Kinko's ad-libs TV spots

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Kinko's has begun to improvise in its battle for market share.

The chain, best known for allowing customers to make copies, touts its services in a new $30 million advertising campaign featuring comedian Ryan Stiles as "Kenny, your Kinko's co-worker." Mr. Stiles appears in "The Drew Carey Show" as one of Mr. Carey's Cleveland friends and in Mr. Carey's improvisation program, "Whose Line Is It Anyway?".

"There's an improvisational nature about our business, a kind of custom-manufacturing business," said Laura Kurzu, VP-marketing.

The campaign breaks March 25 on ABC's Academy Awards presentation with a 60-second spot showing Kenny having a nightmare in black and white. He awakes screaming, "Doesn't anybody know all the things Kinko's can do?"

It will be followed by two more spots, one featuring the Kodak PictureMaker kiosk, part of Kinko's co-marketing agreement with AOL Time Warner, and a commercial from FedEx, which now has late pick-up boxes at all locations. The spots, from Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., are tagged: "Kinko's-We're doing more."

NOT THE FIRST SHIFT

It's not the first time Kinko's has attempted to shift away from its copy-place image. In early 1999, Kinko's launched a humorous campaign showing how its many services, such as development of pie charts, could be used to convince a girlfriend to accept a marriage proposal. In a campaign last fall backing its Web site, a traveling businessman changed his predictions in a presentation by e-mailing changes to the company's Web site in different cities he visited.

Kinko's is hoping to firm up market share for personal copying by targeting, for example, the mom who needs to make notices about Little League. Another target: small-business and home-office users, and third, large corporations using Kinko's services. Steve Pacheco, manager-advertising Federal Express, said the campaign supplements the company's regular marketing efforts from Omnicom's BBDO, New York.

Kinko's, a privately held company, competes with a myriad of companies, from single-owner copy shops to Copymax, part of Office Max, to Staples and Mail Boxes Etc. The campaign comes at a time when a number of its competitors also are grappling with marketing changes. Mail Boxes Etc., formerly with WPP Group's Oglivy & Mather, Los Angeles, is conducting a review for its advertising account. Meanwhile, Office Depot has been conducting a review for its estimated $50 million account for several months. Finalists include BBDO Worldwide, New York (Omnicom Group); Grey Worldwide, New York (Grey Global Group); and DDB Worldwide, Chicago (Omnicom Group).

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