Ann Handley, one of my fellow co-authors of the Age of Conversation book for Variety, the Children’s Charity, has a great lead-in line for the ongoing coverage of this “elf yourself” online holiday blitz.
She says, “Know how I know when an online campaign is truly viral?—When my non-geek, non-marketer friends pass it along to me.”
Yep. That’s my indicator too…And I’d add… “or the kids.”
Kids took ownership of Elf Yourself early on, and my daughter was no exception. She’s still elfing her fool head off with visuals of our dancing dog, her boogieing papa and yours truly…hilarious stuff.
Mind you, if you have more than 4 immediate family members you’re hosed. But for a last-minute annual holiday e-blast card, ya can’t beat it…That’s what my family’s getting; save a tree, send some electrons.
This thing really HAS brought a smile to many faces since its inception last year (and relaunch this year, adding a ‘Scrooge yourself” site to boot! Click on “let the humbug begin!”)
At its peak they had 10 elves per second being created, racking up 36 million hits in just five weeks on the site…Yowza. From a branding perspective, I couldn’t help but ask the kids using it (our Shaping Youth advisors) “So who’s sponsoring this?” What are they selling?
“I dunno, some office place…One of those Office Depot, Office Max, Office Club thingies…”
Well, I suppose if you’re getting coverage on ABC’s Good Morning America, and have som gold nugget brand implanting when media creates a headline like CNBC’s “Come on, give it a whirl, go to the max!” and articles like last years’ USA Today Pop Candy piece…then I wouldn’t be too worried about kids’ name recall…
Although if I were OfficeMax, with some 20+ themed sites, I’d sure want to know what was paying off from a branding basis and which one was most popular. (I’m sure they’re tallying hits to a farethewell)
Playful personalization (and a bit of narcissism) is alive and well…It’s FUN to customize our mugs onto a dancing elf, receive a talking mouth in “JibJab” visual style, and a voiceover in Chipmunks movie helium tone to send holiday greetings to our loved ones…
And it’s cheaper and more eco-efficient than a Hallmark card…Ah, gotta love internet people. It’s easy, silly, and a cinch to do…no work other than picking your photo. (I can’t wait to send my daughter the Scrooge as she hasn’t seen that one yet!)
Caveat: the site has gotten so popular the server is locking up and crashing, so you might receive the message I just did which says the “elves are on strike.” Evidently, “due to overwhelming demand, there are negotiations in progress and they’ll be settled by morning.”
They’ve also been a top ranked site in the humor category with 89% growth in traffic from the week prior spiking viewer intrigue…and I say power to ’em…
Yes, it’s advertising, and it’s sure reaching kids…but it’s harmless fun that beats those annoying, crass, elves from Wal-Mart I wrote about last season selling kids on being consumptionist power whiners…(ugh, yes, the ‘renegade elves Wally & Marty’ are still around this year too, just saw ’em on the tube)
Gonna go elf myself for some last minute ditties…Enjoy!
Visual credit for elf above: Bostonist.com