OfficeMax In-Cinema Ad Cheers Up The Workplace

With drab workspaces and corporate downsizing taking their toll on white-collar America, OfficeMax is taking the stance that cubicle life doesn’t have to be depressing.

Its new campaign, “Life is beautiful. Work can be too,” uses in-cinema ads to reach design-oriented female shoppers. The ad is running on 17,000 theater screens nationwide throughout the month.

In the spot, created by The Escape Pod, a scarlet-clad woman struts into a gray office space, which subsequently bursts into colorful bloom to the strains of Ivy’s dreamlike song “Edge of the Ocean.”

“The whole idea is that the workplace is inundated with drab, with manila, with cubes,” said Matt Johnson, a rep for The Escape Pod. “And that it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Bob Thacker, OfficeMax’s svp, marketing and advertising, said the majority of its customers are women, and they are highly likely to be making office supply buying decisions and own small startups. They also are heavy movie-goers, especially at this time of year. “It’s a great media connection with our audience.”

The campaign is unusual in that it breaks with the category’s and OfficeMax’s own tradition of focusing on product and price. Rival Staples, for one, is promoting a dollar menu-style program by offering Bic pens, writing pads and other items for a buck.

Thacker said that OfficeMax is still running a variety of price-focused advertising. The “Beautiful” spot, however, speaks to today’s turbulent times, he said. “Making small little changes in the workplace that make us feel better might help everybody.”

The ad continues OfficeMax’s concerted outreach to women, which began last year with Elle magazine and Newsweek’s “Women & Leadership” conference in the campaign, which promoted its DiVoga line. It also had a first-time presence at Fashion Week. OfficeMax’s U.S. media spend totaled $12.5 million January-October 2008, down 23 percent from the same period a year earlier, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.