Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery Campaign

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By Lauren


Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery Campaign analysis header image

When the question is “Whodunnit” best in recent advertising - the answer would have to be Photoshop.
Last Halloween, Adobe launched the “Photoshop Murder Mystery” campaign with the goal of increasing brand affinity among its fans and users.


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Adobe created a roleplaying game (RPG) which consisted of resolving a Clue-like murder case within the Photoshop file provided for the campaign. The users had to put themselves in the shoes of an investigator and search thoroughly through multiple layers for clues within the Photoshop file, and interview “suspects” in real-time on Facebook. Participants were invited to exploit their Photoshop skills by using photo editing tools as forensic tools to solve the case.

Concept: As the host presenting the campaign says : “Adobe Photoshop wanted to create a campaign that would activate and unite fans worldwide... We’ve noticed that they have a particular taste for the macabre.”

Clearly, Adobe studied their customers intensively before proposing this game to enhance the brand affinity toward Photoshop software.
We want to analyze Adobe Photoshop’s audience in order to understand if using a RPG was actually the method most suited to their customer segment and if there are opportunities that could be developed into an equally, or even more, engaging game using different interests of the audience.

First, we started analyzing the socio-demographic information of Photoshop’s audience.
Male users represent 61% of their audience, concentrated between the ages of 18 to 34 years old. This segment makes up more than 63% of all Photoshop users.

Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery Campaign analysis gender and age
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In order to understand which kinds of activities this audience practices, we looked at the psychographic ranking. The results showed a tendency towards sedentary lifestyles and strong interests in Technology, with Techies being the most relevant psychographic trait (133.7). Games come in right after with a Relevance score of 131.7%.

At the bottom of the ranking we find psychographic traits related to sports and outdoor activities.

Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery Campaign analysis table

Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery Campaign_banner

Adobe seems to have understood that its audience could be motivated by game activities, and when we went to analyze the favorite type of game among Photoshop users, we indeed found roleplaying games to be the most relevant genre for the target. It’s at first place with a Relevance score of 154.1%.

Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery Campaign table analysis

Adobe also based the inspiration for its game on the fact that its audience has “a particular taste for the macabre.”

We took a look at which kinds of entertainment content their demographic prefers: Movies, at 108% Relevance ranked higher than TV shows or music; and drilling down into movie preferences, we found Horror Films ranked in first place with a Popularity index of 172.8%. Proposing a mystery RPG to this audience was an insightful, educated decision.

Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery Campaign table movie analysis
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Adobe intelligently blended two elements that engage their audience: roleplaying games and horror movies. The result was an incredible increase in brand affinity from 15% to 76%, a high number of impressions that reached over 1 million in 3 days, 22,000 game downloads, and a near disappearance of negative sentiment among Photoshop users on Facebook.

As the narrator says: “If you want to know who really killed it on Halloween, it was Adobe Photoshop, with the Murder Mystery Campaign, on the Facebook.”

But could they have done even better?

Opportunities: In analyzing Photoshop’s target audience, we noticed some other interests that could have been exploited to produce a different, but potentially equally or more effective campaign.

The target audience shows a strong interest in science. In the General Interests spectrum, Science comes in at 2nd place with a Relevance score of 151.5%, preceding Art and Games.

Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery Campaign table interests analysis

Drilling down into Science category, we detected a strong presence of elements regarding space and the universe among the top 20 science-related interests. In fact, astronomy occupies 9th place in the rankings with a very high popularity index score of 195.4%. Organizations such as “The Planetary Society” with a popularity score of 194.3% and “Milky Way Scientists” with popularity 191.7% also rank in the top 20.

Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery Campaign table cubeyou analysis
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Taking inspiration from the target audience’s interests in space and roleplaying action and adventure games (Relevance score of 146.9%), we think Adobe could have launched a game campaign about an interplanetary search for intelligent life on another planet.

Picture this: after receiving a mysterious signal from the Earth-like planet Kepler-186f, players would take on the role of space explorers traveling to the planet to find out where this signal came from, and whether it is proof of life. By sifting through layers of dust, debris and alien matter (using Photoshop’s tools), players could find hints of a lost civilization and potentially solve the mystery of who sent the signal, and whether Earth has company.

A storyline like this strongly features the three elements that most engage Photoshop’s audience: Photoshop tools, games, and science.

Have we uncovered Photoshop’s next campaign? We hope so!

Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery Campaign_banner

Topics: Report