Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Greetings Provide Fun, Laughter And Free Advertising At The Same Time!

I feel bad for our parents. Because not only did they grow up in a world without cell phones, plasma screens and Nintendo Wii, but they also grew up in a world without an internet. So they never got to experience online crushes, stalking people on MySpace or Googling ex-lovers. They never had to say “thanks for the add” or “why did you block me?” They never wrestled over whether to update their profile status to “In A Relationship” and they never emailed their favorite music bloggers to thank them for a great mp3. But perhaps the saddest thing of all… they never experienced the joy of taking a picture, putting it on the head of an elf and then watching it dance around giving laughs to everyone they know. Bummer.

The internet has given us the good and the bad. The fun and the dangerous. And now, instead of the traditional greeting card that takes time to write, put on the address and postage, go to the post office and wait in line to mail, we can do it all in a couple of clicks. And for the past couple of years, the people at Office Max, have been providing a fun way to do it. Their "Elf Yourself" website is essentially a holiday advertising campaign for Office Max.

It doesn't take much to do it. Go to the website, upload a photo, tweak the size and position and hit the 'Preview' button to see it. Then you can e-mail a link to all your friends and spead the joy (and free advertising for Office Max). When these things catch fire, they work. Compare the cost of doing one of these flash based interactions versus the cost of a 30 second TV commercial. And then compare the cost of buying enough media to reach 75 million viewers vs putting up a viral website. Elf Yourself is one of the top 100 Internet properties this month in traffic. That is pretty amazing. It's fun, and it's free.

I went to a party a couple of weeks ago and people were talking about it. I showed them my "Elfed" family flash show (view it here) and then the "viral" part of it went crazy. Everybody wanted to do one and the little kids that were at the party could not stop laughing (and screaming) at all of the different ones we created. Yes, I've seen tons of them this year but the laughter and joy that it brings is what Christmas spirit is all about, On the other hand, if you're one of thise grumpy Scrooge type people, then Office Max's Scrooge Yourself is for you. (Again, click here to view mine.)

But this type of marketing isn't just for the holidays. A website called allows users to combine their picture with custom made Magazine covers in the likeness of popular Magazines. is an affiliate marketing effort that works to distribute and market subscriptions to each of the magazines displayed on MMP while providing a fun and entertaining way for users to display their picture. Within each distribution, the direct link to purchase each magazine is made available, allowing users across the globe to subscribe to these featured magazines with ease as an ever increasing and wider developing network of magazine subscribers builds. How's that for creative marketing???

Expect to see more of this kind of advertising in the future. I'm sure next year there will be hundreds of them. But you know what? That's what the internet is supposed to And heck, if I can put a mile on somebody's face for just a second, then the world can be a bit happier place. And it didn't cost me a penny. Try them out for yourselves and enjoy the holiday's people! Merry Christmas from Discover Insanity!