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Microsoft, Clear Channel to Plaster World With Jay-Z Lyrics

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I don’t know about you, but ever since Oprah announced she’d be closing up shop next September, I’ve been left wondering which celebrity will entice me to read ever again.

Well, problem solved.

Jay-Z’s first book, Decoded, which is a collection of his lyrics, will go on sale this November, and you have no excuse not to know about it.

That’s because Random House has partnered with Clear Channel Communications and Microsoft to create a marketing strategy so omnipresent in its scope and complex in its execution that you’ll find yourself reading the book even if you had zero intention of doing it.

Here’s how it works:

Pages from the book will be displayed on billboards in cities across the globe, in addition to completely bizarre places like the “bottom of a hotel swimming pool…on the lining of jackets in a store display window… and on the felt of pool tables in a pool hall,” according to the New York Times.  How wacky!

Oh, but the wackiness is just getting started.

Pages from the book will also exist in a virtual universe housed by Microsoft’s Bing. Playaz’ can login to the site and blast off into an exciting online scavenger hunt to locate pages of the book. Playaz’ who find a page first are eligible to win a free, signed copy of the book. A grand prize winner will be flown to the real-life city of Las Vegas to watch the real-life Jay-Z perform along side the real-life band Coldplay.

The cross-marketing strategy could be a real coup for Bing, who, incidentally, is paying for the project out of its own pocket.

According to the Times: “For Bing, which according to comScore accounted for 11.2 percent of searches in September, behind Google, with 66.1 percent, and Yahoo, with 16.7 percent, the promotion could propel many to the site for the first time.”

But while this fabricated virality is sure to sell to a lot of books, it does raise more than a few questions for true street-artists (read: bathroom wall scribblers) among us, who rightly, argue:

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.