Elfyourself: did the elves lose their magic

Christmas is just around the corner now. Exactly 1 month to go to be exact … Which means that it’s time to get all your savings and start a major shopping spree to find the perfect gifts for your relatives (yes those you would rather keep because they are great) and you end up with another lousy scarf or a tie (while you never wear them) they found for you and you are obliged to look surprised and be happy with it … (This doesn’t happen for me because my relatives always come up with the perfect gifts, but I heard and read about it!)

But it’s also time to find some Christmas cards. Since everybody is online now (remember that your mum and little 12 year old niece asked you to be their friend on Facebook over the last 12 months), you can cut some stamp-budget to do some online cards and be the connected son / uncle by sending them an e-card.

The most know e-card is most certainly the Elfyourself card. They come back for the 4th year in a row with a very amusing e-card where you can stick your head on and send it to your friends.

What started as a very small viral campaign by OfficeMax in 2006 turned out to be a major hit on cyberspace. Here are some figures from ViralBlog.com:

  • Over 36 million site visits
  • Over 11 million elves were created (41,000 per hour at its peak)
  • Users spent a combined equivalent of 600 years on the site

They repeated the initiative in 2007 with an even bigger success:

  • More than 193 million site visits with 123 million elves created
  • Over 210 million elf dances were viewed
  • 60 elves were created per second
  • Users spent a combined 2,600 years on the site
  • Three awards wins, including the “Best Word of Mouth Marketing Campaign”, People’s Choice Award for “Best User Defined Experience” and “Best of Show”

In terms of ROI for the brand, the figures are quite amazing, I’m not sure how much the campaign cost them, but I don’t think any campaign has a better performance:

  • Featured on CNN American Morning, ABC World News Now, Good Morning America, TODAY Show, TNT Sports News, Fox News, NYT BITS Blog, Rosie Chat, & TBS The Daily Flog.
  • 63% of participants who shop for office supplies at least 10 times per year were aware of Elf Yourself.
  • More than one-third of those who visited Elf Yourself said the site influenced their decision to visit OfficeMax, and about one-third of visitors said the site improved their perception of OfficeMax.

In 2008, they got more organized and OfficeMax added some campaign objectives:

  • Deeper engagement
  • Greater brand association
  • Higher user-retention
  • Stronger social media presence

All this translated in some strong but decreasing figures compared to 2007:

  • Total elves created: 122 million
  • Total site visits: 55.5 million
  • Average number of ElfYourself movies created per user: 4.5 movies
  • Average time on site: 15 minutes
  • 14,080 blog posts about ElfYourself (Google Blog Search, 11/08 to 1/09)
  • ElfYourself widget was installed more than one million times

The social media figures were (not huge but encouraging):

  • 636,500 YouTube views of user-generated ElfYourself videos
  • 7,262 fans of ElfYourself on Facebook
  • 1,500 tweets about ElfYourself on Twitter
  • 683 photos of ElfYourself on Flickr
  • 75 Diggs for ElfYourself.com

They are now back and it all gets a bit too “organized” and “planned” in my opinion, they created a huge buzz around it by launching on the different platforms such as Youtube, facebook, Flickr and the inevitable Twitter. I feel that the magic is a bit over as the figures are quite disappointing if you ask me (figures on November 24th):

  • Youtube: 95 subscriptions, 7703 channel views, 135K views on the viral video
  • facebook: 324 fans on the page
  • Twitter: 417 followers, 1002 following

Having said that, they still are a reference and it still is very funny, watch mine here

Thanks ViralBlog.com

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