A campaign worthy of a Dundie award

While considering how to differentiate in the paper category, Quills.com decided to launch Dunder Mifflin paper, named after the fictional paper company on "The Office."

Client: Quill.com (Lincolnshire, IL)
Agency: Olson (Chicago)
Campaign: Dunder Mifflin Paper Launch
Duration: November 28, 2011 - December 15, 2011
Budget: more than $150,000

A division of Staples, Quill.com sells office products to businesses. While considering how to differentiate in the paper category, CMO Sergio Pereira got the idea to launch Dunder Mifflin paper, named after the fictional paper company on “The Office.” The company was willing to take the risk and a licensing deal was secured with NBC Universal.

“This was really a question of how to compete in a segment where the product has been heavily commoditized and most purchasing is done on pricing,” Pereira explains.

Olson, which has an ongoing relationship with Quill.com, was asked to quickly raise high-profile visibility for the launch.

The strategy was crafted to reflect what Dunder Mifflin would do, i.e. something that made little apparent sense. Paper was distributed from food trucks to consumers and media in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles simultaneously on December 13, 14, and 15.

“The show celebrates the absurd so we wanted to do something in the same vein,” explains agency account supervisor Rachel Rischall.

Celebrity appearances, media relations, and social media outreach drove awareness.

Agency Kicking Cow helped with the events.

An exclusive in The Wall Street Journal ran on Cyber Monday (November 28) and led to a surge of additional high-profile coverage.

The trucks, staffed with people in Dunder Mifflin-branded costumes, gave away paper reams and sell sheets with ordering details in business districts of all three cities.

Arrangements were made to deliver paper to about 20 media outlets, including AP, NPR, and “The Tonight Show.”

“The Office” actors Kate Flannery and Oscar Nunez rode with the New York truck on December 13 and conducted media interviews.

On the last day in New York, the team made a guerilla run at “Today” that resulted in a paper delivery to the show's anchors.

In late November, @DMPaperTruck was launched to drive buzz and communicate the trucks' whereabouts. Updates and photos were posted regularly to Quill's Facebook page. NBC's team also promoted the campaign on the Facebook and Twitter properties of “The Office,” and Flannery tweeted.

Pereira reports sales exceeded projections by 30% in December. The product currently ranks fifth out of 65,000 SKUs on Quill.com.

“It will far exceeded expectations, and paper as a category is performing better than before,” Pereira adds. “Internally it sends the message that innovation is possible and can make a difference in any category - no matter how commoditized.”

Seven thousand reams of paper were given away.

Nearly 200 stories ran (225 million impressions).

The paper now appears on “The Office.” Quill is evaluating launching additional Dunder Mifflin-branded products.

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