Alternate Reality Game by Coldplay

ghost stories

By: Dries Heerkens

Yesterday the new Coldplay album ‘Ghost Stories’ was released. During the years, the band reached big successes and scored hit after hit. One of the factors behind the success of Coldplay are the strong lyrics. The lyrics of the latest album formed the key element of the promotional action Coldplay organized, helped by Twitter. The band communicated via the social microblog platform that handwritten lyrics by frontman Chris Martin were hidden in ‘ghost stories’ in libraries all over the world. It started on the 28th of April.

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These Tweets resulted in a viral Twitter campaign, using #lyrichunt

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Fans immediately went into hyperdrive, praising what a cool idea it was. But this quickly gave way to wondering how they could possibly look through all the world’s libraries and whether or not trolls would get to them first. On fan forum, Coldplay fan “The Master” wondered: “Does any of you know a way to do this efficiently? I searched for ‘ghost’ on the website of one of my local libraries and 470 books showed up 😐 I can’t go through 500 books, that would take me weeks.”

In total nine cities across the world were surprised by hidden lyrics in books; Mexico City, Singapore, Helsinki, Barcelona, Kent, New York, Tauranga, Dublin and Johannesburg. The lyric hunt was completely solved on the 2nd of May.

See here a photo of the handwritten lyrics of the latest single ‘Sky Full of Stars’

This promotion campaign, can be categorized as an Alternate Reality Game; often abbreviated as ARG. Which is an interactive networked narrative that uses the real world as a platform to deliver a story that may be altered by players’ ideas and action. The ARG organised by Coldplay resulted in high interactivity with the players and made the fans excited for the album, an interesting and innovative way of promoting an album.

For a more detailed description of the whole campaign, please visit:



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