Office Depot Parts With JWT After Staples’ Merger Fails

J. Walter Thompson here has closed an unexpectedly brief relationship with Office Depot, after producing just two campaigns and watching from the sidelines as the client’s merger plans collapsed.
The future of Office Depot’s estimated $35 million broadcast account is in limbo. JWT, which won broadcast creative responsibilities in March 1996, is no longer handling the business, the agency confirmed last week. Media duties had been handled in-house by the client, which spent a total of $68.5 million last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The Delray Beach, Fla.-based chain and a competitor, Staples of Framingham, Mass., announced their intentions to merge last September. In June, the Federal Trade Commission opposed the deal on anti-trust grounds, however, and the deal was scrapped.
JWT had anticipated an opportunity to pitch the combined businesses. After the proposed merger was scuttled, the agency said it remained the agency for Office Depot. “We thought we would be continuing [as the agency] once things settled down,” said a JWT representative.
Office Depot officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment on the parting with
JWT by press time.
JWT’s tagline for Office Depot was “This is where I take care of business,” a variation on the “Taking care of business” line created by the previous agency, Gold Coast Advertising in Miami. The new line was used in TV commercials that ran last year. –Trevor Jensen