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Mayfly VR promo by Mister Sweat

Date: Apr 2019
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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 plague called the End wiped out all adults and continues to kill kids before the age of 17.

The Quest expands upon traditional 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. Each of those clues 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, as well as Snapchat filters and Instagram clues. We’re working with directly with indie bookstores and libraries by providing them a “Gatherer’s Bag” kit that includes a copy of the book and clues to be decoded. The quest is supported by influencer and paid social media campaigns.


Agency - Mister Sweat

Client - Mister Sweat

Founder - Jeff Sweat

Account director - Laura Nicolas

Copywriter and strategist - Joy Allen

Photographer - Jeff Sweat

Social content specialist - Jadrian Thomas

Project management - Matthew Rodriguez

Account coordinator - Lauren Van Delden

Experiential Activation Agency - Boom Howdy

Creative Director - Tim Canton

Technical Director - CK Hicks

VR Image Creation

VR Matte Painting Artist - Justin Hemsley

VR Matte Painting Artist - Suzi Hemsley

Media Strategy - North

Media Strategy Director - Caroline Desmond

Performance Marketing Manager - Devon Brown