"I don't think we all realized what an undertaking this was until we got into the nitty-gritty of it," Columbia Records Senior Vice President of Marketing Scott Greer told Billboard.biz of Pearl Jam's Aug. 17 worldwide scavenger hunt reveal of the tracklist for Cameron Crowe's upcoming "Pearl Jam Twenty" documentary. "The question was: 'how can we engage social media to get people finding and posting clues?'"
At 20 years old, Pearl Jam may be considered veterans in rock'n'roll years but they're celebrating their birthday with a deft social marketing strategy befitting a band that has always tried to remain on the cutting edge of distribution and music (back in 2000 PJ was the first major group to literally release official bootlegs of every show of its tour) To reveal the Crowe-chosen tracklist for the soundtrack, Sony Music and Columbia records created an elaborate day-long scavenger hunt that sent fans racing to cryptically alluded-to locations around the physical and online world.
On August 17 at 10:30 a.m., Sony Music unveiled the details of the hunt via a Columbia Records redirect from the "PJ20.com" website and a well-timed tweet from @PearlJam. The page featured a series of short clues that fans used to find the locations where the track titles would be revealed. Some hints led to physical locations, including a Times Square billboard in New York City and the Seattle club, Chop Suey. Other clues led to intangible media, including the LiveNation Facebook page and a broadcast from Pearl Jam's Sirius station. The first fan to find a particular track name and tweet its name with the hashtag "#PJ20" received a numbered Pearl Jam Twenty poster.