Skip to main content
August 4, 2011

Nokia N9 Seconds-Out

So that’s it, all 20 codes have been solved. We can officially announce the end of the exciting Nokia N9 Seconds challenge. Over the last month, thousands of people have watched the world’s quickest ads in extreme detail and followed the clues to decipher the hidden codes.

The ads have already been viewed over 2.7million times on YouTube, and over 300,000 codes were entered at

A correct code only worked once and on the first time it was entered. And, after your effort tracking them down, we can now happily reveal the full list of 20 correct codes and the clues that helped crack them.

Always pay attention to the little details

Code: 132545
Clue: The key to cracking this first code was in keeping a close eye on the time. In particular the time on the Watchmaker’s watch before he changes it – 13:25:45pm.

Code: 915914
Clue: This one was also relatively simple for eagle-eyed people to spot. The time on the Footballer’s phone as he checks his social networks reads ‘9:15’ in the display and ‘9:14’ in the top corner. Easy no?

Code: 041434
Clue: This code was based on the last 2 numbers of the kilometers seen on the taxi’s dashboard. Seen in 3 separate scenes from the Browsing and Design ads, viewers were left with six numbers.

Code: 850630
Clue: This code is made from the time and alarm set on the Ballerina’s phone. It really was a blink and you miss it moment, but people still found it.

Code: PRND21
Clue: This code could be found on the Taxi Driver’s dashboard. One of the more simple ones…

Clues: With one letter hidden in every ad, viewers had to play close attention to everything that happened in the 9 seconds of film they were watching. There was the milky ‘S’ wiped by the Ballerina. The ‘T’ in the Taxi Driver’s light. The ‘E’ on the Footballer’s shirt. The ‘P’ on the wall of the Watchmaker. The ‘I’ on the helicopter drawing of the little boy. And the ‘N’ on the shoe of the Poster Boy.

Code: 7AM7PM
Clue: 3 codes and all from the same bus lane sign, seen very briefly in the Browsing ad with the Taxi Driver. The first code is the measurement of speed on the taxi dashboard, but backwards. The second code is the time of day the lane is in use. And the third code is the days of the week the lane is in use –again backwards. So much detail in such a small space.

Code: 436793
Clues: The café where the Ballerina works is the focus of this code. Viewers were asked to find the map coordinates of La Maquette in Toronto. The answer was 43.6 latitude. 79.3 longitude.

Clues: This code was made using the 9th letter of each ad’s description on YouTube. To help people, the clue ‘Clever eyes look to where the story is told. On the 9th they can be found.’ was shared on Twitter.

Code: 210611
Clue: With six characters whose lives intertwine, what better code could we have than the date all the action takes place place – 21st June 2011.

Clue: This code could be cracked by finding the Taxi Driver’s name and entering it backwards into the contest site. To help people along we provided 2 Tweets – ‘ Everyone has one. But this isn’t straightforward.’ and ‘Following up on yesterday’s clue… He’s not Mr. Bickle.’ Safe to say, it was solved pretty quickly.

Code: DCA578
Clue: Perhaps the easiest of the codes to solve, this one simply involved entering the Taxi Driver’s car registration plate. We all got that one.

Code: C3CE97
Clues: More math-trickery for those that like codes. MD5 is a hashing function that produces 32 characters from any given number. The code was produced by taking STEPIN and applying the MD5 hash. We helped those that had an inkling with the Tweet ‘#Stepin.’

Code: 248338
Clues: This one was a little trickier. The code was Leonardo Da Vinci’s birthday when applied to the numerical Base 9 system (which only has 9 numbers). The mysterious on the Poster Boy’s poster led people to a picture of Da Vinci. We helped them along with a Tweet that read ‘The clue is glued to the wall. #Base9.’

Clues: This code was based on another Nseries post with Nokia’s Head of Industrial Design – Axel Meyer. People were helped with the Tweet ‘Behind every great phone is great design. Look beyond the ads and find cyan is a favourite.’

Clues: ‘Six individual characters. The first brings them all together.’ was the Tweet that launched this code. The answer could be found by taking the first letter of the six characters names in the ads – Ballerina, Taxi Driver, Footballer, Poster Boy, Child and Watchmaker.

Code: 280302
Clues: Keeping the mathematicians happy, this one was tough. Following the subtle graffiti clue in the taxi driver video ‘ElGamal 15’, we tweeted ‘ElGamal is the thing. g=10, p>304’. From here, the numbers had to be crunched in 3 steps:
1. Calculate the ElGamal public key using values g=10, p=307, a=21
2. Encrypt message number 15 using the calculated public key and random number 9.
3. The encryption produces two numbers 280 and 302, which made the code.

Yeah, we don’t get it either!

The final code…

And so, this is it. The final code. Solved only yesterday.

Code: 038726
Clue: For the final code, we took all 19 previous codes and tweeted them one by one, before setting the audience a little encryption task. By transforming the characters into ASCII code, each one created 6 two-digit numbers. A final tweet that read ‘The last code is a sum mod by column’ helped the audience find the last code of 6 single numbers – 038726.

That, Nseries readers, is how Nokia N9 was launched. We hope you enjoyed it. #N9seconds.