Death Cab for Cutie Challenges Fans with Puzzles

Death Cab for Cutie - Codes & KeysSeattle indie-rockers Death Cab for Cutie joined up with Ebay-owned barcode scanning app Red Laser and transmedia agency Six to Start to create a series of interactive puzzle games leading up to today’s release of the new album ‘Codes and Keys’.

As fans solved each week’s puzzle, they collectively earned points toward unlocking an unreleased live track. Players who completed the week’s challenge were eligible to win tickets to sold-out shows.

Fans who scored 500 points in the Line of Best Fit and Photobooth games and solve the final puzzle could win a Limited Edition Codes and Keys. (WANT!)

The puzzle games included:

Talking Bird

In Week 1 fans were asked to rebuild a special QR code. When the 12 missing pieces were found on Twitter, they could then be dragged into the right spot it unlocked a box with another QR code that could be scanned entering the fan into a contest for tickets to a show.

Line of Best Fit (pictured at right)

During Week 2 fans were asked to earn as many points as they could by spelling words out of randomly selected tiles in a Scrabble-type challenge. Bonus points could be earned by spelling secret bonus words accessible by scanning the QR Code.

You Are a Tourist

Week 3 was more challenging, requiring users to scan one of nine QR codes which led to clues to a location mentioned in a Death Cab for Cutie song. Once the location had been revealed, fans had to ‘check-in’ from that location to be eligible to win tickets.


The final week was set up as a daily photo scavenger hunt. Each mission required fans to upload a photo based on the day. As photos were uploaded they formed the dark and light squares of a QR code. The finished code would unlock an extra mission for fans to play to earn a special prize of a Limited Edition series of posters.

All the puzzles were very challenging, maybe a bit too challenging. I love the imaginative user of QR codes throughout the challenge. of the four I found theĀ ‘You are a Tourist’ game particularly engaging, connecting Death Cab for Cutie’s lyrics to their real-world locations.

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