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Every day is Fools Day

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Martin Trickey | 12:49 UK time, Thursday, 9 April 2009

After the massive success of the iPlayer penguins last April 1st we decided we wanted to have another go but make it last all year round.

Objective Productions resident Head of Magic, Anthony Owen, the man with surely the greatest job title in the world, had pitched us a great idea from a couple of magicians by the name of Barry and Stuart. These guys have a great track record on line with many of their clips on You Tube having done great business .

But what did they have in mind?

Well rather than trying to play a trick on the nation why not give a trick to the nation? The ESP test was designed as a slow burning viral, we would launch it on April 1st when there is a real need from the audience for a something a little unusual, but let it breath so that it could remain online permanently. The ESP test is not just a clip that you pass on but a trick that you have to play on someone else so it will obviously take time to get around.

Now the ins and outs of how the trick works, and how you can play it are far better explained by Barry and Stuart than me and you can watch that clip on the BBC Three site or on You Tube, where it is currently the second most favourited entertainment video.

We used bbc.co.uk, BBC Three trails, and social media sites to promote the explanation video. We wanted to let as many people in on the trick as possible because there were always going to be more people who didn't know how to do it.

And looking at the comments it has worked. It has been the BBC Three audience who have taken the trick and played it on their brothers, sisters, parents and friends. We have used audience segmentation to our advantage and because you can only do the trick on the BBC Three website we have delivered a whole new audience to the site. In fact it is the most successful BBC Three clip to date.

Hopefully this will continue to get used for the next couple of years. If people start filming themselves doing the trick then it can have a whole other lease of life with video responses.

Anyway check out the explanation and then go and convince that person over there that they have psychic powers.

Martin Trickey is Multi-Platform Commissioning Executive, BBC Vision.

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