How Warner Bros., Krispy Kreme, and the Empire State Building Are Celebrating 'Elf' Anniversary
In the 20 years since its release, "Elf" has become a holiday classic. Heck, it's just a classic movie at this point. You can watch it year-round and it's still fun.
And yes, you read that first sentence correctly: "Elf" came out 20 years ago. Time flies, huh?
To celebrate the anniversary of one of our most beloved cinematic treasures, associated brands like Warner Bros. have introduced a host of branded products for the holiday season. After all, the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is promoting branded merchandise and promotional products widely enough for all to hear. That's what they say in the movie, right?
We here at PPM were first clued in on the product tie-in frenzy when we got a targeted ad on Instagram from Krispy Kreme, introducing a branded collection of donuts with "Elf"-inspired flavors, themed icing designs, chocolate pieces of Will Farrell in his costume on the donut itself, and branded boxes.
Got some of the Buddy the Elf donuts at Krispy Kreme for the holidays! 🎄 😋 🍩
-Buddy decorating (Santa! I know him!)
-Buddy makes breakfast 🍝 🍁
-Buddy snow globe ❄
-Santa's belly 🎅 filled with cookies and cream pic.twitter.com/3jrmdtLU0O
— Paulie Esther (@PaulieEsther1) December 3, 2023
The flavors include a "Buddy Makes Breakfast" style, modeled after Buddy's maple syrup-heavy diet; and a snowglobe-themed donut with white sprinkles.
“Our new ‘Elf’-inspired doughnuts honor memorable moments from the movie in the most delicious way possible and embody it’s fun and festive spirit,” said Dave Skena, global chief brand officer for Krispy Kreme, in a press release. “Smiling is Buddy the Elf’s ‘favorite,’ and ours, too. We know our fans are going to smile a lot when they spread holiday cheer to family and friends all season long with our ‘Elf’ Holiday Collection.”
It makes sense that Warner Bros., the actual production company behind the movie, would be the most committed to branded products here. The company's online store has a whole page dedicated to "Elf" anniversary pieces that are tailor-made for the holiday season. There's "Elf" wrapping paper, plenty of sweaters (both ugly and otherwise), a Buddy the Elf cardboard cutout standee, a "Clausometer" to measure Christmas Spirit like in the movie, sherpa blankets, costumes, figurines, board games, coffee mugs celebrating the "World's Best Cup of Coffee," and even a Christmas ornament meant to look like a retro VHS cassette case. After all, a few of us in 2003 were still clinging to VHS technology.
There have been a few experiential moments relating to the movie's anniversary, too. Warner Bros. even put together a screening at the Empire State Building (whose elevator Buddy rides with great happiness), and lit the building up in yellow and green to match his famous elf uniform.
Empire State Building Lights Up Green and Yellow in N.Y.C. for 'Elf's 20th Anniversary: Photos https://t.co/1bznh02Xhb
— People (@people) November 8, 2023
Celebrate Elf's 20th Anniversary at the Empire State Building. Step into Buddy the Elf's Winter Wonderland and explore new anniversary merchandise. #elf20th
— Empire State Building (@EmpireStateBldg) November 29, 2023
For a movie with as much cultural impact as "Elf," the anniversary is a huge opportunity for success or failure. If they didn't do enough, it would feel like a letdown. If they did a lot but the products and experiences fell flat, that would also disappoint a great many people. It's almost like the holiday season itself. The expectations are high, so it's critical to put in that extra effort.