Videogame ads hidden in sites’ source code

A few months back, we dinged the Dante's Inferno marketing crew for being disgustingly over-the-top with their guerrilla marketing of the new EA videogame. So, it's a bit strange to see that their newest tactic is subtle to the point of invisibility. The marketers paid to place ASCII art in the source code of popular Web sites like (You can see all the screenshots here.) Once they actually found out about it, site visitors were split on whether this was creative or just pointless—though the answer is probably both. The art ends with a link to, where you need six passwords obtained from sites that embedded the images. Your reward is a large bushel of desktop wallpapers, posters and other artwork promoting the game. One interesting element of this campaign is that it came as a surprise to several of the people who work for the sites involved. "Checked the source code of our front page lately?" asked video game blog Kotaku. "We didn't think to until we got a tip. … Kotaku's editorial operation had no knowledge this was being done." Hat tip to my friend Christian, without whom I surely wouldn't have known this was being done either.

—Posted by David Griner

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