The "Easy Button" Turnaround
The turnaround at Staples was more than an Easy Button, but it helped:
A string of Easy Button commercials premiered in January 2005 and also aired during the Super Bowl a month later. In one spot, called "The Wall," an emperor uses the button to erect a giant barrier as marauders approach; another shows an office worker causing printer cartridges to rain down from above.
Online, Staples created a downloadable Easy Button toolbar, which took shoppers directly to Staples.com, while billboards reminded commuters that an Easy Button would be helpful in snarled traffic.
As a result of the advertising onslaught, customers began asking about buying real Easy Buttons. In September 2005 the company began selling $5 3-inch red plastic buttons that when pushed say; "That was easy." This quarter it will sell its millionth button.
Not since Taco Bell sold 13 million talking Chihuahuas in 1998 have customers so coveted a product based on an ad campaign.
By selling the Easy Button as a sort of modern-day stress ball, Staples is turning its customers into advertisers. Homegrown movies starring the button have appeared on video-sharing site YouTube.
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