Elf Yourself

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Elf Yourself
Elf yourself early logo (pictured during JibJab's authorship)
Type of site
Available inEnglish
OwnerOffice Depot
Created by
  • Evolution Bureau (2006-2007)
  • "Toy. (2006-2007)
  • JibJab (2008-2011)
  • Oddcast (2012-present)
  • JibJab (2009-2011)
  • Oddcast (2011-present)
URLElf Yourself website
LaunchedDecember 2006; 17 years ago (2006-12)[1]
Current statusHoliday season only
Content license
free for users

Elf Yourself is an American interactive website where visitors upload faces of themselves or their friends and have the option to post the created video to other sites or save it as a personalized mini-film.[2][3][4] Globally, over two billion elves have been created since the application was first introduced in 2006.[5] The video and website were created by Evolution Bureau (EVB), in collaboration with New York company "Toy." for Office Max's holiday season advertising campaign.[6][7][8]

The Elf Yourself website and advertising campaign first launched for the Christmas holiday season in early December 12, 2006,[7] and has returned each subsequent season. After being contracted by OfficeMax to create multiple websites for their holiday campaign, "Toy."[9] contracted with Evolution Bureau to create a suitable holiday-themed website and application.[7][8][10] Evolution Bureau then developed the Elf Yourself application for use with the OfficeMax holiday marketing campaign. The original release featured only one elf,[7] portrayed by Danielle Bárcena, and received 200 hits a second.[9] In later releases, additional elves were added to the application and viewers could upload different images for each elf.[7] Still later, social media applications were added,[11] included those allowing viewers to save and/or download the films they had created through visiting the website.[2][4] In 2008, OfficeMax partnered with JibJab and added a registration requirement in order to use the site. Traffic dropped to 56 million.[2] JibJab worked to "enhance the performance and distribution of the videos."[2][4]

In 2009, the campaign being run by JibJab, the registration requirement was dropped, and social elements were added.[11] Also in 2009, to further promote the Elf Yourself website, OfficeMax contracted with Tribal DDB and Grand Central Marketing to create a flash mob of 400 dancers dressed in Elf Yourself costumes.[12][13]


Brand Republic reported on the insertion of personal images, stating "while the idea has been widely used in other applications, OfficeMax's version has become an internet phenomenon."[11] Adweek reported "Elf Yourself has hit the bull's-eye of viral success: It has seeped into pop culture. Broadcasters at several local stations, The Today Show and Good Morning America created their own dancing holiday greeting for viewers."[14] In Social Media Judo, it was pointed out that while OfficeMax hoped Elf Yourself would "warm up"[15] its corporate image, "the overwhelming majority of customers who saw Office Max's popular marketing campaign gave credit to the company's top competitors."[15] In addressing the creation of the 20 microsites created for OfficeMax, Adland called Elf Yourself "a strange, corny, yet enormously successful website."[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 2007, won Retail Advertising and Marketing Association RACies Award for 'Interactive Online Campaign'[16]
  • 2008, won three Ad:Tech Awards: 'Best Word of Mouth Marketing Campaign', 'Best User Defined Experience', and 'Best of Show'.[8][17][18]
  • 2008, won SXSW Interactive 'Award for Web Amusement'.[8]
  • 2008, won Retail Advertising and Marketing Association RACies Award for 'Interactive Online Campaign'[16]


  1. ^ "Elf Yourself page snapshot". Wayback Machine. December 5, 2006. Archived from the original on 1 December 2006. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Quenqua, Douglas (November 19, 2009). "OfficeMax Adds Social Element to Elf Yourself 2009". ClickZ. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Othmer, James P. (2009). Adland. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 243–250. ISBN 978-0385524964.
  4. ^ a b c Burns, Enid (November 19, 2008). "Elves and Mistletoe Put Viral Campaigns in the Holiday Spirit". ClickZ. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  5. ^ With more than 480 million users in 215 countries, and has been downloaded over 65 million times since transitioning from an online platform to smartphone app in 2012. See:Business Wire. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151104005115/en/Office-Depot-Elf-Yourself%C2%AE-App-Creates-Billion
  6. ^ Aditham, Kiran (August 26, 2008). "Jason Zada Leaves EVB". Creativity Magazine. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e Nelson, Matthew G. (November 26, 2007). "Dancing Elf Video Site Back for a Second Year". ClickZ. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d Parpis, Eleftheria (May 8, 2008). "Jason Zada Profile". Adweek. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Colleen Long Associated Press (December 15, 2008). "Elf yourself with holiday eCards". Virginian-Pilot. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  10. ^ Morrissey, Brian (June 30, 2008). "Shops Strive for a New Formula". Adweek. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c Whitehead, Jennifer (November 10, 2009). "Online elf craze is back, with added social networking goodness". Brand Republic. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  12. ^ "OfficeMax "Elf Yourself" PR and Viral Video". 2011-04-05. Archived from the original on 2011-04-05. Retrieved 2018-12-02.
  13. ^ "OfficeMax "Elf Yourself" PR and Viral Video". 2012-04-09. Archived from the original on 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2018-12-02.
  14. ^ Morrissey, Brian (January 7, 2008). "The Rules of Viral Web Success, at Least for Now". Adweek. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  15. ^ a b Chris Aarons; Geoff Nelson; Nick White (2011). Social Media Judo. Dog Ear Publishing. pp. 146–156. ISBN 978-1608448852.
  16. ^ a b "Awards and Recognition, 2007-2012". OfficeMax. Archived from the original on June 15, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  17. ^ Beck, Cam (April 7, 2008). "Office Max's Elf Yourself: ad:tech People's Choice Awards Finalist". Madison Avenue Journal. Archived from the original on October 31, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  18. ^ "ad:tech 2008 award winners". ad:tech. Archived from the original on June 5, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.

External links[edit]