The office products industry is a pretty rough and tumble place to sustain a brand. Over the past 20 or so years, big box retail private label programs have eroded brand market share across virtually all product categories. I saw this first hand during my time at Avery Dennison, with some tough store brand competition in the labels, markers and printable photo paper categories really making life difficult for Avery’s brand teams.
What to do? Double down on brand investment: drive product innovation where appropriate, build sustainable loyalty programs that reward good consumer behavior, and push on the digital marketing lever pretty hard.
Advergaming is a great digital marketing tactic that drives brand engagement. The key here is to keep it simple. Brands are not competing with World of Warcraft for game design and complexity, rather providing an outlet for the casual gamer to chew up 10 minutes of time during a busy workday. If done right, advergames can go viral rather quickly and reach a pretty broad audience.
Mead office products has done a fantastic job with their recent Five Star Classroom Pilot advergame. It’s a very simple game that involves launching a paper airplane for distance in a virtual classroom setting. According to MediaPost, Classroom Pilot drove 10mm unique visitors for an average of 4 minutes per visit — amazing reach and engagement for a relatively small investment. The agency representing Mead, GoFish, cites $500k to $1.5mm to develop an advergame of this caliber. Based on my experience, this range is on the very high end and should be much closer to $200k. On a personal note, while at SoftCoin I worked with Fuel Industries to develop an advergame for Sara Lee, and found them to be one of the most creative and approachable shops in the industry.