work blog about search
 
 

7thsyndikate: the whole story

Regular readers of this blog will know that we've been mixed up in a fantastically engaging online campaign by a group called 7thSyndikate

We were initially sent an email from them at the beginning of September: 

"Don't turn away from your screen; they may already be watching. We like your type. You came to our attention while demonstrating your observational skills in finding what you need inside zone six, as well as having contacts further a field. In the next couple of days someone from our organisation will be in contact. If you don't hear from us by then, destroy all evidence of our correspondence. For now, it doesn't matter who we are, suffice to say we're a state-funded organisation interested in your skills."

It had the URL www.7thsyndikate.org in the footer, which revealed the following web page:

 

7thsyndikate1

 

The page had a hidden link on the word 'bright', which opened up a new window:

7thsyndikate2

 

And so, the game was afoot. A series of cryptic emails arrived in the following days, including one which said:

"Place the following message in a public communication to your comrades – dim3 ak7ion – this communication is sensitive, but shouldn't place you in direct danger."

This led us to make this post which then led to another email saying that we'd been activated as an agent, with the code-name TrouinVI-302. There were a few more online hoops to jump through, and one offline one, where a classified ad was placed in the London Lite newspaper:

 

7thsyndikate

 

The phone number led to a strange voicemail with heavy breathing and a protracted scream, but that was a bit of a red herring, as the text 'B1-Lancer' was a password to the next area of the website. You were then asked to find images tagged with your agent name on a selection of photo sharing websites, and these images were tagged with URLs of Google maps, indicating a secret rendezvous for all the agents, in the vicinity of the Albert Memorial.

Albert_memorial

 

Agents were asked to turn up in shades and a hat, carrying a newspaper under their arm; and to wait for a man in a bowler hat, a tan mac and dark shoes. They were then to follow his every move. So at this point, we were thinking, well, it's been fun, but what's going to happen now that we're switching to the real world? There was a lot of online chatter about who was behind the campaign, and after a little careful digging we worked out who was behind it all.  So we turned up, along with a gang* of 30 or so other bloggers, all looking a tad perplexed in shades and hats. After a brief while, the mysterious man showed up.

7thsyndikate3

He led the group (at a brisk pace) on a brief walkabout through the streets of Kensington, eventually arriving at an imposing front door:

7thsyndikate4

And so, the masterminds behind the game were revealed - the V&A. The whole thing was a rather brilliant word-of-mouth campaign, or alternate reality game, from the folks at 1000 Heads, who'd been working for the V&A to drum up a bit of noise about their new Cold War Modern show (we'll be adding to that noise ourselves very shortly). It's the first time the V&A has done something like this, so we expect they were feeling more than a tad nervous about how it might turn out. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, which pulled in bloggers and got them playing on a dedicated site, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Google maps, on Flickr, and a host of other places; and it felt like it fitted in perfectly with the style of the exhibition.

Top notch.

Read all about it at the 7thSyndikate site.

*What is the collective noun for a group of bloggers? A fodder? A post? A smug? Or perhaps an obsession?

posted: 26 September 2008
categories: Blogs | Events | Games | Web
 
recommended reading

Ace Jet 170
One of the finest individual design blogs (it’s been going as long as we have!) from Irish designer Richard Weston. Covering found type, print and stuff.

Casual Optimist
If you want to know what’s happening in the world of book cover design, keep an eye on this excellent blog by Dan Wagstaff.

Creative Review
Covering design and advertising, CR has been running since 1981, under the editorship of Patrick Burgoyne since 1999. Essential reading.

Daniel Gray
Dan writes a column in Creative Review, and this is his consistently entertaining blog about design and suchlike.

Eye Magazine
The best graphic design magazine out there, from editor John L. Walters and art director Simon Esterson.

Flat File
A fantastic collection of online publications based on pieces from the Herb Lubalin Study Centre.

Grafik
Grafik is the brilliant online magazine about all things graphic design, from writers Caroline Roberts and Angharad Lewis.

Justin’s Amazing World
Justin Hobson, of Fenner Paper, is a bona fide expert on paper & print, and a charming chap to boot. His blog features in-depth analysis of the projects he’s worked on, including a few of our own.

Kottke.org
One of the oldest blogs on the web. And one of the best.

Lecture in Progress
An invaluable collection of wisdom from a range of graphic designers, illustrators, photographers et al. From the team that brought you It’s Nice That.

Spitalfields Life
The anonymous Gentle Author of this wonderful blog has promised to write 10,000 stories about the life & culture of Spitalfields in east London, writing one story each and every day.

St Bride Library
The St Bride Library houses one of the world’s finest collection of books (& related objects) about printing and design. It also hosts unmissable design talks and events.

Styling and Salvage
Rupert Blanchard is a mate of ours, and makes great furniture. This blog covers his projects, interests, and life in Margate.

Subtraction.com
Brooklyn-based designer Khoi Vinh has been writing insightfully about design, technology and culture since the turn of the millennium.

The Ride Journal
A glorious mix of the very best writing and illustration about all types of cycling. On an indefinite break now, but you can download past issues for free.