Imagine for a minute a demon is possessing you. You close your eyes and a husky, smoky voice whispers, "It'll be over soon, don't fight too hard." The darkness envelops you, and after a few seconds, you open your eyes. As soon as you do, you're confronted with the image of a young boy, contorting his body and breaking his bones.
I'm a sucker for a good ARG, even if it is just an ad for a show I'll never watch. So, I'm intrigued by what Campfire and Jam3 put together for Hunted, a new Cinemax drama revolving around the ominous-sounding Byzantium Security International. Not only do the fictional company's name and image bait the Occupy movement (out-of-home ads were placed on and around Wall Street, and banners on WallStreetJournal.com, to really rub that in), but the game they direct people to, at ByzantiumTests.com, is a five-part job application that's appropriately byzantine. Campfire worked with a cognitive psychologist on the tests, which combine Facebook integration, emotion recognition technology, logic and spatial puzzles, personality tests and subliminal commands. The agency even hired a magician from The Magic Circle, a London-based magician society, to further trick out the site. (For outreach, Campfire sent writers and bloggers a wooden puzzle, in the shape of the Byzantium Security logo, that was a challenge to unlock—with a flash drive inside containing media materials.) When done well, ARG campaigns can promote, set the tone for, and generate a keener understanding of the product before the audience really interacts with it, and I feel like the Hunted campaign gets this. And if worst comes to worst and the show sucks, at least we got something good out of the whole thing. Credits below.