Online elf craze is back, with added social networking goodness

LONDON - US retailer OfficeMax is reviving its much-loved Elf Yourself Christmas viral marketing game, this time with added social networking functions letting users share their creations on Twitter and Facebook.

Elf yourself (or your dog) is back
Elf yourself (or your dog) is back

The campaign, created by JibJab Media, first ran in 2006 and has become a huge hit each Christmas since.

The site lets users upload photos of up to five of their friends and family, sticking them on the body of one of Santa's elves and then making them do a silly dance. While the idea has been widely used in other applications, OfficeMax's version has become an internet phenomenon. In 2007, over a six week period, the site received more than 193 million visits.

Last year it was somewhat less trafficked as it required people to register an account. But this year it lets users click through to their Facebook photo albums to choose photos, and allows the resulting video to be shared via their Facebook wall, on Twitter or by emailing it.

There is also an option to have the elf images put on a variety of gift items such as mugs and keyrings.

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