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Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ has brought in a little visitor to provide big engagement with its Facebook fans: Elf on the Shelf. Tapping into the country’s quick embracing of the Elf as a new holiday tradition – the Elf is in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and has its own Christmas special – Turtle Back Zoo is combining the popularity of Santa’s little helper with that of their own animal residents. Each day from December 1 – 24, a Facebook photo shows the Elf in a new Zoo location: with an animal, in an exhibit, or at a popular area on the grounds. For maximum authenticity and back stage access, the photos are all being taken by zookeepers. Clever headlines adorn the graphics, tying into the season, animal references and pop culture. The result: the campaign is on track to set the page’s highest monthly engagement.

The Elf at the Zoo photos serve dual purposes: to entertain parents and the children to whom they will show the photos, as well as a subtle 6am reminder to moms and dads to move their own elf to a new location if they have not already done so that day. Many parents check their Facebook early – before the household wakes up – and comments on the page already indicate that this “elf alarm” is working.

The elf is as yet unnamed, but no worries: the Zoo has asked its fans to provide suggestions, and we’re sure the little guy will have a name before the big guy comes down the chimney. Why are we sure? Because our agency (The S3 Agency) created the campaign. Happy holidays!

~ @AdvertGirl 

P.S. Here’s my favorite graphic, which plays off the name of the insanely-popular-among-small-kids-like-my-own video / song “What does the fox say”:


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