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The future of newspaper advertising

October 14, 2009


If you haven’t heard the news, you may be a bit confused by the above screenshot, which I captured on my laptop mere minutes ago.

Word that the Globe and Mail website had a functioning Konami code easter egg popped up on my twitterscape via BlogTO this afternoon. The blog was actually retweeting one Mathew Wingram’s who apparently broke the discovery. As it so happens however, Mr. Wingram (who’s tweet is sarcastically confused) is the Communities Editor at The Globe. Cheeky, to say the least.

For those who are not video game nerds, the infamous Konami code (up,up,down,down,left,right,b,a,start) was originally a way to get yourself 30 lives in the original Nintendo game Contra (and subsequent Konami games). Since Contra went on to become one of the most popular video game franchises of all time, the code has garnered its own pop-culture significance; knowledge of its existence being a bit of geek cache. Bands have named themselves after the code, and The Globe isn’t even the first major news website to feature it on their main page. Hell, even Facebook got in the fun.

What strikes me is the pure viral marketing genius this little joke has produced as nerds across the internet (including me) have quietly added +6 cool points to The Globe for this sanctioned bit of awesome 8-bit faux-hackery.

In a time when newspapers are aching to be relevant, this just shows that having your finger on the pulse of pop-culture and internet savvy possible customers will be increasingly just as — if not more — important than producing Pulitzer prize winning journalism. Even more notable about this perhaps is how evident The Globe has embraced technology, going from arguably the most stodgy Canadian broadsheet to the most digitally relevant of them all in a matter of years.

Welcome to the world of online branding, Globe and Mail. I once thought you’d never get here, and you might be by yourself for a while.

To try this yourself: go to

  • Once the main page stops loading, use your keyboard direction keys to enter up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a (the letters b and a).
  • A box will appear, and you can close it. Then press shift+space on your keyboard
  • In the console, type the word “contra” (no quotes).
2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2009 9:28 pm

    It worked! The Globe website is still butt-ugly and difficult to read, though.

  2. October 16, 2009 12:44 am

    Awesome. I love geeks, I really do.

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