You may be wondering why we’re talking about Easter eggs in July. We’re not talking about the plastic eggs with chocolate and other prizes inside. Instead, Easter eggs in the marketing world are hidden gems, features or moments of surprise buried within content, advertisements, software and throughout the internet. They are designed to catch you off guard and make you smile.
But why would any company go to the trouble of hiding these delightful little gems? The answer is quite simple: It’s fun! They give your brand personality, help connect the consumer to the human side of your brand and encourage ongoing engagement.
So, let’s have some fun and take a look at some examples:
Thanks to the clever developers at Google who make it their mission to put the fun back into our daily routines, there are numerous Easter eggs hidden across Google’s suite of apps and tools.
For instance, look at what happens when you type “Do a barrel roll” into the Google search bar. Here’s a snapshot of your journey. This is one of the oldest Easter eggs hidden in Google’s programming, but it never seems to get old.
Hanukkah season or not, this Easter egg is available year round. Type play dreidel into the Google search bar to play an endless digital game of dreidel.
Looking for the definition of the word “askew”? Type askew into Google’s search bar and you’ll get both the definition and a literally askew results page.
On IMBD’s page for the 1984 comedy, This Is Spinal Tap, they pay homage to the “dialing it up to 11” scene by giving the movie a rating out of 11, while all other movies only go up to 10.
But Easter eggs are hardly specific to the internet. Recorded music has a rich history of hidden material. Vinyl records and CDs provided numerous ways for artists to include secret songs, backward-played voices and hidden messages. Most agree it started with The Beatles slipping the song “Her Majesty” in as a hidden track at the end of “Abbey Road.”
Easter eggs are also often hiding in famous brand logos. The logo on The Hershey Company’s Hershey’s Kisses product has a fun hidden treat: an extra Kiss. Turn your head to the left and you’ll see that between the ‘K’ and the ‘I’ there is a Hershey’s Kiss baked into the logo.
We can all think of TV shows, movies and commercial advertisements that have used Easter eggs to keep us engaged, but Hulu is taking it to another level. On May 1, Hulu announced a program that’ll make watching TV even more enjoyable. Hulu’s “Friends with Benefits” program, will feature hidden Easter eggs highlighting brand offers that are nested within Hulu’s shows. Just think of it as an ongoing scavenger hunt where you’ll find rewards hidden within the service—specifically through faux movie titles. For example, an image touting the “Happy Blues” TV show would actually be an offer from Old Navy. A movie called “Bouquet” is actually an offer for flowers, and so on. Now that’s fun!
In summary, Easter eggs are a great vehicle for getting consumers talking—which is exactly what makes them a compelling marketing tool. Conversations lead to connections, and connections lead to positive emotions and memories… exactly what brands need if they’re looking to build a lasting, loyal audience. So while Easter eggs may seem like silly endeavors, it makes total sense why so many brands use them.