That Was Easy

by buildingpharmabrands


What is the Easy Button?

A creative device? A Marketing tool? A cultural hit?

It’s all these three rolled into one gadget. Above all, it is one of the most successful, enjoyable, marketing campaigns that captured the attention of almost everyone. When you press the Easy button it speaks out the recorded message That Was Easy!

McCann-Erickson, one of the leading advertising agencies developed it to bring life and dimension to the proposition that shopping at Staples, the world’s largest office stationery shop makes running small businesses easier, back to school easier, even Christmas shopping easier! To reinforce their position and proposition, the agency created some of the most enjoyable and effective ads in the campaign. These ads helped in increasing brand recall by 73 per cent and profits by 18 per cent in the first year alone. The tagline and  That Was Easy button have been catchy, memorable, and also stress-busting at once!

What is more, Staples even sold over two million Easy Buttons, their marketing tools. It has been a remarkable turnaround and rebranding effort from the earlier perception and the sagging sales.

The Background

In 2001, Staples got an abysmally low ratio of eight to one in customer complaints to kudos. The company’s slogan Yeah, we’ve got that had become laughable. Customers often complained that items were often out of stock and the sales staff were unhelpful.

Shira Goodman, Staples executive VP for marketing had revelation after a number of focus groups and customer interviews that customers wanted an easier shopping experience. They wanted knowledgeable and helpful associates and hassle-free shopping.   The That Was Easy tagline was simple-yet inspiring, addressing directly what the customers want.

Thus began the five-year branding or re-branding odyssey that has helped Staples to become the runaway leader that it is today. The company thought hard and implemented a companywide overhaul to simplify the shopping experience rather than simply bombarding customers with a new slogan – Staples: That was easy. They went one step further. They created an iconic object, the Easy Button, which customers bought in droves, spreading the marketing message.

Staples started receiving twice as many compliments as complaints after the campaign. From a complaints to compliments ratio of eight to one to one to two – that’s a big turnaround.

For viewing the highly effective and enjoyable, TV ads of Staples: That Was Easy click here to visit Marco Cignini’s website, who was the former Senior Vice President of McCann Erickson. He gives the very simple five-step approach to make Staples Easy Button marketing easy:

Step #1 Put your idea on a button

Step #2 Use it in your ads

Step#3 Sell your idea for $ 4.99

Step #4 Get out of the way

Step #5 Act like you planned the whole thing

Can you think of developing a creative device, a marketing tool for your brand to act as a mnemonic to make your brand memorable and make it easy to act upon writing a prescription? You don’t have to sell it like Staples did.