Summer Sloths Get Schooled in New Office Depot Campaign

Retailer Extends Back-to-School Campaign by One Week This Year

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Office Depot unveils back-to-school campaign.
Office Depot unveils back-to-school campaign. Credit: Office Depot
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Worried your kids might forget how to read and write this summer? Office Depot has you covered, according to "Get Back To Great," a new back-to-school campaign the Boca Raton, Fla.-based retailer unveiled Sunday. A 30-second TV spot pokes fun at some of the current interests of kids today—TV binge watching, emoji writing and burrito eating—by playing up how parents can get them ready for September.

"Now, she writes mostly in emoji," says a dad in the spot. "Soon, she'll type the best essays in the entire eighth grade," he says as he displays a new laptop from an Office Depot bag. The campaign is part of Office Depot's overarching "Gear Up For Great" campaign, which was developed by agency-of-record McCann and debuted last year.

The new spots will run in 30-and 15-second versions on TV from July 17 through Sept. 10, one week longer than last year, according to Stephanie Gutierrez, VP-marketing at Office Depot.

"We understand how important it is to make sure we break through during back-to-school," she said. "There are a lot of advertisers." Indeed, campaigns from Best Buy, JC Penney and Kohl's are all breaking this week.

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While the TV portion of Office Depot's campaign taps into the humorous side of back-to-school, a social media supplement featuring real parents and their children focuses on the emotional aspect of wanting the best for kids.

"We're delving into insight that's relevant in summer, that fear that most parents have of kids checking out—it allows Office Depot to be the backdrop," said Ms. Gutierrez. She said spending on the campaign is comparable to last year. The 1,800-unit chain spent $17 million on measured media in the U.S. between July and September of last year, according to Kantar Media.

While McCann handled creative duties, APCO was tasked with PR strategy. The media agency is UM.

The "Get Back to Great" campaign comes out of a very simple insight: kids spend summer hanging out and slacking off, but parents always see their kids' potential for greatness," said Danny Rodriguez, group creative director at McCann New York.

Back-to-school is a crucial time for retailers, but it is especially critical this year for Office Depot, which recently suffered a blow when a federal judge nixed a merger deal with rival Staples. The company, which merged with OfficeMax three years ago, said in recent weeks that it will hire 8,000 seasonal and regular retail associates for the season, 2,000 more than last year. The $14 billion Office Depot reported a 9% drop in net sales, to $3.5 billion, for the first quarter of this year.

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