- Office Depot's "Elf Yourself" app, which originally debuted in 2006, features new scenes and augmented reality (AR) capabilities that let users overlay virtual dancing elves onto any background of the real world through a smartphone camera, according to a press release.
- Users can turn their creations into a custom holiday card and order through the mobile app, website or in stores. They can also share their greetings on social media through the hashtag #ElfYourself.
- Since the tool rolled out 11 years ago, 1.5 billion elves have been created. To create an Elf Yourself video, app users can upload five photos from their camera roll, Facebook or taken within the app and select a theme, and the app automatically generates a sharable video of dancing elves with the faces of users' selected friends and family.
Office Depot appears to be going for a greater level of personalization and creativity this year with its expanded Elf Yourself backgrounds and AR capabilities.
Apps that superimpose animated images over actual photos have been adopted by many brands from Bud Light to Vogue. The ongoing development of AR tech helps make the results more advanced, fun and immersive. Given the eleven-year track record of the the Elf Yourself app, people clearly enjoy creating and sharing videos of dancing elves, and adding AR capabilities might be a way for Office Depot to keep the yearly promotion fresh.
Marketers are still working to understand how AR and virtual reality technology fits into an overall content strategy, but sometimes the simplest and most obvious applications of the tech can be a winning tactic. What's likely made Elf Yourself a successful holiday effort year after year is its goofy and shareable videos. The feature encourages the app's audience to create user-generated content and then share that branded content with friends and family through the social media hashtag and easy share buttons.