Ubisoft Wants Gamers to Learn What Data a Hacker Can Steal From Their Selfies

'Watch Dogs 2' effort leans on AI

People tend to think the world of data capture—as it pertains to their online activity—is limited to web clicks. It is not at all, and Ubisoft wants you to understand that as the gaming company promotes its new hacker-themed video game called Watch Dogs 2, which is due out Nov. 15. 

The Montreal-based player today is launching a microsite called Selfie Reveal, which allows viewers to upload pictures they've shared on social media to understand what data—such as their location—can be gleaned from their pics. The initiative, which is being led by agency AKQA, is being pushed by digital ads on Facebook, Twitter and other channels.

Benji Han, brand manager, Ubisoft, said his team's broader goal of the campaign, of course, is to promote the new video game, but it is also "to push the conversation about technology and hacking."

"Selfies do not just convey the information your naked eye can see, but the image may contain metadata including additional details about you or where the picture was taken," added David Maynor, who is a hacking advisor to the Watch Dogs 2 developer team. "Selfie-takers rarely give their background much thought, which can lead to unintentionally sharing of information. This affects not only the selfie-taker but anyone caught in the background."

It would be interesting to learn how much traffic the YouTube site gets, but the synergy between the game and the campaign seems compelling. To produce the microsite's results, Selfie Reveal utilizes a healthy dose of machine learning/artificial intelligence, said AKQA.

"It was certainly fun to take darker view than most digital marketing you see today," commented Jefferson Liu, creative director at the agency. "We've been conditioned to believe that the 'internet of things' and 'big data' are shiny, aspirational concepts."

Liu's company has had a notable history of connecting brands with emerging, experiential media like mobile apps and digital retail. Ed Davis, senior account director, AKQA, said artificial intelligence is now a strong focus for his operation.

"AI can help bridge the gap between brands and their audiences, connecting them in direct and practical ways," Davis remarked. "By bringing people together and addressing their needs through AI, we hope to create experiences, products and services that add value for everyone."