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Google gets Pac-Man Fever: Keep it BLEEP BLOOPin simple, stupid:

Google’s logo today is Pac-man.  It’s playable.  You can go to www.google.com right now (assuming you’re reading this on 5/21) and play a custom developed HTML/CSS/JS version of Namco Bandai (our client)’s classic game  Pac-Man based around the Google logo, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game.

They didn’t send out a press release, there’s no blog announcement, nobody was interviewed for it, they just figured out a way to do something cool, and made it happen.

At the present moment, it’s trending on Twitter, and about 80% of the tweets today (in my feed at least) have been about “OMG Google’s logo is a playable pac-man!!!!”, from fans of all ages and followings.

Let’s put all the talk about social media and content strategy discussion aside.  Here’s what it comes down to:

It’s not always the big flashy campaigns and press blitzes that create the most impact.  Sometimes it’s just doing something cool for your people that they’re not expecting.

In this business, we talk a lot (I mean a lot about creating client delight, connecting with customers, being ‘authentic’ and ‘transparent’), but here’s a great example of a simple selfless and well-executed idea capturing peoples hearts and attention.

Some things to consider:

  • It’s quick and in-flow. Google did not build a separate page for this. Users did not have to do anything outside their normal behavior patterns with the site. They simply did what they do already (go to www.google.com) and the experience was there.  They play for a little bit, and go on with their day.
  • There’s a minimal time commitment to interact. No “Go to pacman.google.com, use Facebook connect to log in, invite three friends and you can play a game!”. Just do what you were going to do anyway, play for a few minutes, go on with your day.
  • It’s easy to recommend to your network. The in-flowness also made the experience that much more shareable, because people know that their friends are going to Google anyway, so it was not “extra work” for people to experience the game once it was shared.
  • There is an element of surprise to the interaction. Google is known for frequently switching up the logo on their home page to celebrate assorted holidays, anniversaries and other notable events. This is the first time it’s ever been interactive.
  • Users discovered for themselves. There’s no “PLAY THE INTERACTIVE PAC-MAN LOGO NOW!” star burst image.  There was an element of ownership and discovery around the “hey, you can actually play this thing”
  • It’s timely and relevant. I didn’t know today was the 30th anniversary of PacMan. Now I do. So do you.
  • There’s no further ‘ask’ from them. User data jokes aside, Google didn’t ask you to re-tweet, they don’t want your email address, they don’t want you to buy a deluxe version of the game.  It’s just out there because they thought they’d create something cool for today. They provided value selflessly (though ultimately what they’re getting back in visibility and publicity more than makes up for whatever dev time it took to build the game)

Good on you, Google.  Way to add awesomeness to our day.  Much for many to learn, here.

[Update: You can play PacMan (I'm assuming) forever at http://www.google.com/pacman]

Jeremy Meyers is an Engagement Strategist at Waggener Edstrom and also blogs at JeremyMeyers.com.  He was always more of a Dig Dug fan, himself.

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About Jeremy

Jeremy Meyers is a NYC-based Digital Strategy Specialist at Waggener Edstrom and blogs about social communications, podcasting, storytelling and other random nerdery at JeremyMeyers.com.

  • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    I looked at the Pac-Man Google Doodle about a dozen times today and never thought about clicking on it to play, which I just did. Thanks for the tip!

  • http://twitter.com/theelusivefish Rob Clark

    Agreed. It all comes down to, if you want to be remarked upon, then you'd best do something remarkable. If you want something to be shared, don't chain it down. And if you want people to come, don't put any barriers in their way.

    Behind the scenes it comes down to being willing to experiment, willing to test boundaries and a willingness to play.

    Think back 10, 15 years ago. Of a room filled with 10 brand managers, how many of them would have flipped and tossed you out on your ear if you suggested to them they do anything of the sort to their company's logo?

    btw - how many of you figured out that you could make it a two player game by hitting the insert coin button a second time? That's right - Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man together on Google.

  • http://ChadAyers.org/Google.html Chad Ayers

    Can't beat the 1st level of Pacman on Google's logo? Check out my modified version! http://ChadAyers.org/Google.html

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