Office Depot Becomes First ‘Official Office Products Partner of NASCAR’; New Multi-Year...

Office Depot Becomes First ‘Official Office Products Partner of NASCAR’; New Multi-Year Sponsorship Agreement Driven By Company’s Focus on Small Business Customers



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Delray Beach, FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–January 3, 2005–Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), one of the world’s leading resellers of office products and services, has entered into a multi-year agreement with the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) to become the sport’s first-ever Official Office Products Partner, beginning with the 2005 race season.

The relationship with NASCAR will be Office Depot’s primary national sponsorship platform this year and will be incorporated into the company’s new internal and external brand positioning campaign called Taking Care of Business – which also launches today.

Office Depot’s promotional activity with NASCAR, as well as the company’s marketing and communications campaign, will focus on business customers – the segment responsible for more than 80 percent of Office Depot’s sales on a global basis across all channels.

Office Depot’s NASCAR sponsorship activities include:

— Category exclusivity in NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup, NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Craftsman Truck series;

— NASCAR-themed customer promotions (both national and regional);

— NASCAR-themed television, print and radio advertising;

— NASCAR displays in Office Depot’s 900+ stores throughout the United States;

— Advertising during NASCAR race telecasts on NBC, FOX and TNT and in a variety of national sports media; and

— NASCAR becoming an Office Depot customer for office supplies and services.

Additionally, Office Depot plans to unveil a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team sponsorship later this month. The company will also support an upcoming NASCAR diversity initiative. (NASCAR is the fastest-growing sport among African-Americans and Hispanics, according to independent research.)

“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,” said Chuck Rubin, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising/Marketing Officer for Office Depot. “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 andothers who are prospective customers and partners.”

According to Rubin, Office Depot’s alliance with NASCAR signals a strategic shift in the company’s overall sponsorship portfolio, creating a powerful national marketing platform that reaches millions of customers. Further, the NASCAR association has shown to be a true differentiation point in purchasing decisions.

“In NASCAR, you have loyalty not only to the driver but also to the companies that make the sport work, and that is a competitive edge for Office Depot,” Rubin noted. “NASCAR has the reach, the devoted fan base and the ability to communicate directly to our core customers.”

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.

(Approximately 40 percent of NASCAR’s fans are women.) 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).

“Office Depot is breaking new ground by utilizing NASCAR to reach out to small businesses — a target that we know is passionate about the sport,” said Brett Yormark, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at NASCAR. “Office Depot was attracted to NASCAR’s increasingly diverse fan and sponsor base and the significant brand visibility and support we will provide in key Office Depot markets across the country. Our sport is more gender neutral than most entertainment and sports properties, and that was attractive to the company.”

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.

(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: Further information concerning Office Depot’s sponsorship of NASCAR 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 press information can be found at: http://mediarelations.officedepot.com.

About NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has a broad reach with 1,800 racing events in 36 states at more than 110 tracks. Among major professional sports, NASCAR ranks number one in corporate involvement and per-event attendance, and number two in television viewership. The sanctioning body for stock car racing is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in New York City (Corporate Marketing), Los Angeles (Broadcasting Media and Entertainment), Charlotte, N.C. (Licensing and Aftermarket), Concord, N.C. (Research and Development Center), Mexico City and Toronto.

–30–CP/mi*

CONTACT:

Office Depot, Delray Beach

Mindy Kramer, 561/438-4276

or

NASCAR

Andrew Giangola, 347/236-2094

or

Edelman

Nicole Mazzei, 312/240-2695

Office Depot Becomes First ‘Official Office Products Partner of NASCAR’; New Multi-Year Sponsorship Agreement Driven By Company’s Focus on Small Business Customers