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From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

Shadowhunters Join the Hunt Augmented Reality Experience

Entered in Creative use of Technology

About this entry

To launch our new Freeform original series, Shadowhunters, we had to find a compelling way to engage consumers around the complex mythology in the elaborate fantasy world depicted in the show. We had to explain who Shadowhunters were, explain what Shadowhunters do and explain why they are special. And we couldn't require viewers to read the bestselling book series by Cassandra Clare upon which the series was based (The Mortal Instruments).

At the same time, we wanted to move beyond the typical two or three seconds of engagement that consumers typically have with a piece of advertising. What could we do to drive consumer engagement around our paid media tactics that would bring the series to life in a truly memorable way?

Why does this entry deserve to win?

To achieve our goals, we created an augmented reality iOS and Android app that allowed fans to see what the world looks like through the eyes of a Shadowhunter. Why? Because Shadowhunters are half-human/half-angels beings who "have the sight." They can see what humans can't—the monstrous demons who prowl the earth threatening the survival of mankind & mysterious and powerful artifacts that can stop them. Instead of explaining their super powers, we let consumers experience those superpowers first hand.

In the app experience, fans must go on various "hunts" in which they must find & scan a "target." When a user finds a target, they are able to "Use the Sight" to scan the target using the in-app camera. Targets are advertising tactics like print ads, mall posters, billboards and social media content, which could all be scanned to unlock exclusive content and earn digital rewards. Exclusive content reveals included 3D models of demons, fangs & the mortal cup, in addition to sneak peeks of the series.

To increase the organic reach of the app, we included a feature where fans could use augmented reality to seamlessly overlay the 3D models onto their own photos and videos. For example, fans could take photos and videos while posing with demons and could then share their creations across their social platforms.

To kick off the release of our App, we collaborated with the stars of the series, who took photos of themselves with the 3D models and encouraged their fans to Join The Hunt!

Our Join The Hunt App took traditional media and made it immersive in a way that's never been done before. Fans didn't just unlock exclusive content and gain a better understanding of the shadow world mythology; they were able to seamlessly integrate augmented reality into their own photos and videos and help market the show with us!


In addition to record-breaking premiere ratings for the series, we've also seen huge success with the app. In just a few months, the app has been downloaded over 135,000 times, generating extremely high engagement:

148,000 hunts completed

206,000 total selfies taken

5,100,000 screenviews

4m 31s average time in app

31,000 hours total engagement

Average rating of 4.5 stars on Play Store


Video for Shadowhunters Join the Hunt Augmented Reality Experience

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Freeform, Storm Ideas


Entry Credits