Back for a fifth year, OfficeMax's 'Elf Yourself' still get the laughs

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Nov 10 2010


It's been a busy day. I've been catching waves, pop-and-lockin' and spinning on my head like America's Best Dance Crew. Man, am I exhausted. Not really, it's just that Elf Yourself is here again, and I never can resist. Who can? According to OfficeMax stats, there are 378 million people in 50 countries just like me who can't get enough of plastering our photos on elves and watching them dance. (New this year: surf dance and '80s remix!) Because this isn't just about goodwill, the marketer will sell you a video of your rump-shaking alter ego, along with "gift items" like mouse pads, coffee mugs and puzzles. (Seriously, only Mom wants a present like this.) There's a game-filled Facebook page called Elfmas Town, where you can get swag and discounts. And just to stay top-of-mind during the holidays, OfficeMax will send 100 elves to the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 23 to ring the closing bell and stock a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float (dubbed "Elves Raise the Roof"). The viral blockbuster/marketing campaign is five years old now, but with little refreshers and add-ons, it seems as fresh as ever. Or maybe I'm just easily amused by a computer-generated version of me doing the worm. At least I'm not alone.

OfficeMax's 'Elf Yourself' is back, and more souped up than ever

Posted on Wed Nov 11 2009


Tis the season to be jolly ... really jolly! That's because the OfficeMax elves are back, and they're more social-media savvy than ever, according to the retailer., the famed site powered by JibJab Media that allows you to morph yourself and others into dancing elves, has been integrated with popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and others for this holiday season. I tried using the new capabilities and was able to pull a picture directly from Facebook to paste it on my elf. Once I found the perfect dance—a groovy disco tune (there are two new options: Hip Hop Elves and Singing Elves)—I was presented with this groovy video. I was then given the choice of uploading the creation to my Facebook wall or sharing it via Twitter. I thought purchasing greeting cards and mugs with my elf on them would be a little much, but you can do that also. OfficeMax says it wants to spread a little joy in a recession. And why not? Download the video for $4.99 and burn a CD for Mom and Dad. It's a gift that keeps on giving.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

OfficeMax won't hate you if you pay for everything with pennies

Posted on Wed Aug 5 2009

OfficeMax takes the phrase "penny pinchers" literally in a new online back-to-school push. The retailer tapped improv actor Matt McCarthy for a bunch YouTube videos that show various "Penny Pranks," in which McCarthy tries to use pennies to pay sellers for their products. In this video, he plays a billionaire who tries to buy an expensive 1960s Gibson guitar for a boy who appears to be his son. The kilt-wearing Scotsman takes the guitar dealer to a vault filled with pennies, at which point the dealer backs out because he wants "larger bills." The campaign is meant to promote the back-to-school program at OfficeMax, which includes some items that are selling for just a penny. The message at the end of each video is the same: OfficeMax will take your pennies even if no one else will. The videos are quite memorable and get the point across, not to mention the comic relief they offer as unsuspecting people get pranked.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

No crows, pigeons or seagulls were hurt in the making of this ad

Posted on Wed Jan 21 2009


Advertisers have gotten jiggy with the billboard canvas in recent years. Some ads have been known to explode; others have used unorthodox materials like pennies to grab attention. This billboard for OfficeMax, now rolling out in Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Denver, promoting a new line of Peter Walsh products, manages to get the idea across without going to extremes. Best of all, the birds are all fakes, so no PETA headaches.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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