- Office Depot debuted the first holiday-themed campaign on Facebook to use the social network's augmented reality (AR) ads that overlay digital images on a real background seen through a smartphone camera. The Elf Yourself Facebook AR filter lets users transform themselves and friends into elves with interactive features in an update to the chain's annual holiday push, according to an announcement.
- Shoppers who click on the ad to use the AR effect get a coupon offer for 25% off one regularly priced item. Users can reach the Elf Yourself effect by opening the Facebook app and going to the Office Depot page. The AR features work with a phone's front and rear facing cameras.
- The Elf Yourself AR features this year include two trendy dance moves, "the floss" and "orange justice," along with virtual snowball fights that can be recorded and shared with Facebook friends. This is the first time that Elf Yourself has been available on Facebook.
Office Depot's "Elf Yourself" campaign enters its 13th year with even more features, including the first holiday-themed AR ads on Facebook, that likely will expand its reach to an even bigger audience. Before merging with Office Depot, OfficeMax started the campaign as a website in 2006 that let people upload pictures of themselves and transform them into one of Santa's helpers. The website became a viral hit as people shared elf pictures with each other online. The ElfYourself.com website now shows that more than 1.6 billion elves have been created.
Office Depot introduced AR effects for Elf Yourself last year in its app but the AR market has evolved significantly in the past year, meaning more consumers are aware of the tech and more options exist for brands to take advantage of it. AR's influence could be seen in stores, in ads and for shopping this holiday season, offering a glimpse at how marketers' initial efforts are likely to progress to the next stage.
In one recent example, GOAT, the secondary marketplace for authenticated shoes, said it will add an AR experience to its annual Black Friday raffle. Participants will be able to earn extra raffle tickets by visiting more than 125 points of interest that are significant to sneaker culture and app users will receive notifications when they're near a featured point and can then activate and share the AR objects on social media to redeem the bonus drawing entries.
Office Depot has struggled with declining store sales as the chain's 1,400 locations face greater competition from e-commerce rivals like Amazon. Office Depot's retail sales fell 6% in Q3 2018 from a year earlier, but revenue rose 10% on the strength of the chain's Business Services Division, which provides personalized support for companies that seek advice on business strategy, marketing and staffing, Digiday reported. Office Depot in August started testing a co-working space in its Los Gatos, California, store as part of an expansion of its "Workonomy" business platform, Mobile Marketer's sister publication Retail Dive reported.