Friday, November 10, 2006

Gotta Keep The Half-Pipe

I admit it. I have a thing for FedEx. As a business person, I value knowing I can always trust them to keep their delivery commitments. As a guest lecturer on B to B branding to MBA students and college seniors, I appreciate having at my fingertips a slam-dunk example of B to B marketing done well.

My unnatural affection for FedEx goes back to the legendary tag line that started it all: When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight. Verbosity notwithstanding, that tag line accomplished just about everything you could want from a tag line and brand position. It demanded that all audiences think about the company and its offer in a specific way. It loudly and proudly announced the niche position (overnight delivery) FedEx sought to own. It was instantly memorable. And, it earned big bonus points by repositioning the competition. For years, it was hard to look at UPS, DHL and the rest without seeing them as somehow inadequate. Sure, they did deliveries. But FedEx's campaign pegged UPS in particular as the "3-4 days by ground" guys. At least in my mind.

It's a few tag lines later, now, and UPS has undoubtedly narrowed the communications gap with its "Brown" campaign. DHL has also made a nice comeback by finding a place to play between #'s 1 and 2.

Today, FedEx is parked on Relax, it's FedEx. As a B to B marketing geek, I continue to love the clarity of their communications. The quality of their creative product. And the fact that you don't have to be a B to B marketing geek to love their work.

Plus, you always know it's FedEx. Can you say that about most spots? How about the ones that run in the Super Bowl? Can you name the sponsor who brings us the spots with the chimps running amok in the office? (Hint: it's NOT, as so many people think, an ad for

Today, Fed Ex’s TV spots continue to slay me. They're funny as hell. There's always a clear message (lately, about improved office productivity). And like Office Space, Broadway Danny Rose, This is Spinal Tap, Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom album or just about any Seinfeld episode from the middle years, you find something new and great with each subsequent viewing.

But hey, enough of my yapping. Check out the current array of FedEx spots on their web site. And while you're at it, put a push pin in China. Worky work, busy bee.

No comments: