Is Digg Hacked? Or is it Just the Most Brilliant Ad Ever?

If you visit Digg and then view their page source, you would see this piece of ASCII art embedded on top:


The ASCII art in Digg's source code

The ASCII art in Digg's source code

Wow. Has Digg been hacked?

Of course not.

The link at the bottom of the ASCII art links to a page advertising anticipated EA game “Dante’s Inferno“.

Brent Csutoras shares a message from Chas Edwards, Digg Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer: “Since Digg’s early days, ASCII art has been ingrained in our site’s culture, we’re thrilled with the opportunity presented by our partnership with Electronic Arts and the Dante’s Inferno team — incorporating ASCII art into advertising on Digg, while providing the 40 million users in the Digg Community first access to the promotion code.”

Brilliant.

Adding Fun to Advertising Online: The Formula

With very solid targeting opportunities, it is easier than ever for marketers to provide entertaining and informative advertising rather than boring banners. This EA ad is the perfect example. The formula is simple:

1. Figure out one of the passions for the niche you want to target. ASCII art in this ad works very well, because it has always been linked to both geeks and gamers.

2. Find a website your niche uses a lot. In the case of gamers who might possibly look at source code, they couldn’t have done any better than Digg.

3. Spin the passion around the website. Here, EA went the extra mile to bury this ad to seem like an Easter egg rather than an ad!

The future of advertising online is usefulness, and by that, I don’t mean a direct benefit. You know, entertainment is a big enough benefit. I am neither a gamer nor a developer, yet, seeing this ad on Digg has made my night.

Of course though, direct benefit is also a great idea, if the IKEA Facebook campaign is anything to judge by. That campaign also incorporated a similar formula.

What do you think of EA’s Dante’s Inferno ad on Digg? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? :) Any other ideas on ads that are as fun?

Comments and Reactions

  • Brilliant!!! I thought TechCrunch's claim to having been hacked was an advertising stunt! :) Apparently Digg beat them to it!

  • Haha wow, that's sweet. Figlet is nice: http://www.figlet.org/

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