can be redeemed at for swag and bonus content like deleted scenes and short stories.

The campaign is unusual for book publishing, which rarely mounts the kind of campaigns that marketers do for entertainment and brands. Most book marketing tends to focus on getting books into the hands of people who weren’t already fans. For Mayfly, we wanted to reach people who didn’t know they should be fans. The marketing campaign drew heavily on Jeff’s own advertising and PR expertise, as well as his connections in the ad business.

The hunt also includes radio emergency broadcast signals that tell the story of The End in harrowing detail. The signals, which were promoted on Facebook, had a 74% video completion rate—almost four times the goal!

The signals freaked out LA residents who weren’t aware they were part of a book marketing campaign, with one commenter evoking Orson Welles and other saying, “This isn’t fake,” and “Whoever this is don’t be doing this sh** no more almost had a heart attack cuz you wanna advertise.” Then, YouTube banned the signals and the @jeffsweatbooks YouTube account for “severe violations” of its community guidelines.
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