Elf Yourself Invasion
Agency: Grand Central Marketing, Inc.
OfficeMax sought to establish itself as a holiday shopping destination and expand its holiday sales. In addition, the office supply and digital retailer, etailer and cataloger wanted to eliminate confusion it suffered against a similar chief competitor. The brand chose humor to emphasize its strengths in a fun way.
Grand Central Marketing promoted the ElfYourself.com website, then was charged with building traffic and buzz for the site in three weeks, all within a $200,000 budget. They used an “invasion” of dancing elves to help spread the word and generate buzz.
On the day of the invasion, hundreds of New Yorkers were entertained as dancing elves streamed into Union Square park from subway stations, nearby buildings and vehicles. The performance began with a small group of breakdancing elves rolling out a checkered linoleum floor, while re-mixed holiday music blared through the park. More elves joined in, transitioning from breakdance to hip-hop, rock, waltz, disco, country and pop. At the end of the routine, the elves dispersed, but not before distributing elf hats with elfyourself.com hang tags.
Cameramen disguised as elves hung from cherry pickers and on top of nearby buildings to capture footage from every angle. An additional day of filming provided back story footage of elf arrivals throughout New York City as they did normal, everyday activities like getting a shoeshine or shopping on 5th Avenue.
The film footage, which was used in three viral videos of the invasion, breakdance battle and main dance routine, generated more than 500,000 views. Consumers who experienced the event also posted their own videos online through social media sites. More than 150 million media impressions were generated; website visits increased 500%, with unique visitors up 600%. Overall, Elfyourself.com received more than 18 million unique visitors.