TakeAway: Staples uses a fictional brand name from the popular TV show “The Office” to differentiate and boost sales in a declining commodity-like industry.
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Excerpt from WSJ: “Great Scott! Dunder Mifflin Morphs Into Real-Life Brand of Copy Paper”
Staples’ Quill.com has struck a licensing deal with NBC’s parent company to launch a Dunder Mifflin brand.
Priced above private-label copy paper, the Dunder Mifflin packages will be emblazoned with slogans such as “Our motto is, ‘Quabity First’ ” and “Get Your Scrant on,” well-known phrases from the comedy series.
The marketing deal is an effort to combat what Quill’s chief marketing officer calls a “race to the bottom in the paper business.”
The Dunder Mifflin deal is an example of “reverse product placement.”
For decades, marketers have worked to embed their brands in the plots of TV shows and movies as a way to stand out in a crowded ad market. Nowadays, they are seeing value in bringing to life fictional brands that are already part of pop culture.
Examples include Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, a candy from the Harry Potter books, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurants, inspired by the 1994 film “Forrest Gump.”
For Quill, which has a roughly $3 million annual ad budget, using the well-known Dunder Mifflin name is a way to draw attention to its brand without spending heavily on marketing.
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