A year after Adobe announced they’d no longer release boxed software, and would now only release their programs as cloud-based downloads as part of a subscription program, Photoshop customers were still unhappy about the change.

In response, we were asked to show Photoshop’s Facebook community of creative professionals that Adobe understands them like no other brand. As the Halloween holiday approached, Photoshop was looking for a way to promote Creative Cloud during the week of Halloween while also entertaining its Facebook fans.


Our strategy was to create an unexpected and entertaining experience celebrating creative minds and giving fans a new way to use the product. Through research, we knew that Photoshop’s Facebook community loved to show off their work on the page, with a taste for the gruesome and dark. As the popular - and gory - Halloween holiday approached, Edelman saw an opportunity to pair the audience’s morbid sensibilities with the strength of its Facebook community.

We created a Halloween murder mystery within a Photoshop file that fans would solve in real time.

On day one of the campaign we released the crime scene, a heavily layered Photoshop file available for download via the Creative Cloud. Fans explored its layers for clues—notes from a mistress, a vile of poison, etc. Fans were immediately hooked and started interacting with us and other “detectives” in real-time, sharing clues in the comments, proposing theories, swapping Photoshop tips and tricks. The most diligent users could solve a puzzle that led to a hidden URL, containing a secret Photoshop file.

On day two we released the suspects’ police files, which included their fingerprints and blood types. We capitalized on the Facebook platform, allowing our fans to interrogate the suspects through the comments in real-time. They asked questions—we responded back immediately in character.

With all the clues released, our detectives made their cases and on the third day the mystery was solved by several fans.


The campaign turned an unruly community of designers into an army of detectives, sparking their imaginations and reigniting their love for Photoshop and Creative Cloud.

Fans were glued to Photoshop’s Facebook page for three days of collaboration, as they came back to get new clues and collaborate with other members of the community.

The three-day campaign garnered 4.8 million social and earned media impressions, 22,000 downloads of the game, and positive sentiment went from 15 to 76 percent.

But the best part was seeing the fan love that came pouring in, with requests for an annual edition of the social game. “This campaign blew the doors off anything we have ever done for Photoshop before. The engagement from our fans was of such high quality,” noted Lex van den Berghe, Senior Product Manager for Photoshop.