Exploiting mispsellnig

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.

Did you get that ok? The research proves what neuroscientists have known for a while – that our brains look for recognisable patterns, sometimes at the expense of what’s actually there.

This phenomenon can be exploited by marketers; for example, bidding on misspelt terms (including competitor brand names) has been commonplace in Search for years. This snickers campaign is a great example. But now we’re starting to see it for promoted trends on Twitter too.

A recent – brilliant – example of this was by gaming franchise Saints Row. They’ve paid for a trending hashtag – #GATV – that’s tricking people into thinking it’s for hotly anticipated rival Grand Theft Auto V (which would be #GTAV). The hashtag actually promotes new game features for Saints Row. By simply swapping the two middle letters of the hashtag, they’ve exploited our brains’ urge to look for the familiar.

It’s created a huge stir on twitter, with many Grand Theft Auto fans even unwittingly using the hashtag to rave about the game (doh!). Is it the greatest example of troll marketing ever? Time will tell, but we tinhk it’s petrty smrat aynawy.

Date: September 19, 2013