Called "Shop Smart for College," the sweepstakes offers a grand prize of two smart for two passion coupe cars--one each for parents and their teenage college student--combined with respective home office and dorm room makeovers via $10,000 in gift cards from both retailers.
"Based on research we conducted, Bed Bath & Beyond knows the college students like no other," says Staples Vice President of Retail Marketing Christine Mallon, "and their merchandise is complementary with our selection of products."
A philanthropic angle has also been thrown into this year's Staples mix via a partnership with DoSomething.org. In a promotion featuring pop star and "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks, the organization is asking teens to help local needy children by collecting and dropping off school supplies at collection bins in all Staples stores. Staples customers, meanwhile, can add extra school supplies to their shopping carts for the collection, or donate $2 at checkout.
And Staples has not forgotten the economic woes of the average American either, as its new 15-second TV spots from McCann Erickson hit hard on the rising prices of everything from gas to jeans and groceries--contrasted with the affordable back-to-school prices at Staples. The spots, placed by MediaCom, begin airing Sunday on such shows as "CSI" and "Today," and are targeted primarily at parents and secondarily at students, according to Mallon. Online ads will appear on such sites as Disney.com and Yahoo, she said.
Popping up throughout the campaign--which also includes such "staples" as circulars, direct marketing and public relations--is the retailer's Easy Button icon. In one of the TV spots, for instance, a woman tries in vain to get the button to lower the price of gas as an announcer explains that "the Easy Button can save you lots of money, but only at Staples."
Indeed, the price of gas loomed large in a recent Staples Internet survey of 300 women with school-age children, with 79% saying the rising price of gas would impact how they purchase back-to-school supplies. In addition, 68% reported that "good deals" would drive them to start shopping earlier.
Also with its eye on the economy, Staples competitor OfficeMax last week launched its own penny-pinching back-to-school campaign that literally features penny sales. In a promotion endorsed by the D.C.-based Americans for Common Cents, OfficeMax is featuring weekly "penny offers" ranging from single-priced items costing one cent to bundle offers that include a special penny item with the purchase of one or more regularly priced products.