CAMPAIGNS: Ad PR - New market gets exposed to FedEx

Client: FedEx Express, Latin American and Caribbean division (Miami)

Client: FedEx Express, Latin American and Caribbean division (Miami)

Client: FedEx Express, Latin American and Caribbean division

(Miami)



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

kick.



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.





Strategy



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.





Tactics



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

shoulders.’



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

not.’



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.





Results



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.





Future



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.



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