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Thank you for your indulgence about the two crazy Christmas cards that filled in as posts the past couple of days. I promised you I’d explain why people love these ElfYourself videos.  Answer: they make your right brain go crazy.

When I was a high school student, I used to write and perform songs that substituted for classroom presentations. I continued this in university, and even at Nokia.  I always made the songs relevant to the small group I was presenting to, usually poking fun at the subject (which everyone listening was usually familiar with – due to the fact we were covering it in class), or poking fun at a teacher / professor / boss or another student.

My audiences were always impressed. The reason usually expressed was my “musical talent.” However I know the extent of my musical talent — I’m an average, mistake-prone pianist and an average singer, with an ear for a catchy melody and a knack for rhyming. So I always knew “musical talent” was not the reason they enjoyed my various silly songs.

The reason they loved it was the songs were about my audience and the things they were experiencing. I sang about people they knew and common experience, and the layering of those very personal word, thought and emotion combinations into songs created a multiple reaction in my audience members’ respective right brains.  That OVER-reaction causes an endorphin rush that makes people feel happy.

The same thing happens with ElfYourself. It’s not just a crazy dance or a crazy song spread virally like the anonymous Allie McBeal dancing baby of yesteryear. It’s a crazy song/dance starring people you know, showing talents you never expected. The closer the friend or family member starring in the ElfYourself video, the stronger the reaction in the brain.  Do your own ElfYourself video / card with yourselves and your kids and watch your parents-in-law coo in delight.

Viral marketers take note: when creating a “viral” campaign, it’s not enough to go ahead with whatever “cool” application your web agency thinks is the flavour of the month. Give them the right brain challenge! Get them to explain to you why your consumers will like love the web thing your brand is doing, by listing the different right brain functions they’re tapping into. It might make them think too.


uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies


uses feeling
“big picture” oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

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