An Easter Egg for the virtual world is generally defined as a hidden message, or an inside joke, or a cool hidden function on a web page, program, game or even an email. To find the hidden Easter Egg one may need to mouse over the page looking for the hidden item, or click on seemingly harmless items featured on the program or site. Once clicked or discovered the user may receive additional information or features to the program/game/site. Easter Eggs have been used on computers since the 70s and even in DVD menus.
Go to thinkgeek.com. This is my absolute favorite place to shop online. Whenever you buy from them, they include in your box of goodies a catalog of some of their items with a promo code on the back for 10 dollars off your next order. They also mail once or twice a month to your house the same catalog, with the same promo code. The truth is, you can find these promo codes on promo code sites so they are not that exclusive. But, they also will email you. Now, they do something different with their emails and their Facebook posts, yep they have a pretty active Facebook page. They are fun to read. They are not always trying to sell. Sometimes they are sharing funny articles, important dates in geek history (6/28 was ‘Tau day’ by the way, 6/29 was Happy Unicorn Appreciation Day). But, and the best part is, they put an Easter Egg in one of their recent emails. I received one the recently, unfortunately I did not see it until an hour after they sent it, and was too late to claim the prize.
So, the email said something like ‘there is a promo code hidden somewhere in the email. The first to use it gets 100$ off their next order, they just have to hurry up, throw it in their cart and cash out’. How brilliant is that? They have done similar things on Facebook, where they will throw out a promo code for 100 bucks off to the next person that cashes out their cart. Now, they do not force you to finish the transaction if you did not get there in time and someone else used the promo code first, so they will inform you if the promo code has already been used and no longer available before you buy. But, they keep people waiting for their emails. They keep people waiting for their FB posts. People read them, just to make sure there is not a special little deal in there. BTW, the Easter egg in the email could only be found by looking at the plain text version of the email (view source) and was found at the bottom. It was actually hidden in the HTML version. Only a geek would even think to suppress the HTML to look for it there, which I did, but was too late, someone else found it first.
So, they make it fun, keeping their readers engaged to the point they are reading each and every line of text to find the hidden code. They are making sure that the consumer is reading everything they write. They are keeping the customers engaged with their online cart, yet they aren’t always trying to ‘sell’ them. Instead, they educate them on great moments in geek history and interesting and fun ideas to try. They highlight the customers by posting their submitted action shots using the merchandize, or posting customer submitted geek poetry, all the while sneaking in a deal or highlighting a new geeky item. I love them, and I can’t wait for my next email Easter Egg, my cart is full and ready.