OfficeMax Puts Power Of Penny To Test In Campaign

OfficeMax's Power to the Penny campaignOfficeMax is readying an integrated back-to-school campaign centered on the nation's smallest monetary denomination--the lowly penny. That is precisely the price of a variety of school supplies being offered at the store.



Over the next two weeks, OfficeMax's "Power to the Penny" campaign will launch TV spots using "Penny Prank" footage, radio spots featuring improv comedian, Matt McCarthy, online ads and a national event on Aug. 5 at Minnesota's Mall of America, where a massive penny tray will be filled with two million pennies available to kids for back-to-school shopping.

The 30-second TV spots will begin airing Aug. 4 on what the company calls "mom-centric" networks like ABC Family, SoapNet and Oxygen. Radio spots also start Aug. 4 and will air on female/mom-driven programming on Premiere and Westwood One Radio.



Through online partnerships with YouTube and iVillage, the campaign is supported by online banner ads (flash and rich media), an OfficeMax penny site, click-to-play video ads and YouTube roadblocks. Online advertising starts Monday.

"While many have forgotten its value, OfficeMax celebrates the penny by inviting consumers to spend them for school supplies," says a spokesperson. The campaign is designed to reach consumers "with humor and humanization in an economy where every cent is starting to count."

In the "Penny Prank," McCarthy and Oscar-nominated director Henry Alex Rubin hit the streets to find out exactly what one can buy in today's economy with pennies. OfficeMax developed 11 "Penny Prank" videos shot in New York City using hidden cameras where McCarthy attempts to purchase everything from a used car to a steak dinner with pennies--and more often than not, he is turned down with surprising reactions.

Reactions ranged from quizzical bemusement to--in the case of the deli owner--complete outrage. Yet, a carriage driver in Central Park actually accepted four thousand pennies ($40) in exchange for a ride.

The videos, which were posted on YouTube this month, have been viewed by more than 100,000.

Office Max has launched a microsite on iVillage as well as, both featuring prank videos, school supply list-generators by grade, back-to-school planning tips, skill builders for students, and a "graffiti wall" where moms can exchange back-to-school advice.

The Escape Pod developed the "Power to the Penny" campaign from concept to production of the viral videos, TV, radio, online ads, and development/implementation of media plan. Dig Communications provides PR support.

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