'Stranger Things' actor brings 'comedic drama' to Canon's hybrid workplace campaign

The campaign from McCann and MRM taps Brett Gelman for comedic spots around Canon USA's business products

Published On
Sep 14, 2022

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When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, it introduced a new set of challenges to millions of workers forced to begin working from home. A new campaign from Canon USA seeks to cut through the struggles people are confronting in their post-pandemic workplaces, no matter what those spaces may look like. 

Canon USA, the U.S. branch of the Japanese electronics company Canon Inc., partnered with McCann Detroit and MRM Media to develop its new “Harmony at Work” campaign, which launched last Tuesday. The campaign marks the first work to come out of the partnership since the client and agencies began working together in the spring. 

 

 
 

The campaign kicked off with a series of TV spots starring “Stranger Things” actor Brett Gelman playing a host of comedic roles. Each revolves around how the brand’s printers, webcams and other business technology can restore harmony in stressful situations. In two spots that ran during Monday Night's Emmy Awards, he respectively plays a college student struggling to print an assignment and a ventriloquist who live streams his performances. In a third ad, he portrays yoga studio owner who uses a scanner to prevent cluttered receipts from disrupting his zen.  

 
 

“Hybrid work has changed the way we live," said Kevin Price, the director of Canon USA’s Hybrid Workplace Solutions division. "Hybrid fatigue and stress are on the rise. Everyone feels it. This campaign is a fun peek into just how workplace discord can be replaced by harmony. And who doesn’t need a little humor right now?”

In addition to showcasing new technology and services that the brand has developed in recent years, the “Harmony at Work” campaign also celebrates “difference-makers” who are redefining the modern workplace, including students, small business owners and entrepreneurs, according to a campaign press release

Although Canon USA’s past advertisements have largely focused on promoting its photography equipment, the company sought to use this campaign—and the “comedic drama” brought by Brett Gelman’s performances—to highlight its growing focus on its “hybrid products portfolio” of printers, scanners and other “communication and collaboration tools,” Price said. 

“Relative to some key competitors, Canon has been somewhat less active in our market communications, in particular in national advertising, and with regards to driving market awareness of, and education around, our hybrid products,” he said. “So, we wanted to surprise the public a bit, and certainly grab attention.”

These TV spots are just one portion of a larger integrated marketing campaign that will also include “non-traditional and native media activations,” according to the brand's release. But Canon USA is keeping details about the remaining elements of the campaign under wraps for now. 

“We can’t disclose any specific aspects of the campaign at this time,” Price said. “However, what we can say is to keep your eyes and ears open. We are so excited for what’s to come.”