Elf Yourself 2008 – “Viral Optimization”, If You Will

Posted: November 22, 2008 in Uncategorized, Viral Marketing, Web2.0, Widgets
Tags: , , , ,

elfLast year over 25 million Americans Elved themselves. Heck, even the anchors from Good Morning America Elved themselves on the air – talk about a “viral success”.

Did you Elf yourself? Do you remember what brand provided the cool elfinator?

Chances are the answer is “nope”. Better yet, when I conduct public seminars and ask that question, sometimes I get the exact opposite answer that the brand behind it, OfficeMax, would want – Staples. At least they got the category right – but only because they are marketing folks who have read about the campaign at some point or another. I have yet to meet one average consumer who elved themselves and remembers the brand. In an era when over-emphasizing your brand in an experiential execution like this can be looked at as cheesey and shunned by the average consumer, what is the ramification of under-emphasizing your brand? Impact thus equals zero?  Maybe, maybe not. This story continues…

Enter year three of Elf Yourself. Consumer behavior has been established, value proposition has been confirmed, logo inserted more prominently – let’s see if this year Elf Yourself can create an impact for OfficeMax. Will consumers Elf themselves in droves again this year? How will correlation of engagement be measured by OfficeMax? While normally the million dollar question would be – does it sell more office supplies? This year you can embed your dancing elf (ie: Elf Yourself 2.0), which requires registration – a portion of which are opting in for ongoing email communication from OfficeMax, you can buy customized coffee mugs, greeting cards, ornaments, mousepads, playing cards, or prints, and for $3.99 you can buy a DVD of your customized dancing elf. So there are a multitude of measurable elements here, including brand attribution that can be measured attitudinally. I look forward to inevitably hearing about the campaign performance after the holidays.

Kudos to Jib Jab, the producers of Elf Yourself, who provide a plethora of “insert your face here” and other executions for every holiday and even major current events. I also ask myself – isn’t there equal or maybe even more value being created for them?


  1. robert says:

    It’s looking like OfficeMax just gave away the elf equity. You make a valid point — not everyone recalled that OfficeMax created the elf. But everyone knows about it. And if only a quarter of those associate the site with OfficeMax, well, it’s probably mission accomplished. Remember, this isn’t a hugely expensive program.

    This year — in contrast — OM seemed to listed to all the critics. As you say, bigger logos, pictures, mugs, etc. But . . . my be is when the year is done, the (many fewer) people who recall the site will think it’s just another JibJab offering, sponsored by OfficeMax. OM has become an “advertiser/sponsor” of what used to be its own equity.

    Bottom line, I hope they sell lots of those mugs!

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