Link: Click Here (it is the last spot at the bottom of the list)
Target: Small to midsize businesses
A small Chinese Army faces an invading Mongolian horde. Just as they are about to be overrun, their leader signals a soldier holding an ornately carved wooden box who opens it. Inside is an ‘easy’ button which the soldier presses. Suddenly, the Great Wall of China sprouts up through the ground. Unfortunately, the leader has been trapped on the wrong side of the wall, separated from his men. He say something in Mandarin which is translated as “Dang!” The spot cuts to a shot of the ‘easy’ button against a white background as a female voiceover says, “The world may not come with an Easy button, but your business does. It’s called Staples.”
This spot certainly breaks through with fast action, great cinematography, special effects and a nice end-joke. The Staples Easy button campaign has been running long enough to have some collective weight behind it and is familiar to much of the target audience. This spot is very different from other spots in the campaign but fits the general pattern.
This spot has three significant problems, one of which is a favorite of this advertising blog.
- Positioning Ownability - The most significant problem with this spot is the same as for the Easy button campaign in general. It promotes a category benefit. Organizing an office, making a business simpler to supply and run is something that office supply stores all do. If there is anything unique in the service Staples provides, we don’t learn about it from these spots.
- Positioning Linkage – More so than the rest of the campaign, this spot has a very tenuous link to the positioning against business problems. How does the Mongolian invasion relate to your business supply needs? In the real world Staples (via the metaphorical Easy button) won’t help against Mongols but will help your business. This is a very tenuous link. This commercial really relies on impressive visuals, special effects and humor.
- Waste of Money – This spot was expensive to produce, given the location, panoramic shots and special effects. None of this money worked very hard to build the brand positioning. In fact, the spot is more distracting than earlier spots in this campaign which focus on the office environment. In this case, more bought less.
Branding Bottom Line
Staples raises the Great Wall while we’re searching for a toner cartridge.