Mindshare: Facebook's Secret Chess Moves

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This week on Mindshare’s Culture Vulture Live, Kyle Ranally looks at Easter eggs and hidden culture.



It turns out that Facebook has a new hidden feature in its Messenger app. When using the app to talk to someone, if you type in a certain piece of code, a fully functional chessboard graphic will appear. All of a sudden, you’ve got yourself a mobile chess game.

Facebook didn’t actually advertise this feature anywhere. Someone else first posted about it on Reddit and then later on the news got picked up in the media. It’s your classic hidden Easter Egg, providing an unexpected treat for Facebook users.

For brands and marketers, this chess move follows a trend that we’ve been tracking at Mindshare, called Hidden Culture. While we’ve seen Easter eggs pop up frequently in major movies and TV shows for a while now, today we’re seeing more of them in products and services, too. For example, t-shirt company FFF has hidden poems on their labels. Session Beer has rock, paper or scissors under its caps so that you can play with your friends. And Google is famous for its Easter Eggs: Type in “Do a barrel roll” on their search engine and see what pops up.

The discovery, inside knowledge and shareability of hidden culture appeals to people’s desire for uniqueness, a trend that’s been growing against the backdrop of mass-produced goods. It also allows brands to give a nod to their superfans. For marketers, if you leverage this trend well, you could be looking at a check mate.

Learn more about Hidden Culture and Mindshare’s other 2016 trends in our full report here.

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