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Hidden Messages on Mars – NASA’s Marketing Easter Eggs
On February 18, the Mars Perseverance rover touched down in the Jezero crater on Mars.
Viewers stuck on Earth could watch Perseverance’s descent in real time, marveling at humankind’s ingenuity in sending a vessel 134 million miles into space to explore an alien world.
Or they could grab their No. 2 pencils and start solving the puzzles NASA engineers hid throughout the mission.
The giant parachute that carried Perseverance onto Martian soil contained a secret message dreamt up by NASA Systems Engineer Ian Clark.
Clark used binary code to spell out “Dare Mighty Things” – a Teddy Roosevelt quote and something of a mission statement for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
It took NASA superfans watching at home just six hours to spot and solve the puzzle.
Why You Should Use Easter Eggs in Marketing
The Mars rover team has promised additional Easter eggs as Perseverance carries out its mission, and people are paying close attention to finding the next surprise.
Silly as they may seem, Easter eggs can be a surprisingly impactful marketing tactic.
Brands of all shapes and sizes use them (just Google the word “askew”). Spinal Tap’s IMDB rating goes to 11. Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant have countless jokes and references. In-N-Out Burger has a “secret” menu that’s arguably more well-known than it’s traditional menu.
These hidden add-ons show the personalities behind the brands and foster engagement among employees, customers and others. They encourage and reward people for paying attention. They create conversation and spur additional press coverage.
They give people an excuse to talk about your offering, spend a few extra minutes on your website, or tune into your livestream from Mars.