M/W Bows Final Work for Retailer

CHICAGO Martin/Williams enlists rock star Alice Cooper and his “School’s Out” anthem in its final work for retailer Staples Inc.

The back-to-school effort depicts Cooper as a father shopping for school supplies with his daughter, who is unhappy with the prospect of returning to school. The spot uses lyrics from Cooper’s 1972 hit to drive the plot.

“Staples’ back-to-school commercial takes the Alice persona and places him in an amusing situation that you wouldn’t normally picture him,” said Shira Goodman, executive vice president of marketing for Staples in a statement. “It’s the kind of imaginative advertising that Staples has long been known for – reinforcing our brand messages while bringing a smile to the consumer’s face using empathetic humor.”

Another spot—not featuring Cooper—touts the Framingham, Mass., retailer’s “Give back to teachers” program, which rewards customers who spend $100 at Staples with a $5 gift card to give to a teacher for classroom school supplies.

The campaign breaks in regional markets on July 19, and will roll out nationally a week later. Both spots continue the company’s tagline, “That was easy,” which was introduced in March 2003.

The campaign breaks as three agencies are set to make presentations in a bid to handle broadcast creative duties on the retailer’s $60 million advertising account. Contending for the business are: Havas’ Arnold in Boston, as well as the New York offices of WPP Group’s J. Walter Thompson and Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson. A decision is expected by the end of the month.

Staples and Martin/Williams, an Omnicom Group agency, announced they were splitting on the account last April.