The Power of the Easter Egg

If you think this is going to be a flippant article about the chocolate eggs or hard boiled variety that kids all over the world will be hunting this weekend – it’s not!

This is about the Easter eggs that the tech industries have been using for years in software, entertainment packages, or even on TV and the big screen. They are the Kinder surprise of fans who delight in finding and then bragging that they have found it. A genius, contemporary marketing technique.

Examples of Easter Eggs

  • Google: This is a company that loves Easter eggs. From their daily logos that randomly animate, their funny error messages that sporadically appear, or their April Fools’ jokes, they try to make the mundane world of search a little more fun.
  • Zappos: Who doesn’t love kittens? Users of the mobile version of Zappos site were met in 2014 with an animation of kittens falling down the screen. Leaving them with a lasting impression, if they purchased or not.
  • Microsoft: Microsoft has been creating Easter eggs for years. Microsoft Office 97 included creating a flight simulator in Excel and a pinball game in Word if you pressed the right series of keys. Others include holding down Alt, Shift and the number 2 to win a game of Solitaire, and the ability to have all the volcanos in the world displayed in your screen saver, by typing the word volcano into the 3D text screen saver option.
  • Kickstarter: Scroll to the bottom of their page and click on the scissors four times and you’ll be rewarded with the option to subscribe to a secret newsletter.
  • BuzzFeed: Click anywhere in the background, then use your keyboard arrow keys to go up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right and type BA then enter. Everything will turn into Sloths Sloths Sloths.

Why Easter Eggs are Powerful

Easter eggs are not just a whimsy or piece of fun from the developer, artist or business owner. They are a powerful marketing tool. And here’s why:

The Power of Bragging

Social media has increased the amount the people like to brag. If you are an avid user of social media and you find an Easter egg, the first thing you are likely to do is to reveal it to your friends. This creates a perfect opportunity for those who did not know about the business originally to discover it, and those that did to revisit the site and potential create a sale.

The Power of the Elite

People like to feel special. That they have access to something that few others do. Easter eggs allow for this. They put the users in a special class of insiders, a secret club. And an ideal captured audience for marketing.

The Power of Retaining Customers

If people know that the Easter eggs are going to be a regular feature, they become part of the perfect inbound retention strategy. They will bring customers back again and again just to find out what the next egg will be.

The Power of the Media

There are so many social commentary news sites that if your Easter egg is exciting enough and garners enough attention then it will earn its own press on these sites. No longer is tech news reserved for Fast Company and Mashable. Tech products are part of all of our lives, and so the media loves to report on them.

The Power of Humour

Although they may not be appropriate for every company, they can be a great way to show your business has humour and it’s relatable to your clients.

The Viral Egg

Easter eggs are made to go vial. We’re drawn to the unique and then we’re socialized to share. They show your customers that you pay attention to the details and, when it comes to being memorable, they are what make all the difference with your product.