Easter Eggs: A secret weapon for brands?

No, not the chocolate ones. ‘Easter Eggs’ are hidden content, designed to be found by accident or by the very nosey. Typically, Easter Eggs are hidden inside the code for video games, in the front and backend of websites, inside software and also in design. Remember hidden tracks at the end of music albums, before iTunes et al? Those were Easter Eggs. Some more famous examples took years to be discovered, and it’s entirely possible that some Easter Eggs from older video games still haven’t been found.

The joy of Easter Eggs is that once you discover one, or someone tips you off about one, you’re in on the joke, and part of the ‘in crowd’. Someone has left a little something behind to be found, and now you’re in on the secret. It’s a nice feeling.

At the end of October, Stranger Things 2 was launched, and with it, a Spotify playlist. That’s nice, isn’t it? Nicer still, is the Easter Egg hidden within the playlist page. If you use the scrub bar, which no one really does, hence it being hidden, the circle icon turns into a torch spotlight, and the entire browser page transforms into a sinister version of its former self. You are transported into The Upside Down.

 

stranger-things-spotify

 

This got us thinking about our favourite Easter Eggs. Here are a few:

1) Google “do a barrel roll”

 

2) On the IMDB page for “This Is Spinal Tap”, see what their rating score it out of.

 

3) Facebook’s globe icon on their homepage changes depending on where you are.

 

4) Google “atari breakout”, and click the first link. You’re welcome.

 

5) Inspect the source sode on Cola’s website.

 

Cola source code

 

By definition, Easter Eggs are hidden; this is part of their charm. This means that if a company or brand have one, then they can’t tell you about it and they can’t advertise it. So what’s so good about them?

Well, from a consumer’s point of view, being in on a joke, as we’ve already said, is a nice feeling. For a brand to welcome you into a daft, niche club humanizes them, it makes that brand feel more like a people-run business, and less like a soulless service or supplier of goods. From the brand’s point of view, hiding Easter Eggs, as long as they’re funny or in someway engaging, increases the likelihood of people sharing their discovery with others, which in turn increases brand awareness and traffic to your website, or wherever it is that you’ve left a surprise for the curious.