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Dollars for Scholars

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Publicis in Mid America takes a humorous approach in its back-to-school effort for OfficeMax, which centers on a college scholarship promotion.

A 30-second tel-evision spot, which breaks nationally today, continues the "Max means more" tagline created by the Chicago agency in February. The campaign, which includes five radio spots, is the first TV work under chief creative officer Peter Nicholson, who joined Publicis in May.

The TV spot shows a mother and daughter pushing a shopping cart through one of the Cleveland-based office-supply chain's stores. The daughter rattles off a list of college supplies she needs as the mother gathers the merchandise, responding "Check" to each item. The girl then says, "College education," and the mom deposits a tweedy professor into the cart. The commercial ends with the professor being driven away while strapped to the roof of the family's car.

"We wanted to tie in the sweepstakes in a humorous way and still be able to promote the numerous items at OfficeMax," Nicholson said.

OfficeMax is giving away a college scholarship worth $80,000 along with Hewlett-Packard computers as part of its back-to-school promotion. The giveaways are touted in onscreen copy at the end of the TV spot.

OfficeMax's media expenditures totaled $40 million in 2001, and the company has spent about $15 million through May of this year, per CMR.

Publicis won the OfficeMax as-signment in March 2000 following a review.