It's a dispute petty enough to be a subplot on The Office. WNEP-TV, the ABC affiliate for the show's hometown of Scranton, Pa., is refusing to run a TV spot for Dunder Mifflin paper products during the Oscars. Why? Most likely because the fictional brand is too connected to rival network NBC. A de-fictionalized version of the show's paper brand has been sold in real life since 2011 by Staples-owned Quill.com, thanks to a licensing partnership with NBCUniversal. A Quill.com representative tells Adweek that WNEP won't air the Dunder Mifflin ad "apparently because of the brand’s NBC ties." WNEP declined to comment on whether it had rejected the ad, citing corporate policy. A similar ad just ran during the Super Bowl, apparently thanks to Scranton's CBS affiliate, WYOU-TV, being less finicky about the brand's background.
In another Office-esque twist, Dunder Mifflin's ad has found a new home during the Oscars broadcast on ABC affiliate WUTR in Utica, N.Y.—home of Scranton's rival branch in the show. As for the new spot itself, "The Battle" is a fairly straightforward follow-up to the brand's "Paper Fight" Super Bowl debut, featuring more white-collar grunts attacking one another with paper weaponry. It's like the perfect metaphor for an ad-placement spat. PR agency Olson is leading strategy on the campaign, and both ads were created through crowdsourcing platform Tongal.