When I first told someone a while ago, “Go elf yourself,” that person was quite taken aback, and perhaps even a bit offended. However, nowadays, the phrase is more common than not and often brings a smile.
“Since ElfYourself from OfficeMax debuted in 2006, people in all 196 countries across the seven continents have used the popular holiday website to create more than 470 million customized videos.”
This year, the phenomenon has evolved into mobile and live versions, enabling users to share holiday cheer on the go and in real time, with a global audience.
Now, even Mom is Santa’s little helper. Isn’t this the same person who made you begrudgingly handwrite thank you notes after every birthday or holiday because emails were too impersonal?
Today, our relationship with technology, aided by brands, has changed dramatically. No longer do we live in a world where getting something personalized for the holidays means a monogrammed handkerchief.
Machines were seen as cold, unfeeling. Now, they are helping many of us build and maintain our relationships. Printed cards featuring classic family photos and yearly recap letters are becoming a thing of the past. Rather, we are presented with digital opportunities for customizable experiences that enable us to connect more personally with friends and family from anywhere.
People are using technology to personalize their holidays. Brands have an opportunity to become part of these experiences.
Take a look at Stella Artois and its classy Holiday Carole Facebook app. The beer brand can send Carole the caroler to any doorstep of your choice, virtually that is. The app pays such close attention to the detail. Ms. Carole checks the weather report for the town of choice, hands her driver a note with the address written in lipstick, and delivers a personalized message. The app uses top-notch technology from Google Maps and Street View as well as geocoding APIs to make it seem as though Carole is really there, at the door, clad in fur and surrounded by snowflakes. Whether playing around on your own or sending a greeting to a friend, the app makes users feel special. Stella has found a way to connect with consumers in a fun and festive way that stays true to the brand.
Piggybacking on the popularity of Elf Yourself, Amazon has partnered with Jib Jab to create video gift cards. These creations allow for a fun way to send a usually banal, paper present. Additionally, the videos are shareable through a variety of social media, so each gift also acts as an advertisement.
Uniqlo is giving everyone a “GIF box” to make a simple discount promotion engaging. By partnering with GIF artists, Uniqlo is creating something unique and memorable that will be associated with the brand. By offering an incentive, the company is promoting loyalty. By asking users to share their GIFs through Facebook and Twitter, Uniqlo spreading some branded holiday spirit.
Adidas takes a different approach. Featuring Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg), the Adidas Facebook app uses profile data to put together a personalized video with photos, friends and events, framing users as “Ebenezer Snoop.” Users can “Un-Scrooge” themselves by sharing the video, purchasing Adidas merchandise as gifts for friends or sending a special Facebook message to someone who has been “wronged,” such as in the case of a forgotten birthday. It is admittedly amusing, and a bit creepy, to be the star of such a movie, seeing personal moments and good friends on screen.
Marketers can reach consumers during the holidays without bombarding them. Brands can be relevant and part of the holiday experience. So try to make the nice list this year.
Tactics should contain all five of these elements:
*Easy to use
Give, and you shall receive. By following these guidelines, brands can be successful. In doing so, they are likely to be remembered for offering a positive interaction and a happy memory.
Rachel Darivoff is an account executive at gyro New York
Follow her @rmdee