When offices shut down one year ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, playing in-person pranks on colleagues came to a halt along with other moments people may not miss, such as getting your lunch swiped from the communal refrigerator or making awkward small talk in the elevator.
Now, Jell-O wants to help pranksters out with an at-home kit to recreate a famous joke. Late March happens to be the anniversary of the pilot of the U.S. version of “The Office,” which included Dwight’s stapler being stuck in Jell-O thanks to prankster Jim. (“The Office” debuted on NBC on March 24, 2005, roughly 15 years before COVID-19 office shutdowns and 16 years ago next week.)
In honor of this moment—and without any collaboration from the show or NBC—Jell-O is offering up to 100 sets that include a stapler-shaped mold, one box of black cherry-flavored Jell-O gelatin for the stapler, and four boxes of lemon Jell-O to go around it. Winners also receive $60, which the Kraft Heinz brand suggests can cover the cost of a premium subscription service that now shows “your favorite office-setting show,” without specifying that it’s “The Office,” which is now streaming on Peacock.
It’s all a not-too-subtle reference to the U.S. version of “The Office,” where Jim put Dwight’s stapler in the jiggly stuff, itself a riff on Tim doing the same to Gareth’s stapler in the original U.K. series.
Leo Burnett is the creative agency on the project for Kraft Heinz’s Jell-O brand, with Alison Brod Marketing & Communications on PR.
Perhaps someone may attempt to pull this off on an unsuspecting family member working from home on April Fool’s Day, if it’s possible to keep that person out of the kitchen for the time it takes to make this fully edible replica. Those who don’t win can watch online tutorials and try to create their own stapler in Jell-O prank, with tips such as this video that Comedy Central posted on April Fool’s Day in 2019. Or they can buy alternatives like a stapler nestled inside yellow soap available for $15 on Etsy.
Jell-O is the latest in a series of brands trying to capitalize on the popularity of “The Office” during the pandemic. Earlier this month, Joann added another video to its series starring Phyllis Smith. And in February Brian Baumgartner reunited with Bush’s on a push tied to national chili day in homage to his character Kevin’s epic chili spill.
For more on the latest in marketing in the category, check out “Ad Age Next: Food and Beverage” virtual event on March 23. Register here.