Elf Yourself

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Elf Yourself
Elf Yourself during the holiday season
URLwww.ElfYourself.com
Slogan"Go Elf Yourself"
Commercial?yes
Type of siteHoliday
Registrationnone
Available language(s)English
Content licensefree for users
OwnerOfficeMax
Created by
Editor
  • Jason Zada (2006-2008)
  • JibJab (2009-present)
LaunchedDecember 2006; 5 years ago (2006-12)[1]
Alexa rank509,743[2]
Current statusHoliday season only
 
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Elf Yourself
Elf Yourself during the holiday season
URLwww.ElfYourself.com
Slogan"Go Elf Yourself"
Commercial?yes
Type of siteHoliday
Registrationnone
Available language(s)English
Content licensefree for users
OwnerOfficeMax
Created by
Editor
  • Jason Zada (2006-2008)
  • JibJab (2009-present)
LaunchedDecember 2006; 5 years ago (2006-12)[1]
Alexa rank509,743[2]
Current statusHoliday season only

Elf Yourself is an 2006 American interactive viral website where visitors can upload images of themselves or their friends, see them as dancing elves,[3] and have the option to post the created video to other sites or save it as a personalized mini-film.[4][5][6] The video and website were created by Jason Zada and Evolution Bureau (EVB), in collaboration with New York company "Toy." for Office Max's holiday season advertising campaign.[7][8][9] The Elf Yourself website and advertising campaign first launched for the Christmas holiday season in early December 2006,[8] and has returned each subsequent season. According to ClickZ, visiting the site "has become an annual tradition that people look forward to".[4]

Contents

Background

After being contracted by OfficeMax to create multiple websites for their holiday campaign, "Toy."[10] contracted with Jason Zada and Evolution Bureau to create a suitable holiday-themed website and application.[8][9][11] Zada then developed the Elf Yourself application for use with the OfficeMax holiday marketing campaign. The original release featured only one elf,[8] and received 200 hits a second.[10] In later releases, additional elves were added to the application and viewers could upload different images for each elf.[8] Still later, social media applications were added,[12] included those allowing viewers to save and/or download the films they had created through visiting the website.[4][6]

History

The project began in July 2006, when Bob Thacker, OfficeMax's senior vice-president for advertising and marketing, contacted "Toy." to create 20 humorous, holiday-themed web sites.[5][10][13] "Toy." contacted Jason Zada and Evolution Bureau, who in turned created Elf Yourself, the site which proved to be the most successful of the 20, receiving attention from CNN and NBC's Today Show.[14] Thacker explained that his budget for creation of all 20 sites was less than the cost of one 30-second television commercial.[5]

In 2006, when originally released, the site with its single elf received over 36 million visits in five weeks; 11 million elves were created,[15] exceeding production's expectations.[16]

Beginning in 2007, Zada and EVB updated the site to allow more elves with viewers able to choose to upload different images for each one.[8] During that second season, viewership rose to over 193 million visits,[4][12] with the creation of 123 million elves, quadrupling in six weeks the amount of traffic the site had in five weeks the year previously.[15] Based upon the success of Elf Yourself, and in response to the site being imitated by "many shamelessly derivative knockoffs",[5] Toy." had Zada and EVB develop and release the related holiday website Scrooge Yourself for "Toy." and OfficeMax.[17][18][19][20] By February 2009, over one million Scrooges had been created.[21]

In 2008, OfficeMax added a registration requirement in order to use the site, and traffic dropped to 56 million.[4] After the drop, OfficeMax dropped their association with Evolution Bureau and "Toy." and instead partnered with JibJab to "enhance the performance and distribution of the videos."[4][6]

In 2009, the campaign being run by JibJab, the registration requirement was dropped, and social elements were added.[12] Building upon the earlier Zada version, JibJab used their own "Starring you" platform to allow a viewer to make customized uploads of images[6] to the Elf site from the viewer's Facebook account and to then post their personalized Elf Yourself video back to their Facebook profile. Also included were options allowing viewers to tweet their creations, post them to other network sites, or download them as personal videos.[4][6] New dances were added to the elves' repertoire, among which were disco and country dancing.[4]

Also in 2009, to further promote the Elf Yourself website, OfficeMax contracted with Tribal DDB and Grand Central Marketing to create a flash mob of 400 dancers dressed in Elf Yourself costumes. The "mob" invaded New York's Union Square on November 3, 2009.[4][22] Converging onto Union Square from all different directions, the 400 met at the center and engaged in a series of choreographed dance routines mimicking those found on the Elf Yourself site. The resulting video was posted to YouTube and received over 52,000 views by November 13, 2009,[4] and over 1.17 million views by May 31, 2012.[23] The event is listed among "The Top 10 Flash Mobs of 2009" by BuzzFeed.[24] In 2012, Elf Yourself was once again revamped and, although less dances, the Elf Yourself process is much easier than previously. Elf Yourself also changes from being powered by JibJab to being powered by Oddcast. Jib Jab now have their own similar feature called 'Elf Madness!'.

Off season

Elf Yourself "off-season"

When the site is inactive, OfficeMax provides the website with a placeholder image informing viewers that "the elves have left the building".

Reception

Brand Republic reported on the insertion of personal images, stating "while the idea has been widely used in other applications, OfficeMax's version has become an internet phenomenon."[12] Adweek reported "Elf Yourself has hit the bull's-eye of viral success: It has seeped into pop culture. Broadcasters at several local stations, The Today Show and Good Morning America created their own dancing holiday greeting for viewers."[14] In Social Media Judo, it was pointed out that while OfficeMax hoped Elf Yourself would "warm up"[25] its corporate image, "the overwhelming majority of customers who saw Office Max's pupular marketing campaign gave credit to the company's top competitors."[25] In addressing the creation of the 20 microsites created for OfficeMax, Adland called Elf Yourself "a strange, corny, yet enormously successful website."[5] They observed that while 19 of the sites had modest success, it was "nothing like the level of action that came out of the Elf Yourself site,"[5] and that, as created by Jason Zada, the site "not only transcended the online genre; it transcended advertising and became the kind of cultural event that marketers dream of." [5]

Recognition

Awards and nominations

References

  1. ^ "Elf Yourself page snapshot". Wayback Machine. December 5, 2006. http://wayback.archive.org/web/20061201000000*/http://www.elfyourself.com/. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  2. ^ "Alexa ranking". Alexa. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/elfyourself.com#. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  3. ^ Roberts, Caroline (December 24, 2006). "Go Elf Yourself!". Bostonist. http://bostonist.com/2006/12/24/go_elf_yourself.php. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Quenqua, Douglas (November 19, 2009). "OfficeMax Adds Social Element to Elf Yourself 2009". ClickZ. http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/1692028/officemax-adds-social-element-elf-yourself-2009. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Othmer, James P. (2009). Adland. Volume 48, Developments in biological standardization: Random House Digital, Inc.. pp. 243–250. ISBN 038552496X. http://books.google.com/books?id=mxlqaqRhUvwC&pg=PA247&dq=%22Elf+Yourself%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9xrJT8DUMarO2AWl1rHaCw&sqi=2&ved=0CEEQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Elf%20Yourself%22&f=false.
  6. ^ a b c d e Burns, Enid (November 19, 2008). "Elves and Mistletoe Put Viral Campaigns in the Holiday Spirit". ClickZ. http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/1698834/elves-mistletoe-put-viral-campaigns-holiday-spirit. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  7. ^ Aditham, Kiran (August 26, 2008). "Jason Zada Leaves EVB". Creativity Magazine. http://creativity-online.com/news/jason-zada-leaves-evb/130544. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Nelson, Matthew G. (November 26, 2007). "Dancing Elf Video Site Back for a Second Year". ClickZ. http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/1701853/dancing-elf-video-site-back-second-year. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d Parpis, Eleftheria (May 8, 2008). "Jason Zada Profile". Adweek. http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/profile-jason-zada-95679. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Colleen Long Associated Press (December 15, 2008). "Elf yourself with holiday eCards". Virginian-Pilot. http://hamptonroads.com/2006/12/elf-yourself-holiday-ecards. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  11. ^ Morrissey, Brian (June 30, 2008). "Shops Strive for a New Formula". Adweek. http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/shops-strive-new-formula-96250#1. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d Whitehead, Jennifer (November 10, 2009). "Online elf craze is back, with added social networking goodness". Brand Republic. http://www.brandrepublic.com/news/965571/Online-elf-craze-back-added-social-networking-goodness/. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  13. ^ Fine, Jon (January 29, 2009). "OfficeMax's Wacky Marketing Strategy". Business Week. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_06/b4118065841575.htm. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  14. ^ a b Morrissey, Brian (January 7, 2008). "The Rules of Viral Web Success, at Least for Now". Adweek. http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising/rules-viral-web-success-least-now-91573. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  15. ^ a b Irwin, Tanya (January 21, 2008). "OfficeMax Out Elfs Itself: A Case Study In Viral Marketing". MediaPost. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/74695/. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  16. ^ Ford, Rob (September 8, 2010). "Jason Zada - Tool". Favorite Website Awards. http://www.thefwa.com/interview/jason-zada-tool. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  17. ^ staff (Nov 21, 2007). "OfficeMax: Elf/Scrooge Yourself". Creativity Magazine. http://creativity-online.com/work/officemax-elfscrooge-yourself/2890. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  18. ^ Natividad, Angela (November 26, 2007). "Dancing Elf Makes Scroogey New Friend". Adrants. http://www.adrants.com/2007/11/dancing-elf-makes-scroogey-new-friend.php. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  19. ^ Junion-Metz, Gail (December 4, 2007). "Elf Yourself!". School Library Journal.
  20. ^ Dougherty, Heather (December 13, 2007). "Analysis: Office Max Has a Viral Hit With 'Elf Yourself'". Digital Media Wire. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2007/12/13/analysis-office-max-has-a-viral-hit-with-elf-yourself. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  21. ^ staff (February 11, 2009). "Viral Videos Spread Holiday Cheer". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/12/14/earlyshow/main3618423.shtml. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  22. ^ staff (November 18, 2010). "E-card campaign looks to go viral again". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/ecard-campaign-looks-to-go-viral-again-2137649.html. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  23. ^ Warren, Christina (November 14, 2009). "Elf Yourself Flash Mob Invades NYC (Video)". Mashable. http://mashable.com/2009/11/14/elf-yourself-flashmob/. Retrieved May 31, 2012 9 count.
  24. ^ Ringerud, Tanner. "The Top 10 Flash Mobs of 2009". BuzzFeed. http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/the-top-10-flash-mobs-of-2009. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  25. ^ a b Chris Aarons, Geoff Nelson, Nick White (2011). Social Media Judo. Dog Ear Publishing. pp. 146–156. ISBN 1608448851. http://books.google.com/books?id=G8Id2LayAOAC&pg=PA147&dq=%22Elf+Yourself%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9xrJT8DUMarO2AWl1rHaCw&sqi=2&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Elf%20Yourself%22&f=false.
  26. ^ a b "Awards and Recognition, 2007-2012". OfficeMax. http://about.officemax.com/html/officemax_awards_recog.shtml. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  27. ^ Beck, Cam (April 7, 2008). "Office Max's Elf Yourself: ad:tech People's Choice Awards Finalist". Madison Avenue Journal. http://www.madisonavenuejournal.com/2008/04/07/office_maxs_elf_yourself/. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  28. ^ "ad:tech 2008 award winners". ad:tech. http://www.ad-tech.com/awards/win_2008.asp. Retrieved May 31, 2012.

External links