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Office Depot is “Taking Care of Business“ with the Launch of a New Strategic Marketing Campaign


WEBWIRE

DELRAY BEACH, FL -- January 3, 2005--Office Depot (NYSE:ODP):

-- Initiatives Reflect Unwavering Commitment to Business Customers

-- Most Recognized Tagline in the Office Products Industry Propels New Ads

-- Multi-Year NASCAR Agreement Represents New National Sponsorship Platform

Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), one of the world’s leading resellers of office products and services, is embarking on the most significant campaign in its history by reintroducing its brand to business customers with a number of bold initiatives and new internal and external positioning under the umbrella of Taking Care of Business.

The company is launching an aggressive marketing strategy to underscore its Taking Care of Business positioning, including a new tagline, a new advertising campaign and a new sports sponsorship platform. By combining these elements, Office Depot is taking an integrated approach that will directly impact the company’s customers and clearly differentiate itself from other office supply superstores.

Taking Care of Business reflects Office Depot’s unwavering commitment to the business customer - the segment responsible for more than 80 percent of the company’s sales on a global basis across all channels.

Office Depot’s Taking Care of Business strategy will be executed through a variety of creative vehicles across multiple channels and will convey a new look, feel and image for the company. Components will be rolled out in both internal and external communications, including brand, retail and direct marketing, as well as e-commerce, catalogs and call centers.

“At Office Depot, we recognize that we have a very important job to do as the caretaker of America’s businesses - that is, to give people the products and services they need to be successful,” said Neil Austrian, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Office Depot. “The decision to utilize Taking Care of Business was built on our company’s in-depth understanding of office supply customers -- their needs and their perceptions of our brand. Further, this is a strategy that has galvanized and reenergized our company, providing momentum and a distinct message that we believe will strongly resonate with our core customers.”

New Advertising Campaign

At the heart of the Taking Care of Business marketing and communications strategy is the launch today of Office Depot’s new advertising campaign, http://mediarelations.officedepot.cc/tcob/, that brings forward the company’s famous Taking Care of Business tagline and selling proposition. The new television and radio ads focus on how Office Depot is the partner that successful business people depend on to provide the essential tools they need to get the job done right.

“Office Depot has never been more committed to servicing our business customers,” said Chuck Rubin, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising/Marketing Officer for Office Depot. “That’s why Taking Care of Business is more than a tagline - it’s an approach to success both internally and externally.”

According to Rubin, independent research conducted on behalf of the company reveals that 76% of business customers who reviewed taglines from the three top office supply superstores felt that Taking Care of Business best represented a company in that industry.

“By using this tagline, we leverage the equity we have previously built, while at the same time communicate a clear and meaningful message to our customer,” Rubin added. “Further, it shows our desire to take on the competition...and win!”

New National Sports Sponsorship

Another initiative being launched today is the company’s new alliance with the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), http://mediarelations.officedepot.cc/racing/. As part of a multi-year sponsorship agreement, Office Depot becomes the sport’s first-ever “Official Office Products Partner.”

Moreover, the relationship with NASCAR will be Office Depot’s primary national sponsorship platform and will be incorporated into the company’s Taking Care of Business brand campaign through NASCAR-themed customer promotions, advertising, in-store displays and a host of other marketing activities.

The Office Depot-NASCAR partnership is now the focal point of the company’s sponsorship portfolio and breaks new ground by utilizing NASCAR to reach out to small business owners.

“This creates a powerful marketing platform for Office Depot, reaching millions of customers where the NASCAR association has shown to be a true differentiation point in purchasing decisions,” Rubin said.

For instance, a recent survey of NASCAR fans found that 72 percent consciously purchase products because of a company’s relationship with the sport and that 44 percent of those who shop at other office supply stores would make Office Depot their primary supplier as a result of the company’s NASCAR affiliation(a).

Further, NASCAR’s fan appeal extends into Office Depot’s core customer base - the majority of which is comprised of women and small businesses. Sixty percent of Office Depot’s customers are women, and NASCAR is the second most popular sport among that group. Additionally, research shows that small business owners (vs. the average U.S. adult) are 35 percent more likely to have attended a NASCAR race and 26 percent more likely to have watched a NASCAR race in the past 12 months(b).

“After a thorough analysis of a variety of sponsorship opportunities, it was clear to us that NASCAR was the optimal fit for our new strategic direction,” Rubin added. “NASCAR’s increasing popularity and passionate, loyal following give us an opportunity to target not only the small business community that makes up much of the fan base but also NASCAR’s powerful team of marketing sponsors - some of whom we already do business with and others who are prospective customers and partners.”

Office Depot joins many other Fortune 500 blue chip brands that have entered the NASCAR family. Several, such as Nextel Communications, the title sponsor of NASCAR’s premier race series, already have strategic relationships with Office Depot. The company also plans to leverage its agreements with a host of vendor partners to conduct in-store promotions and trackside activities as well as marketing and merchandising campaigns.

New Customer Programs

Taking Care of Business is also being supported by a variety of new initiatives that will help Office Depot’s customers grow their businesses. These initiatives, that will be announced in the near future, will focus on four key areas: Value, Selection, Quality and Service - and will include the introduction of exclusive product offerings, enhancements to the Advantage Rewards program, more frequent training and support, valuable supplemental services and expanded environmental stewardship.

New Employee Programs

Office Depot employees returning to work after the holidays are being greeted by a new internal brand positioning program dubbed Taking Care of Business. Taking Care of You. The program -- which is communicated through a variety of vehicles, including posters, banners and other signage; website messaging; videos; and collateral pieces -- highlights all of the ways in which the company supports and encourages employee development, rewards performance and provides the resources necessary for success.

Moving forward, Office Depot will leverage this theme as well as the NASCAR sponsorship to implement a series of incentive programs based on how well employees are taking care of their own business to provide the highest level of customer service.

(a) Source: Zoomerang Online NASCAR study - September 2004

(b) Sources: Sports Business Journal, SGMA, ESPN Sports Poll, Simmons, NCS, Spring 2003; Edgar, Dunn & Co. NASCAR Brand Study 2000-2001

NOTE TO EDITORS: Find clips of the Office Depot’s new television commercials at http://mediarelations.officedepot.cc/tcob/tv.asp

Further information concerning Office Depot’s new advertising campaign, including press releases and product images can be found at http://mediarelations.officedepot.cc/tcob/

Information on Office Depot’s NASCAR sponsorship can be found at http://mediarelations.officedepot.cc/racing/

About Office Depot

With annual sales of more than $12 billion, no one sells more office supplies to more customers in more countries than Office Depot. Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Delray Beach, Fla., the company conducts business in 23 countries and employs nearly 50,000 people worldwide.

Office Depot is a leader in every distribution channel - from retail stores and contract delivery to catalogs and e-commerce. The company is the world’s number three online retailer - on track to generate $3B in sales for FY’04. In North America, Office Depot has 923 retail stores in addition to a national business-to-business delivery network supported by 22 delivery centers, more than 60 local sales offices and 13 regional call centers.

The company’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP and is included in the S&P 500 Index.

Additional information concerning Office Depot’s “Taking Care of Business” corporate direction, NASCAR sponsorship and new advertising campaign including press releases, television commercials, biographies, logos and product images can be found at http://mediarelations.officedepot.com/tcob.



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