Nvidia Creates Crop Circles In CES Guerrilla Marketing Campaign

A crop circle appeared in Salinas, CA on December 30, 2013. There was an immediate reaction, people everywhere speculated on whether it was alien or man made. I read one report claiming the crop circle was a warning that comet ISON was actually an alien spacecraft. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, the truth is out there and it turned out to be a very effective publicity stunt.

Nvidia admits to creating the crop circle.
Nvidia admits to creating the crop circle.

Image via PC World

What is Nvidia?

Nvidia is a company that in short creates and perfects computer graphics, and they’ve been in the business going on 20 years. They invented the GPU (graphics processing unit) in 1999, which has expanded the video game and movie world. The chip could make it possible for tablets to be more powerful than a Xbox 360, or a PlayStation 3, while using one-twentieth of the power. With advancements like this in the technology world it’s no wonder companies have to get more creative every year on how to market their products. The company announced at the Consumer Electronics Show that they were in fact responsible for the crop circle and that it was designed to promote the company’s newest chip for tablets and smart phones.


Why did they create a crop circle?

Nvidia CEO Jen Hsun Huang and engineers thought that the technology was so advanced it was practically made by aliens, this conversation sparked an idea that would go world wide. The marketing team for Nvidia set out to design an original, eye catching marketing campaign that would not only rival the competitors, but have global reach as well and that it did. The marketing team worked with crop circle artists to create the crop circle encoded with the numbers 192 in Braille.


What does the 192 stand for? It refers to The Tegra K1 192 graphics core. The farmer that owned the field they used agreed to allowing them to create the crop circle and was actually out of town when it took place. There is a video on YouTube that Nvidia released showing the “discovery” of the crop circle by two friends who while driving down the road noticed a blinking green light. They are recording the video on a low quality video camera so it seems real. They get out of the car and go inside the field where they realize they are standing in a giant crop circle.


So for those of you hoping it was a message from extraterrestrials, sorry not aliens, just a super awesome marketing scheme that happened to take off. What do the viewers think about this new take on marketing?

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