Mr. Robot Launch Campaign

NBC Universal

The time for action is here.

To promote the premiere of USA Network’s new show Mr. Robot, ISL created a massive, first of its kind campaign. Our mission was to have our activation be the living manifestation of Mr. Robot and the fsociety hackers — highlighting one of the show’s main pillars, debt deletion. To do this, we built a real-world hacker lair and created a three day live-stream event on Twitch, the largest social gaming platform in the world.

Through carefully choreographed vignettes and an artistically designed set, viewers reaped the benefits of our fsociety’s digital corporate takedown as we deleted over $100,000 of the people’s debt in real time. This campaign yielded many firsts for Twitch including, having a TV partner leverage the platform’s live-stream capabilities for a custom interactive experience, in addition to boasting the largest cash giveaway that has ever occurred on Twitch.

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The Mr. Robot Set

We built the Mr.Robot hacker lair from the ground up. Our 3D model allowed us to conceptualize the space ahead of the actual build and we were able to make both creative and logistical decisions based on the parameters we uncovered. We knew we wanted to maintain fidelity to the Mr. Robot lair on the show, but didn’t want to create an exact replicate; instead, we decided on a creative direction that we felt would resonate as familiar, yet curious.

We landed on combining elements from the actual show, like the fsociety logo and print-outs of the characters, with more custom touches, like our graffiti and object selection.

The Physical Build

From the wood infrastructure to set design and scenic painting, we had a ton of fun exploring the depths of the Robot lair. Ultimately, the lair served as the backdrop for all of our design collateral, as well as the environment for our live-streams.

Our Maker team hustled to erect the wood frames that would ultimately support the infrastructure of our set. From there, we fashioned a few different wall and floor textures to make the space feel authentic and lived-in.

  • The Physical Build

    From tagging the final graffiti tag to picking out the perfect Beta fish, our team worked lots of long nights making sure the set looked flawless.

The Costume

The Top Hat

The tophat was custom-tailored to fit our Tuxed Hacker actor.

The Mask

We used the same masks that the USA Network production team used in their shooting of the series.

The Tux

The Tux ultimately served to differentiate our “Hooded Hackers,” the small guys doing the heavy, on-the-ground lifting, from the important “Tuxed Hacker,” who delivered direct pleas to our audience.


In order to seed awareness and build excitement for our live-stream, we produced 13 scripted vignettes that ranged from 5 seconds to 2 minutes in length that would cut into the E3 Twitch channel; these gave the appearance that there were legitimate hacks into the stream.

Some of these clips were more environmental— a quick static cut to our Tux Hacker in the lair to get people intrigued-- while others provided direct monologues that seeded information on our hack along utilizing Mr. Robot’s direct tone and messaging.



The Results

“You guys have a hit campaign on your hands; thanks for making both of us shine 😀” — ARDIAN PERKOLAJ, SALES DIRECTOR AT TWITCH

The End Result

The Mr. Robot Debt Deletion stunt is one of the most successful campaigns that ISL has executed in its eight years. The scale of attention and tenacity of user engagement was something that took even us by surprise.

Boasting 309,651 email entries, 63,363 twitter entries, 1,562,280 total views, 17,367 max concurrents, and 8,549,422 million minutes of video watched — we can say with confidence that the internet took notice. This is the first time a TV network, more specifically a scripted drama — has built a custom digital, interactive experience for the Twitch platform. It is also by far the largest cash giveaway that has been done using Twitch. From the concept to the set to the reaction online, this was a campaign teeming with firsts.