I used to be a big fan of Office Depot, but lately they seem to be struggling to keep up with Staples. Their latest advertising campaign is an example.

Staples has “That Was Easy” and the big red easy “Easy” button. I’m amazed at how many people spend $5 to have an Easy button on their desk. My boss has one on his desk, and even my wife has one in her classroom. Their commercials are fresh, fun and engaging. While the commercials never really explain how the Easy button works, we are left to imagine that the little Staples elves somehow work their magic in the background to solve all of our problems.

Now Office Depot has the “helping hand.” Is is just me, or does this have too much of a “Me, too!” ring to it? It’s like the local grocery that advertises “Friendly service.” And not to be outdone, the competitor down the street offers “Courteous service.” It’s the same thing, just packaged differently. The “Helping Hand” is the essentially the same idea as the “Easy Button” — just packaged differently. And not even as well.

Maybe somebody should get Office Depot an Easy button… and fast!