Mattessons campaign teaches teens to code through training course disguised as online game

Mattessons Fridge Raiders aimed to exploit kids' interest in playing video games and turn it into an educational opportunity, in a campaign created for the brand by Saatchi & Saatchi.

The "#Huntthehacker" campaign began when six prominent YouTube gaming personalities had their channels "hacked" by a figure wearing a trollface mask. Players were then invited to solve a series of coding challenges to reveal the identity of the villain.

Once they have completed the challenges, players discover that they have actually earned an accredited coding certificate: Level 1 in programming language python.

Over a month, the campaign saw 24,000 teens aged 13 to 17 tackle a total of 66,000 coding challenges. The campaign also achieved more than 13 million video views on YouTube and Facebook, and 12,000 social mentions.

Mattessons said it was now calling for "gamer-fication" – the process of embedding education in game-style experiences – to become more prominent in the teaching of coding.

Hayley Murgett, senior brand manager at Mattessons, said: "We have built a strong association with the gaming community and saw this campaign as a great opportunity to help gaming teens power up with new skills.

"Coding has been identified as one of the most desirable skills to have in the workplace, but the level of understanding and appreciation for computer programming in the UK does not yet match up.

"When it comes to languages, we need computer programming language to be held in the same regard as English and French. It is no secret that kids can be resistant to learning new skills, especially those that are seen as ‘dull’ and difficult, so we had to create the desire to learn.

"This winning combination of gaming and learning has clearly proven popular, so we hope this campaign could inspire a new genre of gamer-fied learning in the curriculum."