Staples spruces up green image

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Staples hoped to get some hang time with consumers through a marketing campaign that found the brand appearing on environmentally conscious hangers.

Throughout last month, consumers picked up their clothes from select dry cleaners and discovered a coupon good for $10 off at Staples stores on the recycled paperboard hangers that held their clean clothes.

Staples hoped to "encourage customers and prospective customers to take a trip to their local Staples store and to support an innovative and environmentally progressive promotional tool," said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs at Staples, Framingham, MA.

EcoHangers is a patented marketing tool from Hanger Network In-Home Media, which has replaced the wire hangers in 35,000 dry cleaners around the country with its more environmentally friendly option.

"Approximately 3.5 billion wire hangers wind up in landfills every year and don't decompose for over 100 years," said Bob Cantor, CEO of Hanger Network.

EcoHangers are made entirely of recycled paper and are fully recyclable. He said they provide a great marketing tool for brands that are looking to reach consumers with an environmental message.

EcoHangers provide additional benefits as well. For example, reaching consumers through dry cleaners is appealing to some brands.

"Our customers, like many dry cleaning users, work in office environments and rely on core products to run their business, from printers, ink cartridges and ink," Buckley said.

The Staples campaign appeared in Chicago, Orlando, FL, Orange County, CA, and Portland, OR. The company is testing EcoHangers in cities around the country that provide a cross-section of retail climates to test their effectiveness. The markets are selectable by ZIP code.

Other brands that have used EcoHangers include Nivea for Men, Revlon, L'Oreal Men's Expert, Van Heusen and Dunkin' Donuts.

Another benefit of EcoHangers is that they live in a consumer's bedroom on average for two months, during which time they are seen repeatedly, Kantor said. In addition, the heavy duty, laminated paperboard used to make them provides a premium medium on which marketers can print their message.

"We see this as a good way to reach our target audience in an environmentally friendly way," Buckley said.

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