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Special Project

Special Project
From the 11th Annual Shorty Awards

A Simple Favor - Instagram Search Party for Emily Nelson

Finalist in Instagram

Gold Honor in Contest or Promotion


To promote and excite audiences for the theatrical release of the Lionsgate original film, A Simple Favor, by creating an original Instagram scavenger hunt to engage the F18-34+ target demographic.

Strategy and Execution

With the upcoming theatrical release of A Simple Favor, a mystery thriller starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, we wanted to make a campaign that gave the audience an experience that would familiarize them with the movie and its characters in a unique, curiosity-inducing way. Inspired by Blake Lively's decision to temporarily remove her Instagram account and follow people named Emily Nelson, which garnered widespread press coverage, we designed a clever Instagram mystery game to thicken the plot.

Entirely built organically on the Instagram platform, the mystery required users to join the search party for Emily (the character played by Blake Lively) and navigate a small maze of in-world Instagram accounts that were pre-populated with carefully crafted clues. The "detectives" who successfully found Emily's secret account then followed it to be entered to win a trip for two to New York Fashion Week, which aligned with the high-fashion aesthetic of both the film and our Instagram mystery.

We worked with our team of fashionable influencers, Ariana Madix, Vicki Gunvalson, Lala Kent, Lauren Burnham to spread the word of Emily's disappearance and draw traffic to the @Hope.for.Emily Instagram page, which was the starting point for our social media search party. To initiate the search, our four fashionistas each dressed up in their stylish NYFW attire while showing their audience the missing poster for Emily Nelson (Blake Lively). Then, as anticipation grew, our team of Influencers each posted hints on their personal Instagram stories, which were re-posted to the @hope.for.emily page as IG Story highlights, providing additional hints for the entire search party. New clues were added during NYFW and we had street style photographer, Eddie Newton, embed a hidden clue within his feed that looked like one of his typical NYFW celebrity sightings to give this mystery both a real-time and real-world feel.

While users could solve the mystery by following any one of 3 possible paths to find Emily's account, many users enjoyed our intricate game so much that they went back to solve the rest of the clues.


Once the search was concluded, the scavenger hunt for Emily had combined 15,000 people who "found Emily" out of the over 25,000 people that joined the search party at @hope.for.emily. We successfully engaged the target demographic with our successful detectives being 96% female and 85% A18-34.

The search party of elite influencers accumulated over 4 Million total video views.

Our scavenger hunt had users captivated, spending a combined 5,000 hours trying to find Emily.

We received over 99% positive sentiment (excluding any neutral comments) while users left positive comments congratulating A Simple Favor on creating such a fun and engaging marketing campaign.


Video for A Simple Favor - Instagram Search Party for Emily Nelson

Entrant Company / Organization Name

PopShorts, Starcom, Lionsgate Entertainment


Entry Credits