Office Depot Ads Showcase The Value of Home Chic

Substance can be stylish—at least, according to a holiday push for Office Depot that touts the chain’s new alliance with furniture designer Christopher Lowell.

A TV and print campaign from Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York that breaks Friday features four furniture styles designed by Lowell. (As part of the partnership, which began earlier this month, the furniture is available exclusively at Office Depot.) The work, which continues to target small-business owners, “encourages people to make the most of their home office so that they can be more productive,” said Adam Goldstein, BBDO senior creative director.

One 30-second spot shows a woman eagerly awaiting her Office Depot furniture delivery. Afterward, dressed in sweats, she gazes at her new home office and realizes how great it looks. Suddenly, her spirits sag, and she leaves the room. Upon returning, she is dressed to the nines because she wants to look her best to complement the furniture. She beams as the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show plays.

A 15-second spot features classical music and a snobby-sounding voiceover along with close-ups of the furniture. The camera pulls out to reveal that the furniture is inside an Office Depot store.

Two print ads show the different furniture styles: the Shore Collection, City, Country and Town. A question accompanies a photo of a home office decorated with the Shore Collection: “Can you spot the office in this home office?” Another ad features the dark-wood Country line with a caption that reads, “If you wanted your home office to look like an office, you’d work in an office.”

At the bottom of each ad is a photo of Lowell with copy that describes the line as for “any look, any lifestyle and any budget.”

“There are a lot of new, small offices in homes,” said Rachelle Franklin, vp of integrated brand marketing for Delray Beach, Fla.-based Office Depot. “So there’s a need for affordable, stylish furniture that will meet the style of multiple decors in the home.”

Office Depot’s partnership with Lowell—whose Christopher Lowell Show, about home decor, debuted on the Discovery Channel in 1996—fills a hole in the market for home-office furniture, said Goldstein. The brand is available in catalogs, online and in 200 of Office Depot’s 870 stores in North America.

Franklin would not comment on media spending or sales to date, but said sales have “exceeded our expectations.” Office Depot, with $11.4 billion in sales in 2002, was neck and neck with No. 1 office supplier Staples ($11.6 billion) last year, according to Hoover’s Online.

The fourth quarter generally sees the heaviest media spend for retailers. While Office Depot outspent Staples in full-year 2002 U.S. media by about $30 million, they were about even in the fourth quarter, with $25 million and $30 million, respectively, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Through September, Office Depot spent about $60 million in media, and Staples about $40 million, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.