Last year, Get Elastic ran a post on ways Easter eggs have been baked into marketing campaigns. Easter eggs are intentionaly hidden "surprises" that originated as inside jokes in TV shows, movies and software, but have been used by ecommerce brands like Bonobos, who collaborated with fashion blog NotCot.org. Finders of the little Waldo-esque pants man were offered gift certificates ranging from $25-$100.
While ecommerce Easter eggs 1.0 hide in websites (or others' websites), 2.0 eggs appear off your storefront, in mobile apps, social networks or even in-store.
This season, UK grocery chain Asda took the Easter egg concept literally, running an augmented reality egg hunt in its stores. Hunters armed with the Asda mobile app could scan eggs that transform into virtual eggs with secret letter inside. Finding all the eggs to complete the password wins the player a free gift.
Other possible Easter egg tactics include collaborating with third party app developers to embed free downloadable content, buyable products, loyalty rewards points or coupon codes and vouchers, similar to Bonobos' collaboration with NotCot. Of course, these rewards could be integrated into a brand's own apps or social presences via API mashup, such as a Facebook Tab.
Easter eggs don't need to have any connection to the Easter holiday, they just need to be hidden. In an ecommerce context, eggs could be triggered while using a store finder tool (e.g. showing a city's sports team's mascot that qualified for a championship final), viewing certain products/content or even searching specific terms.
Google's hidden a number of Easter eggs in its search properties, most of them are quite funny. Hello? Is it Lionel Richie you're looking for?
Apple's Siri tells you how she really feels about select movie searches.
If humor matches your brand personality, playing up Easter eggs may pay off in positive vibes and word-of-mouth. But tread carefully, any content on your website or in your app that causes confusion or hurts conversion can backfire. Consider traditional user testing to measure reactions to avoid rotten eggs.
Traditional Easter eggs are found serendipitously, not announced, but Easter eggs can be part of a gamification strategy for your transactional or branded app to increase engagement. Hint: If you run an Easter egg contest / promotion, be sure to note in your analytics the beginning and the end of the game, it will surely produce unreliable site/app usage data as page views are not necessarily indications of popular content or purchase intent.
Have you found any Easter eggs on retail sites or apps in the past year? Drop a line in the comments!