I got an email this week from the makers of a little app called Elf Yourself. You've seen it, I'm sure – it comes around every Christmas courtesy of OfficeMax, and it allows users to insert themselves into a personalized seasonal video. According to Oddcast, the app's technology provider, the numbers from the most recent Christmas season are in. Over 200 million ElfYourself videos were created by upwards of 80 million individuals.
Brands often create entertaining digital content to engage and connect with fans. It's a smart way to get consumers to spend more time interacting with a product, service, movie, and especially a TV show. For us, it represents a fun distraction to share with a friend, and lets us display our allegiance to a favorite series. Two such projects are currently making the rounds. Give them a try and see which you like best.
Mad Men Yourself
AMC's Mad Men Yourself is a riff on the ElfYourself idea: you create a character in your likeness and insert it into the Mad Men environment. Users can select skin and hair color, clothing, even accoutrement like martini glasses and rolled-up newspapers to make their character unique. The final product can become your desktop wallpaper, Twitter or Facebook profile pic, or an avatar for use however you see fit. The best part of the experience might be the opportunity to see yourself standing next to an animated Don Draper.
Your Portrait by da Vinci
Over on the STARZ network site fans of the historical fiction series Da Vinci's Demons, the second season of which debuted last month, can transform a headshot into a Leonardo da Vinci-style line drawing. Your Portrait by da Vinci (http://www.starz.com/originals/davincisdemons) just requires you to upload a photo of your face, either from Facebook or your computer. The app does the rest. Watch as a hand begins to sketch what in a manner of seconds becomes a picture of you. Again, the resulting photo can be used as your social media profile pic, or shared through Facebook and Twitter.
If these shows aren't your cup of tea, consider the Breaking Bad Name Lab, or The Walking Dead's Dead Yourself (but not if you have a weak stomach). I'm betting the popularity of these branded apps will result in many more alternatives come the fall TV season.
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