Saturday, February 21, 2009
OfficeMax (NYSE OMX) meets Sex in the City? "An Occupation with Style" catalog.
In my faculty role teaching MBA-level marketing for University of Phoenix, one of the great joys is observing the sometimes eye-opening experiences of my students, as they become more aware of the marketing activity that surrounds all of us. (And by the way, the eye-opening experiences aren't just confined to the students. Since beginning my teaching career two-and-a-half years ago, I have become far more tuned in to ubiquitous marketing practices, both broad and subtle, even though I've worked in marketing or marketing-related functions for my entire career.)
In a final-night-of-class session the other evening, an enlightened student brought in the latest OfficeMax (NYSE OMX) catalog that had recently appeared in her office, a governmental organization that is no doubt a large consumer of office supplies. This catalog sparked her interest, though, because of its stark contrast to the typical Office Superstore Sunday newspaper supplement. Slick, glossy, printed on heavy paper, featuring "beautiful people", each clearly employed in "an occupation with style" (the catalog's title), this piece is still clearly (though tastefully) labeled with the OfficeMax brand, but is targeted at a market characterized much more by Carrie Bradshaw than Dwight Schrute.
The multi-page catalog features stylish office supplies and fixtures, but alas, printer fans, no rhinestone-encrusted toner cartridges!
BTW another aspect of my marketing curriculum includes an update on Web 2.0 and User-Generated Content, at least in terms of their impact on the future of marketing. So it seemed appropriate to search on "An occupation with style" to see what's out there on the Web. The complete phrase, complete with the quote marks, brings up a mere six hits on Google Web Search. And only two of the six seem to refer to the catalog. One is a comment on the Momslikeme.com site about the DiNova file folders, available in the catalog's pages, and another is a Twitter Tweet from a source I'd just as soon not quote nor identify.