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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Deviate Labs - Caden Terminal

Finalist in On a Shoestring


Caden, a privacy tech company, was just coming out of stealth and wanted to generate 5,000+ beta sign-ups in advance of launching their app on a “shoestring” budget.

The objective was to create an engaging micro-app that would virally spread awareness of the many problems with personal data control and protection online. Plus, position Caden as a solution to the data privacy problems.

Strategy and Execution

Inspired by a John Oliver segment on HBO’s Last Week Tonight that unveiled the shady practices of personal data brokers in the United States (, Deviate Labs collaborated with Caden to build a web experience that enabled people to check what data brokers have on them first hand.

Deviate Labs and Caden turned up the creep factor, taking user interface inspiration from the computer terminals in HBO’s show Chernobyl, and tethered together the data broker’s APIs so that, with a single email address (and user consent), the Caden Terminal could start unspooling an unsettling amount of personal information.

As users started seeing their current location, past addresses, past professions, skillsets, birthday, horoscope, among other items presented before them, the app would check-in with users to give them the option to continue or “make it stop”. 

The biggest challenge was to avoid a “shoot the messenger” scenario where users would ascribe a negative sentiment towards Caden.

To address this challenge, Deviate Labs created an experience that was visually distinct from Caden’s brand and incorporated colloquial copy like “gently creeping” and  “make it stop” as well as meme content to keep the tone light-hearted (if users pressed the esc key a couple of time on the web page, it would boot up a Rick Roll video on YouTube). 

The end result was an experience that was provocative and creepy while also being share-worthy and constructive. 

The other challenge was to acquire 5,000+ sign-ups with effectively no paid advertising budget.

To address this challenge, Deviate Labs collaborated with an influencer, Google Maps Fun (7+ million followers on TikTok), and for a couple hundred dollars we sponsored a post that matched the messaging and ethos of Google Maps Fun (“Secret Websites the Government Doesn’t Want You to Know”) which accumulated 370,000+ views, 16,000+ likes, and 8,000+ sign-ups in less than a week.

A secondary challenge was that the experience was built specifically for a US audience as that is where the data brokers' API's are restricted to. However, the virality of the Google Maps Fun post brought traffic from all around the world. Rather than just a strict IP block for international traffic, we create a fun demonstration to showcase for all IP addresses outside the United States ( - enter some dummy data to see the experience).


Caden achieved 9,500+ beta sign-ups (nearly double the 5,000 beta sign-up goal) the week the Caden Terminal went live.


Video for Deviate Labs - Caden Terminal

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Deviate Labs, Caden


Entry Credits