Direct Mail






Staples is the world’s largest office products company. Their diverse range has everything needed for the smooth running of the office. Within Europe, Staples has been growing steadily and services businesses of all sizes.


The vast majority of Staples’ Italian and French customers are SME’s of 3 or less employees. Staples’ average response rate from prospect catalogues in France and Italy is just 0.28%. In Italy alone, they were planning to spend over a million euros purely on sending out catalogues. Surely there was a more effective, engaging way to reduce costs and increase response from the vast amount of small businesses they were targeting? In seeking a solution to this, some of their additional investment was set aside to test new campaign ideas and brand awareness for new customers, which is what brought them to us.



One of the several new campaign ideas that we devised was focused on the fact that paper is bought by over 62% of all new customers. This insight into the buying behaviour of Staples’ customers also revealed that it is only when paper runs out that most people will do a full stationery order. A common office mini emergency is the running out of paper, so we created the ‘In Emergency – Break Glass’ Box; a visually striking and tongue-in-cheek 3D red box that held an emergency sheet of white A4 paper behind a sheet of acetate.

An accompanying letter introduced Staples and their diverse range of products, with an incentive to save €25 on every €50 spent on a new order. The huge challenge facing Direct Marketing is to make something tangible that the recipient is less inclined to immediately dispose of. This amusing DM was certainly more disruptive then a prospect catalogue, and was a unique creative that could be kept and placed on the wall. There was a highly targeted mailing volume of 20,000 per country, making it logistically very challenging, but our thorough researching of the Italian and French postal systems ensured everything ran smoothly. 


This insight into the buying behaviour of Staples’ customers also revealed that it is only when paper runs out that most people will do a full stationery order.





The campaign achieved over 30% increase in response rate, compared to the average catalogue sending campaign, a very pleasing increase. In both Italy and France, Staples’ sales and redemptions typically had a heavy northern cities bias, but our campaign’s positive response rate was across a far more even geographical spread, reflecting the universal appeal of the idea.

As part of the campaign follow up, we hired native speakers to carry out a thorough call around in both countries to gauge success and response. From this, 34% of those spoken to were interested in the offer. This was a great response for a DM that, alongside our other touch points, such as the Emergency Stickers, certainly helped further the Staples brand across Europe.


I contacted Gasp after reading their monthly newsletter, which was not only creative but also conveyed their sense of fun (important when dealing with big asks and tight deadlines). They answered some very tough briefs and deadlines with imagination and complete commitment, and managed to achieve a balance between innovation and pragmatism that is vital to a successful, large scale DM campaign. There is no doubt that they have assisted in furthering Staples sales and awareness (Holland is now covered with our reindeers!). You work with companies again that you trust to get the best job done. I look forward to working with Gasp again soon.

Kirsty Montgomery, European Head of Acquisition, Staples

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