Office Max Does it Again (and not in a good way)


For many years now the “Elf Yourself” web application has been the perfect example of the least successful,  “Successful Viral Campaign”. (Huh??) Millions of people have uploaded their photos and created short music videos of themselves as dancing elves to send to friends and family… but if you asked most of them, “Which big-brand company created it?”  they wouldn’t be able to answer you.

The headline above is a huge giveaway, but I’ll bet you didn’t know it was Office Max, did you?

The fact that the marketing team didn’t inexorably link their brand with the viral phenomenon was a huge missed opportunity. And since then it’s been the poster child for what not to do when developing viral campaigns – despite its high pass-along rate.

Why is this news now? This morning I’m watching the world famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. (Happy Thanksgiving!!) In between the Jessica Simpson and the Smurfs was a colorful float crawling with Elf-Yourself Elves. It stopped in the feature area in front of Macy’s, and the Elves began their fun, happy dance. Matt Lauer described how to Elf Yourself, and for about 90 seconds the nation was focused on them.

But where was the Office Max logo? It was tucked at the bottom of the float, a decent size, but almost completely covered by the 50 smiling, dancing velour-clad elves!!

What were you thinking!?!?!?

By all means, entertain. And I’m sure that the event organizers have limitations on the size and location of logos. But even a mention in the voice over would have helped…. or choreograph the routine so that there’s a fleeting glimpse of the brand.

Sorry, Office Max… you missed out. (AGAIN!)

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