Last Christmas, Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey ran a highly successful Christmas digital marketing campaign on Facebook, called “Elf at the Zoo”. It played off the popular Elf on the Shelf phenomenon.
Here’s how it worked:
- Each day Dec 1 – 24, the Elf on the Shelf appeared in different behind-the-scenes locations (usually with animals) in photos on the Facebook page.
- They posts appeared each morning at 6am — early enough so that moms and dads who were just getting up might have a reminder to move their own elves before little ones awoke.
- Parents enjoyed showing the posts to their children. Each photo had a fun, Christmasy headline that went with it. They were made into memes that were highly shareable.
- They sent a press release to the media.Here’s an example of the playful nature of this campaign:
In the above photo, the Elf (Clarence – whom the Facebook audience named as another way the zoo engaged with their Facebook audience) is on the head of our Draft Horse, Dante, grabbing his ear. The headline “Oh what fun it is to ride!” is instantly recognizable, but now with a new meaning for the zoo. It’s also an instant smile-maker.
Since it was Winter there weren’t as many people visiting the zoo in person, but they could still visit online on the zoo’s Facebook page.
“The main goal of this was to connect with our fans at a time when they are not usually visiting the zoo. Many of our fans already have an “Elf on the Shelf” in their homes, so this added that recognition point. Plus, having the zookeepers all take photos of the elf was energizing from an internal morale-building perspective.”
This Christmas campaign sprinkled magic on the staff and on their Facebook fans. It also really engaged the fans: 38,040 users were engaged over 24 days! It also got attention from local bloggers, which was one of their goals.
In addition to being an award-winning campaign, and more importantly, Elf at the Zoo captured people’s hearts. The elf was photographed with so many different animals, that everyone was really able to see a glimpse of their favorites. Fans were tuning in every day, commenting, liking, and sharing our posts.
What more can you ask for from a Facebook campaign? Hope this inspires yours this year!
What I liked besides the heart behind this campaign, is that it was a series. People came back day after day, and it built suspense that increased engagement over the entire campaign.
If you have a Christmas marketing campaigns to share with me, I’d love to feature it. Please contact me or leave a comment!