Confessions of an ElfYourself Addict

Ever since commanding Burger King’s Subservient Chicken to “riverdance” — and then watching the bird go all Flatley around its low-rent apartment — I’ve been enamored of this kind of viral brand marketing (pioneered by Miami’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky). I don’t care if we’re talking about Livesearch’s flirty Ms. Dewey or Volkswagon’s “____ like a Rabbit” banner ads, just as long as long as I can plug in a term like “multiply” and watch compact German cars procreating, I’m a very happy boy.

However, I must confess, the newest entry into the list of buzzed about microsites, ElfYourself.com (brought to you by the good folks at OfficeMax), may have proven too fun for my own good. In case you haven’t visited it yet, the site allows you to cut and paste a head from one of your photos onto a dancing elf. Sounds dopey, I know, but take a look at my mom’s Elfamorphosis and tell me that’s not friggin hilarious.

So, getting back to the downside: After testing the site out with my mom’s noggin on Friday, I got extremely carried away. I elfed just about everyone I know — or at least, everyone whose picture I had on my work computer. After giggling at baby Austin’s dancing elf, I made a dancing cousin Jay elf, then a Winifred elf, then a brother-in-law Rui elf. Then I set about emailing all of them the links. Only problem: every new picture overwrote the last one. I got a kick out of all of them in the test screen, but all of the links I sent pointed to an identical location. so all any of these people saw when they clicked on the link was an inexplicable animation of Alex Bradley’s elf dancing — the last of my creations.

Thus ensued a flurry of re-elfing, clearing my cookies diligently with each second attempt. Eventually, after two or three “lemme try that again” emails, everyone got the elf head that was originally intended for them. Though at my wife’s request, I’m need to go cold turkey with ElfYourself and stop sending these bizarre, random emails.

It’ll be hard to quit, but maybe I’ll dull the pain by moving on to OfficeMax’s 20 other holiday microsites, including: