In our last post, I believe we established without a doubt that Elf Yourself was the most successful viral campaign in history, if one only takes into account reach. I’ve done a bit of additional research, and turned up a few more interesting facts. For instance, nearly 1 in 10 Americans visited the site. In addition to the mention on Good Morning America, the campaign was featured on CNN American Morning, ABC World News, The Today Show, TNT Sportscast, Fox News, TBS, as well as many local news and entertainment programs, all generating millions more positive impressions. That’s pretty remarkable for an online campaign that probably cost in total significantly less than most TV spots cost to MAKE, let alone run.
Still, there are some people who are not huge fans of the Elf Yourself campaign. They say that it wasn’t strongly tied to the brand (this is true) could have been done for virtually any brand (true again) and probably had little effect on sales. This blog entry and the subsequent comments make good points.
As far as immediately having an effect on sales, here is what Bob Thacker, VP-Marketing and Advertising at Office Max, had to say about the goal of the campaign. “We were looking to build the brand, warm up our image. We weren’t looking for sales. We are third-place players in our industry, so we are trying to differentiate ourselves through humor and humanization.” If that was indeed the goal of Elf Yourself, then here is one significant fact that says it was a success. In the month of December, six of the twenty most common search terms included the words “Office Max”. That would indicate that the branding of the campaign came through loud and clear, and that people were actually seeking out the marketing message.