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Idea spotting

Published on .

The deal: OfficeMax, an aggressive new player in the digital space, launched 20 websites in December aimed at cubicle jockeys with time on their hands around the holidays. Users could play games such as reindeer arm-wrestling, virtual ice sculpting and "Don't Shoot Your Eye Out," or roast a turkey in real time.

The result: One site, ElfYourself.com, where people pasted their mug shots on a singing and dancing pixie, became a breakout hit, with 11 million elves created and e-mailed around the world. The site was splashed across "Good Morning America," CNN, ESPN and national print pubs, and more than 100 user-generated videos were posted on YouTube. Elf Yourself generated 79,000 MySpace hits and 2 million Google queries, all in about five weeks. Consumers spent 300 million minutes on all 20 sites, which pulled in $2.5 million in media exposure.
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