Quill, an office supply company owned by Staples, announced today it was introducing Dunder Mifflin paper. Dunder Mifflin, of course, is the fictional company featured on NBC’s popular show The Office.
So is this a smart move? I think so, for three reasons.
First, it will create enormous PR buzz. The news is already showing up in all sorts of media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Tribune. The story will generate discussion and comments and get people thinking about Quill, many for the first time.
Second, this move differentiates Quill. If you want Dunder Mifflin paper, you have to become a Quill customer. This makes Quill unique and different and cool, and in the world of office supplies this is a major accomplishment.
Third, the move is easy to measure. One of the great challenges in marketing is seeing the impact of initiatives. But this move is easy to quantify: Quill executives can simply watch orders of Dunder Mifflin paper to see how it is working.
There are of course some concerns. First, it isn’t clear how much more people will pay for Dunder Mifflin paper. Is there a lot of value in the name? Is it worth the licensing fee? Second, the move will likely attract a lot of individuals, which might be an issue for Quill, a very business to business focused company.
On balance, however, the move looks like a winner, a way to put a somewhat low profile company on the map and differentiate it in a competitive market. This is what good marketing is all about.