Staples Issues ‘Apologies’ in New TV Campaign

Martin/Williams offers humorous apologies from an offbeat cast of characters in its first work for Staples.

Two TV spots, which broke over the weekend, are the first installment in a repositioning of the Framingham, Mass., retailer’s brand.

“They combine the old and the new,” said company representative Deborah Hohler. “They use humor and empathy, which customers associate closely with our brand; they also use new approaches to show how Staples can address their needs.”

Both spots depict the faceless people who cause the annoyances of everyday life. In one ad, a rubber-necker apologizes for causing a highway backup that has made people late for an important client meeting. “I wish I could make it up to you,” he says. “Maybe Staples Business Delivery can help. It’s easy, fast and free.”

In the second spot, the woman behind the voice in a telephone message system apologizes for taking up people’s time. She also suggests the business-delivery solution.

In the ads, the characters stand in front of a slide show depicting their actions. A voiceover states, “Get back time. Go to Staples.”

Hohler said the statement is not considered a tagline. The company’s previous tag, “Yeah, we’ve got that,” has been shelved.

The Minneapolis shop won broadcast creative duties on the $70 million account in July after a review. The incumbent, Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York, did not participate in the review.

The campaign is airing on national network and cable. Spending for the effort was not disclosed.