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Anybody who’s ever seen The Office will recognize the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company – the fictional office supply brand that employs the show’s cast of characters.
But not everyone knows that they can actually purchase reams of Dunder Mifflin paper. Through a partnership with NBC Universal, the Quill paper company, a Staples subsidiary, has been making Dunder Mifflin branded products since 2011.
Now, Dunder Mifflin is looking to raise its non-fictional profile, and it’s asking the crowd for help. Quill has paired up with the crowdsourcing platform Tongal to create a spot for the Super Bowl, which will air in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Here’s the lowdown. The competition runs in two phases: the first for pitches and the second for actual videos. In the pitch phase, which ended earlier today, Tongal asked individuals to submit ideas – either short videos or storyboards – for the commercial. Two first phase winners, who will be announced on Friday, will receive a $1,000 prize, and will have a chance at winning the grand prize in the second phase.
In the video stage, which runs until January 30th, all users will be able to upload actual 30-second commercials. The first place winner will receive $15,000, the runner up will get $6,000, and the second runner up will take home $2,000. Winners from the pitch phase are at an advantage here, as they are guaranteed to take home at least $2,000.
The Office is a comedy, and the ads should mimic the show’s comic demeanor. Here’s how the campaign description puts it:
The Dunder Mifflin products should be the key focus of your commercial, and you must show their flagship product: Dunder Mifflin Copy Paper at least once in your commercial. Given the awesome subject matter here, we're expecting some pretty damn funny stuff from you. It should be done in the spirit of “The Office” without coming across as a parody of it and engaging enough to generate continued online appeal beyond being a great and memorable TV commercial.
This isn’t the first crowdsourced marketing initiative tied to the Super Bowl that we’ve seen in recent weeks. We wrote about Lincoln teaming up with Jimmy Fallon for the Steer The Script campaign. Pepsi and Beyonce are also asking fans to submit photos of themselves in hopes of getting to dance with the singer during the halftime show. Doritos is getting in on the action, as well.
It figures to be a big year for crowdsourced marketing, so let’s see if the crowd can live up to the high standards set by previous Super Bowl ads.
Update: It's worth mentioning that Tongal recently received $15 million in Series B funding from Insight Venture Partners. So overall, a great week for the creative crowdsourcing company!