Xerox Cracks Color Code

NEW YORK A campaign from Y&R for Xerox advises people to print things in color as often as they do in black and white.

One spot, which broke on network TV on Sunday, depicts office workers on a conference call with their supervisor who is looking at a report printed in color. After the voice on the phone compliments the printing job, one of the workers puts the phone on mute and begins making snarky comments about the boss. Turns out the mute button doesn’t work. The spot ends with the Web address,, displayed.

The site, which launched on Friday, attempts to keep people involved by offering pleasant diversions such as the “acronymanator,” which converts phrases into acronyms, and a downloadable goat, suitable for taking the blame when things go wrong.

“The idea behind the strategy was to promote the notion that printing in color is not nearly as expensive as people think it is,” said Gary Goldsmith, CCO, Y&R North America. “That led us to People like seeing an exaggeration of what companies will do to cut costs.”

Print ads, which are running in national business magazines, emphasize different aspects of Xerox color. “Each form of media is designed to do a different job. TV is meant to hammer home the idea of affordable color. Online is meant to engage people and develop characters and tell a product story,” said Goldsmith. “Print is designed to be very simply about frugal color and making the copy points.”

For Xerox, the goal of the campaign is fourfold. “One, Xerox has a network printer that costs $300. Two, color costs pennies a page and people don’t realize that. Three, we can provide color-control software so they can manage the costs of color printing. Four, the total satisfaction guarantee that Xerox has,” said Barbara Basney, director of global advertising at Xerox.