Thursday, December 1, 2011

Frank the Walmart Holiday Fruitcake

By Kate Korson

The countdown begins today. December 1st means 25 days until Christmas. The “holiday season” is officially in full swing and so are online holiday advertising campaigns. One of the most successful online holiday campaigns is Office Max’s Elf Yourself. If you are not familiar with Elf Yourself, it is a website  where anyone can upload photos of loved ones to create an interactive music video of family/friends dancing in the form of elves. Within the past six years, Elf Yourself has become an online holiday staple. Each year, I know at least one Elf Yourself is coming from friends or family. Here is an example from YouTube:

This year, Walmart is attempting to compete with Elf Yourself in the form of a fruitcake, named Frank. He lives on a website and encourages visitors to share him on Facebook. Frank symbolizes the typical unwanted gift and occasionally cites Walmart as a place where you can purchase a variety of gifts everyone will enjoy.

For the most part, Frank just annoyingly rambles about obscure holiday topics. Viewers can’t customize Frank, he just talks…and talks. It will be interesting to see if he actually gains popularity among social media users this holiday season. The fact that Frank can’t be altered decreases his chance of success. Elf Yourself broke boundaries in the viral world and opened doors to other customizable campaigns, not limited to the holidays.

So far, it seems that Frank is off to a slow start. After conducting a little research, I discovered that Frank only has about 260 fans and 30 active monthly users on Facebook (which means only 30 people actually use the “Frank the Fruitcake” application). Users are also complaining on Frank’s Facebook wall, claiming that he does not function properly. Clearly Walmart has a few bugs to work out but we all know that viral campaigns can travel fast, especially around the holidays. So Walmart, 25 days and counting.

Kate Korson is an Associate Account Executive at Maroon PR.  Contact her at

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