The more you know, the funnier it is/The Birth of Easter Egg Advertising…

I’ve got a confession to make. I’m shallow.
I love quick, pithy statements. I prefer reading Stephen King to Jane Austen or Dickens. I prefer playing football than sitting down to play chess. My dissertation appeared to be a fusion of two wordy texts (Hobbes’s Leviathan & Milton’s Paradise Lost), but it was really inspired by two Nick Cave songs (‘Red Right Hand’ & ‘Song of Joy’).

But my redeeming feature is that I LOVE complex things which appear to be simple. Whether it’s a book, a song or a person, I find them far more compelling.

Now, this ‘knowing a little bit about a lot’ is happily quite useful in some circumstances; I’m damn good at pub quizzes and hopefully this will be useful in my future employment.

Yes… getting to a vague point now. The picture is of the first book in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. I love the series, if only because they are like episodes of the Simpsons. The more you know about literature/life in general, the more you get them. Take Wyrd Sisters. If you’ve not read Macbeth, a lot of it will be lost on you.

To be able to relay a deeper message in your apparently simple approach is a great talent, even if it’s not immediately realised. Thinking about it, I suppose this is why so many people love Damien Hirst/Tracy Emin, because the viewer believes they HAVE to fill in the gaps with their thinking.

Anyway, to do a Godin on this post, the relevance the likes of Pratchett, the Arctic Monkeys or modern art have to do with comms is that any message relayed has to increasingly work on a more deep seated level, to get you to think about it afterwards. Yes, even the latest Burger King TV work – which got banned, so evidently someone took something away from it.

I think this resonates with Henry Jenkins/Faris Yakob’s ideas about transmedia planning. Give me a dialogue that rewards me for spending time with it, yet doesn’t confuse me at first point of contact, and I’ll keep interacting. Actual brand channels would appear to be forms of this, but I do wonder if it’ll ever be completely accepted and not sneered at. However, I have a theory.

Where I differ with some thinking that is common to at least one major agency is that a brand will ever be able to do the true 360 degree immersion. Russell’s post about the size of brands seems to illustrate far more neatly than anything else I’ve seen. People just don’t care about brands enough to engage with every touch point.

(N.B: Photo belongs to Pgilliver – let me know if you want me to take it down)

But…that’s not to say, in the computer game parlance, if you give them easter eggs – hidden little nuggets of information or rewards (and the clues to find them) they won’t try to find them. Whilst in reality brands pale into significance when compared to real emotional things (unlike what some agencies will have you believe), people enjoy feeling clever – so give them it. Or entertain. Whichever.

If brands can do either, then true comms effectiveness will be found. However, I think the former, that of playing on the consumer’s need to find out and discover will be more successful. Especially for major ATL communication campaigns with massive spends.

Seeing as ad blogs seem to bring theories to light, I’ll dub this my ‘Easter Egg Advertising’ theory. People like surprises, and (especially in the case of Generation Y) are used to finding out new, hidden depths to things.

I think hiding things away for discovery will become more prevalent as technology continues to march on and overlap. It ties in nicely with Ogilvy’s own quote – ‘The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife’.