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DentsuBos launches surveillance operation in Toronto for the launch of "Snowden"

13 Sep 2016

To help launch the critically acclaimed Oliver Stone film, “Snowden”, DentsuBos and Elevation Pictures have deployed an eye-catching surveillance operation around Dundas Square, Canada’s busiest intersection.

The subject of precedent-setting controversy, Edward Snowden has been called a hero, a hacker, a whistleblower, a dissident, a patriot, and a traitor. His disclosures have fueled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the uneasy balance between personal privacy and national security.

His message? They’re watching you.And for two weeks in September, the unsuspecting citizens of Toronto will be the target of just that...being watched.

To bring this activation to life, DentsuBos and Elevation Pictures have set up surveillance cameras, equipped with motion tracking technology. Their mission is to track and follow pedestrians from afar while live streaming the footage onto one of the Square’s giant video boards. When the unsuspecting targets saw themselves on the big screen, their shocked reactions created all the drama needed to drive home the film’s point.

“What Snowden did was bring a terrifying question to light, “Who’s watching us? Where? When?” We wanted to show people what that means to them in a very real way,” mentioned Jon Freir, Vice President, Creative, DentsuBos.

“It was very interesting seeing people’s reactions. Some felt terrified, some even praised it as the creepiest thing ever. Funnily, almost all looked around to see if there were other cameras spying on them. Which in itself is very telling, added Freir."

DentsuBos worked closely with Cieslock Media to accomplish something that has not yet been attempted before and, through the process, often had to weigh the very same privacy questions and concerns that the film “Snowden” brings to light. It is a perfect marriage of message and medium. In addition to the Dundas Square activation, the film’s launch is being supported through online and digital channels.

The activation will be running until September 18th, 2016.

Press coverage:

The Globe & Mail, Snowden movie marketing goes meta with Toronto surveillance screen

AdWeek, This Billboard, for Oliver Stone's Snowden, Has Been Spying on People in Toronto And livestreaming their movements

Ads of the World, Surveillance Camera

Marketing Mag, ‘Snowden’ campaign surveils Toronto shoppers

Creativity, A Billboard Is Spying on Ordinary People in Toronto to Promote 'Snowden'

SignMedia, Digital billboard spies on Torontonians to promote Snowden

Digital Signage Summit, DooH Campaign: Surveillance Videoboards Promote Snowden

Stimulant, Smile, you’re on creepy surveillance footage

AdNews, Elevation Pictures promotes Snowden with surveillance campaign

PSFK, Spy Film’s Ad Spies On People As They Pass By

Trend Hunter, This Ad for the Snowden Movie Puts the Public Under Surveillance

Media in Canada, Spotted! Snowden film campaign is watching you (PDF, article en anglais)

Press coverage (French Canada):

Grenier aux Nouvelles, Opération de surveillance signée DentsuBos 

ActusMedia, Les Torontois surveillés de près en septembre 

Coloribus, Surveillance camera

Isarta, Écho de l’industrie (article in French)

Press coverage (international) :

Inflencia, Snowden : la campagne qui provoque et choque (France, article in French)

Stratégie, au Canada, Snowden is watching you (France, article in French)

Marketing Directo, Toronto se convierte en un "Gran Hermano" para promocionar el film "Snowden" (Spain, article in Spanish)

MediaCat, Oliver Stone'un son filmi Snowden'a konusuna yakışır açıkhava kampanyası (Turkey, article in Turkish)

Pop the Campaign, Snowden billboard (Germany, article in Dutch)

Invidis, Surveillance Videoboards promoten Snowden (Germany, article in Dutch)


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