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“Watch Dogs” Stunt Turns Members Of The Public Into Inadvertent Hackers

The latest promo for Watch Dogs employs the game’s city-hacking premise.

“Watch Dogs” Stunt Turns Members Of The Public Into Inadvertent Hackers

Unsuspecting visitors* to a mobile phone store are tricked into believing they can use their smart phones to control anything from in-store lighting and ATMs to traffic lights in a new film to launch Ubisoft’s hacker-themed game Watch Dogs.

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Released online May 16, the film, “Amazing Street Hack,” was conceived, staged and shot with hidden cameras by BETC Paris to capture people’s reactions when a mobile phone repairer offers them an app able to hack into the electronic devices around them.

“For this hidden camera exercise to work properly, attention to detail was the prime consideration,” says Thomas Boutte, BETC Paris account director. “Everything had to be set up so as not to give the game away. To create such an unexpected and incredible experience, we worked with one of the best stunt directors in the world, Cecilia Verheyden–to recreate every hack that (Watch Dogs hero) Aiden Pearce is able to do in the game.”

The street hack video is the latest installment in a long-running and multi-faceted pre-release launch campaign for the highly anticipated game.

Last July, for example, Ubisoft and BETC Paris launched WeAreData, an experiential website which was designed to gather and graph the publicly available data that govern the lives of people living in Berlin, London and Paris. The aim was to show much of the hyper-connected world imagined in Watch Dogs is already a reality.

In August, the two companies unveiled h_de by Watch Dogs, an app that allows users to encrypt their interactions on social media sites so only other users of the app can read them. Then, just last month, Ubisoft announced a 12-piece fashion collection created by men’s fashion e-tailer Frank & Oak and inspired by the new game (https://www.fastcompany.com/3029679/ubisoft-teams-with-frank-oak-for-watch-dogs-inspired-fashion).

Watch Dogs is available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStations 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and XBox One from May 27.

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*As with any stunt of this nature, you can apply your own sniff test to whether or not the subjects were, in fact, unsuspecting.

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About the author

Meg Carter is a UK-based freelance journalist who has written widely on all aspects of branding, media, marketing & creativity for a wide range of outlets including The Independent, Financial Times and Guardian newspapers, New Media Age and Wired. www.megcarter.com

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