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Staples Temporarily Becomes 'Stap es' Online, Asks #WhatTheL

  |  January 3, 2014   |  Comments

Staples' new campaign is intended to draw attention the brand’s expanded product selection for small business owners by eventually replacing the L with items not typically associated with Staples.

For one week, office supply chain Staples is removing the iconic "bent staple L" from its logo. The brand will appear as 'Stap es' on its website and social profiles, while pushing the hashtag #WhatTheL.

Properties affected include Staples' Twitter header and profile photo, which have been updated to reflect the campaign with a missing L or an image of the hashtag. They've also added updated Facebook cover and profile photos and new logos on LinkedIn and YouTube.


The brand even tweeted about a L missing from store signage on January 2, 2014. By the end of the day, it had 15 retweets.

Staples has 266,000 followers and 934,000 fans.

In a press release, the brand says, "Fans can join the ‘What the L is going on at Staples?' conversation by using the hash tag #WhatTheL."

However, on its website, Staples explains, "We're so serious about our expanding selection, we're changing our logo. Every day, you'll see a different product that you might not expect we carry."

That's because Staples is "adding thousands of new products beyond office supplies every day," including technology, safety equipment, factory signs, facilities and breakroom supplies, medical supplies, furniture and coffee, the brand says.

In fact, according to Carrie McElwee, director of public relations at Staples, over the past year, Staples has more than tripled the number of products it offers.

Ergo, examples of new potential Ls include "a mop or safety cones, or maybe even dog bones or pretzels," McElwee says.

The shift will take place January 9 on Staples.com and its social profiles. Different products will replace the L for an unspecified period of time, she adds.

The missing/replaced L is accompanied by a new tagline, Make More Happen. The campaign as a whole includes four new TV spots that will also highlight the breadth of Staples' product line.

The first spot, which has 1,600 views on YouTube as of January 2, will begin airing nationally on January 6.

Three spots will follow in February.

Make More Happen means Staples is ditching its That Was Easy tagline, which it has used for more than a decade.

"The new tagline builds on ‘easy,' so easy is still a core part of the Staples brand and is reflected in the brand promise," McElwee says. "We make it easy to make more happen."

The campaign also focuses on how Staples' expanded product line helps businesses succeed across a broad range of industries, like medical, restaurant, professional services and retail, the brand says.

"We're relaunching the brand to show how we're doing more to help customers do more and the new Staples brand launch is a key part of the company strategy to offer businesses the products they need," McElwee says. "We've been working on reinventing the company for the past year and the campaign really is a culmination to show how we're helping customers make more happen."

In a release, Staples says its campaign features "extensive use of digital video, social media and digital audio."

In other words, the commercials will run on YouTube and Pandora, a rep says. The campaign also includes local radio partnerships in LA, Chicago, New York and Boston that will also have social media components, the rep adds.

The campaign will also include promotions and contests on Twitter and Facebook in the coming weeks, including "a large social component related to Make More Happen launching within the next week," the rep says, adding, "We can't share any specifics on that right now."

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Lisa Lacy

Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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