Posted: 11:34 am Thursday, July 9th, 2009
By Allison Ross
Boca Raton-based Office Depot has launched a new marketing campaign in hopes of catering to small business owners in this tough economy. The company’s “Small Business Self-Bailout Plan” promotion uses a combination of online videos, Web site resources, contests and other incentives aimed at helping its small biz customers deal with their slowing sales in this recession.
Part of that marketing plan is a humorous online viral campaign called “Survival of the Smartest.” The Web site features Matt and Matt, two small business owners who use comical skits to focus on real Office Depot programs, services and products and to talk about ways small business owners can relieve stress in this economy. The goal of the humorous campaign is to introduce customers to Office Depot’s products and programs designed to aid small businesses.
One of the videos, about a fake “recession aggression bag” has caught the attention of online users for its clever play on an infomercial.
The video, which airs on Hulu and the SurvivaloftheSmartest Web sites, is a 1:30 video touting a bean bag chair with the word “recession” printed on it. The ad offers humorous ways to take out your aggression on the bag, including:
Put it in a headlock
Throw it over a bridge
Run over it with your car
Look at it in the eye and tell it it’s ugly
And my personal favorite: Be nice to it, and then turn around and stab it in its back.
(Also, pause the video at about 1:13 and take time to read all the product disclaimers…hilarious.)
The viral nature of the video is exactly what Office Depot was going for, said Jeff Herbert, senior vice president of marketing for Office Depot’s North American retail division.
“If Office Depot were to put this on YouTube ourselves and create all this hype about it ourselves, it would be corporate fodder and we would be ‘found out,’” Herbert told me in a phone conversation the other day. “It’s struck a chord with the target people who are watching it. … It’s getting the publicity we’d hoped.”
“Everything we’re doing right now with Office Depot is an attempt to understand the difficult times we’re going through right now and what effect it’s having on our small business customers,” Jeff Herbert, senior vice president of marketing for Office Depot’s North American retail division, told me in a phone conversation yesterday.
“We want to offer smart ways to help small businesses, keeping it clever and interesting.”