Client: FedEx Express, Latin American and Caribbean division (Miami)
Client: FedEx Express, Latin American and Caribbean division
PR Team: Apple Organization Public Relations (North Miami Beach)
Campaign: Futbol - Let FedEx Take the Load Off Your Shoulders
Time frame: From early May and ongoing
Budget: About dollars 3,000 (for distribution of press materials).
At first, it seems like a typical FedEx spot. A guy, rather distressed,
is in a locker room. His boss reassures him that the soccer uniforms
will arrive in time for the game because they were sent Federal Express.
’What if I didn’t use FedEx?’ the guy worriedly intones. Shot of the
soccer field. Zoom in on the soccer ball spinning fast after a penalty
The defense team is lined up shoulder-to-shoulder, covering their
privates - for personal defense. But this time, the players are even
more compelled to keep covered: they’re naked. Grim-faced, they leap up
together to protect the goal - while unflaggingly protecting themselves.
Into the goal shoots the ball.
The ad had to convey the message of the delivery service’s reliability -
in a memorable fashion - while using a theme appealing and familiar to
Latin cultures. Apple Organization was charged with making sure the
press - from South Florida to Latin America and the Caribbean - reported
on the ad. Meanwhile, FedEx Express implemented an internal PR campaign
to keep the 3,000 regional employees informed about the ad and poised to
respond to the public’s reactions.
Because this was the first full-fledged FedEx ad in Latin America, it
was crucial that FedEx employees view themselves as company
’ambassadors,’ says Kimberly Heimiller, FedEx’s senior PR specialist for
Latin America and the Caribbean in Miami. Employees also had to be
prepared for the possibility that some viewers would be offended. FedEx
even shot a second ending to the ad in which the players are wearing
underwear, to use in case the public complained about the nudity.
For the internal campaign, employees attended meetings held by regional
marketing specialists. They were given stress balls that resembled
mini-soccer balls and saw a FedEx-produced video about how the ad was
made, which had clips of both endings. It featured division executives
explaining that with humor and a popular sport like football, the
company wanted to drive home the message that ’we take the load off your
If there was negative feedback, employees were encouraged to say, ’I’m
sorry that’s your reaction and I will report it to the company,’
according to Heimiller, who adds: ’Companies are afraid to say ’I’m
sorry’ because they think it’s an automatic admission of guilt, and it’s
Each employee was also given a letter reiterating that FedEx wanted to
hear about every reaction. The letter contained Heimiller’s name, e-mail
address and even a fax form to make the task as easy as possible.
For the external campaign, nine local PR firms oversaw the details in
their regions and reported to Apple. Some 300 press kits were FedExed,
just before the June 12 airing in Latin America, to daily newspapers,
sports publications, some TV and a handful of magazines in Florida and
Latin nations. About 75 South Florida Spanish- and English-language
publications also were targeted, along with advertising trades and The
New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Preparation is a great thing, but in FedEx’s case, it wasn’t needed;
employees heard no negative comments about the ad. And the spot with the
alternative ending now runs in tandem with the nude one. The shot of the
players leaping is so quick, says Heimiller, that people wonder which ad
they just saw, and it creates buzz.
About 100 stories were written in Latin America, mostly from dailies and
sports pubs, and almost all carried photos. The best US coverage was in
the monthly business sections of The Miami Herald and The Sun Sentinel,
both of which ran half-page stories with pictures. Sports outlets the
International Football Channel, Kick and Mundo Deportivo have pieces
slated for their next issues.
At press time, the ad had just run in the Caribbean, and the PR campaign
was ongoing. Two 30-second segments on Puerto Rican TV stations had run
already, and Apple was gearing up to pursue coverage as the ad airs in
both regions throughout the year.