Staples’ Coach Tom eyeing a losing season

Staples and ad agency Duffy & Shanley try hard to score—perhaps a bit too hard—with the "Gift It For Free" effort, which introduces Coach Tom, a sports fanatic obsessed with winning. Alas, what we have here, in terms of the overall campaign, is a well-intentioned loser. First off, there's a disconnect between the "coach" theme and the client, which sells office products. The approach seems better suited for a Sports Authority. The actor who plays the coach is amusing—it's tough not to smile when he orders a Tai Chi class to "Charleston." Still, there's not much context for why he should behave like this in the first place. He reminds me of the middle-aged, flabby gym teachers and coaches I encountered in school: self-centered bullies obsessed with winning through others. Maybe that's the point: Thanks to Staples, you don't have to play his game to win. It's a nice try. Better luck next season.

—Posted by David Gianatasio