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Plum TV and Elfing Yourself

Plum TV

So there's vanity publishing, and now there's vanity TV investing -- big, powerful execs paying to expand a series of TV networks that targets people JUST LIKE THEM.

Companies are always trying to figure out how to reach wealthy influencers -- those with the money to spend -- who can be so hard to find. So Plum TV isn't wasting any time with the masses, it's going straight for the toniest viewers by creating local stations for Aspen, Vail, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, the Hamptons, and Telluride.

And reaching out to rich folks has worked -- in more ways than the founders expected.

The chairman of EMI, Tom Freston (former Viacom CEO), the CEO's of Starwood, Kraft, a former AOL president, and of all people, Jimmy Buffet, are all teaming up to invest $20 million in the network to help it expand.

Part of the strategy of reaching "narrow and deep" -- the programming about local events -- is expecting to reach the filthy rich as they take a break from skiing or the beach.

Here's a little known tidbit, the founder and CEO Tom Scott -- who made his fortune with Nantucket Nectars -- is married to Emily Woods, the co-founder and former CEO of J.Crew, so that's where she made her money.

Next to launch -- Sun Valley Idaho and Miami Beach.

Elf Mania

If people can TiVo through commercials and are too smart to click on internet ads, the best way to spread your brand is to give people what they want! It has nothing to do with a commercial, and everything to do about entertainment.

So go ELF yourself! OfficeMax is investing in entertainment, rather than advertisements. The office supply company is launching 20 entertaining holiday websites, many of which have absolutely ZERO connection to the company and its products.

ElfYourself.com has become a pop culture phenomenon with an average of ten people per second "elfing" themselves or others: putting their picture in the head of a dancing Will Farrel-esque elf. You can upload a photo and record a message through a toll free number. It's funny, it's creepy, and it's brought attention to OfficeMax despite how random it is.

The company that developed the site for OfficeMax, 'Toy' says its the most successful e-card they've ever made (I can't think of one that was sent to me more times). All in all, this random entertainment approach has worked for OfficeMax -- the 20 sites getting more than 70 million visitor minutes since their Dec 4 launch.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.