Dunder Mifflin, the fictitious paper company on The Office, has become a very real presence in the office supplies industry. In 2011, NBC Universal extended a two-year licensing deal to Staples-owned Quill.com for a line of Dunder Mifflin-branded paper. Without Michael Scott at the helm, the line has thrived, with vice president for merchandising of Quill.com commenting in fall 2012 that revenue for the Dunder Mifflin branded copy-paper had exceeded ‘two times what we expected.’ The line has since expanded to include other office supplies, including cups, post-it notes, and sharpies.
The connection between the fictitious, televised Dunder Mifflin and the real office products are strong, as evidenced by the dual branding pictured above. With the licensing deal, NBC Universal reportedly receives 6% of the revenue from Dunder Mifflin sales, and the real products are marketed with slogans inspired by The Office; office cups are for the ‘Party Planning Committee,’ ruled paper helps workers ‘Look Busy’ and sticky notes are available in a multi-color ‘Diversity Pack.’ And now, in a move that promises to bring fans even closer to the ‘defictionalized’ brand, Dunder Mifflin has announced a crowdsourcing competition for a Super Bowl ad.
The competition, hosted by Tongal, challenges fans to create a spot that promotes both the Dunder Mifflin product line and the final season of The Office- spots must reference Dunder Mifflin copy paper, Quill.com, and include a tune-in for The Office on NBC. Further entwining the two brands, The Office producers will judge the submissions and choose the winning spot. The ad will also air in Scranton, PA, the location of the fictitious company– making it a close call as to which partner will benefit more from the exposure- the real product line or the show.
Although The Office is currently in its final season, the series will live on through syndication; the Super Bowl contest and the real, successful Dunder Mifflin product line help to ensure the show’s continued relevance in pop-culture:
It’s no surprise the hit NBC TV series “The Office” has been going strong for 9 years: Everyone has a Michael Scott they have to answer to, everyone pines for a Jim and Pam inter-office romance, and everyone wants to prank their very own Dwight Schrute multiple times a day. Currently, “The Office” is in its final season, so you’ll soon have to kiss your Thursday night bizarre love triangles good-bye, but for now, YOU can help people bring a piece of “The Office” to their office by producing a TV spot to air during THE BIG GAME for real Dunder Mifflin products!
The ‘defictionalized’ Dunder Mifflin brand helps both NBC/The Office and Quill.com; the brand helps NBC build a strong, tangible connection between fans and the show, and helps Quill.com market an otherwise undistinguishable commodity. Both parties benefit financially from the partnership and enjoy a boost in awareness from an unconventional avenue, and the unique relationship is a great example of how advertisers can go beyond a typical :30 spot to better engage fans.
The first round of submissions on Tongal is due by the end of the day today- submit your pitch here.