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Oprah.com/12days hides easter eggs, but IKEA did promo better

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(Read caption) Oprah.com/12days invites visitors to search for hidden clues to win prizes – but underestimates the power of Google.

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Oprah Winfrey's "12 Days" is all the rage on this first day of the promotion where the TV megastar is doling out gifts to people, selected at random, who successfully send in codes hidden around her site.

But isn't this type of online Easter Egg hunt so, well, 2004? (Or, um, 1979?)

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The contest, which runs through Dec. 12, asks visitors to enter codes found by locating hidden icons in O Magazine's December issue or on the pages of Oprah.com, for each of the next 11 days.

The only hitch: those with a little search-engine savvy can do away with the whole online Oprah archaeology thing. A site-specific Google query with the following string returns eight of the 12 codes: "You've found a 12-Day Holiday Give-O-Way icon!" For the even lazier, sites have already begun posting them.

One wonders if Oprah.com should've gone with Murdoch and enlisted the help of "robots.txt" for the promo, and told Google's spiders to scram.

IKEA pwns

There's promotions, and then there are promotions.

As Mashable and a bunch of others reported late last month, for a store opening in the town of Malmo, Sweden, IKEA wanted an innovative way to spread online buzz. Instead of hiding easter eggs around its site (or the hulking store), the company hired ad agency Forsman and Bodenfors to devise a viral Web campaign.

To start, the firm created a Facebook account for store manager Gordon Gustavsson. Simple enough, but that's when the fun started.

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For two weeks, it posted photos of IKEA showrooms and invited people to tag items in the pictures, offering the simple promise: tag an item first, and you win it – in real life. (As opposed to on your Wall or something.)

Word spread like, well, a really cool Facebook link.

But besides just generating goodwill with the winners of the $499 Ektorp sofa or $9.99 Smila Blomma wall lamp, the Facebook photo tagging spread IKEA all over Facebook. And not just in easily ignored sidebar ads or promo pages, but on Walls, News Feeds, and Profiles all over the site.

Brilliant.

Now who wants meatballs?

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