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Retailers Enlist E-cards to Cut Through Crowded Inboxes

In an attempt to make their messages stand out in increasingly cluttered online mailboxes this holiday season, a number of retailers are using digital greeting cards to entice customers into their stores.

Dancing with Elves

OfficeMax is continuing its popular campaign for the third year. By uploading photos to the platform, consumers can create free, personalized holiday eCards of themselves - or whoever is in the photo - as dancing elves.

Office Max first offered in 2006 with such choices as "Disco Elves", "Country Elves" and "Elf Classic." This year the platform also offers "Hip Hop Elves" and "Singing Elves" that perform a medley of holiday music.

New this year: A social media component in which users are able to access their photos using Facebook Connect, as well as being able to post them to friends' walls.

Intel's Singing Offer

In a similar move, Intel has kicked off its  "Make Your Holidays Sing" campaign, which lets users create a personalized digital e-card as and view Intel products. Here too, users can upload their photos and pick from music selections. The eCard creation depicts the photo singing along with the music.

Successful Strategy

This niche technique has proven to be very popular with online consumers - received 36 million views in 2006 and 193 million views in 2007. Those numbers dropped substantially last year, however, when the site introduced a registration requirement. The registration step was eliminated this year and, as a result, Office Max is predicting wave of blockbuster views.

Seasonal Boost

In general, e-cards are proving popular with consumers this year, especially as budgets remain tight. comScore data recently revealed that the category received a seasonal boost in traffic in October, thanks to Halloween, Boss's Day and Sweetest Day, writes MarketingCharts. The sector attracted 21.9 million Americans - a 15% increase from September - making e-cards the top-gaining category for the month. Top performers in the category were,, AG Interactive and


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