UPS and Logistical Love Redux

It’s been almost two months since I posted my first observation of the UPS brand repositioning. Sadly my first opinion hasn’t changed. If anything, it’s been reinforced through repeated viewings of subsequent creative efforts by the package delivery industry’s version of Avis. The ‘love’ thing still rings semi-generic, uplifted by the outstanding production values of each spot. They almost make you forget the idea driving them.

“We love logistics.” makes me pine for the demonstrative ‘Whiteboard’ campaign by way of Richmond’s Martin agency. Instantly and uniquely recognizable for both brand and benefit. OK, like many others I kept shouting “Get a haircut” every time I saw a spot, but, let’s not forget that the campaign became so iconic it was even spoofed on Saturday Night Live and in dozens of YouTube parodies . Talk about becoming part of America’s social fabric… not bad one of the color wheel’s tertiary colors. The campaign made the UPS brand position of partnership and simplicity a powerful one. “What can brown do for you?” Miss ya.

UPS “Logistics” commercials work hard and look good demonstrating the functional aspects of the lengths to which they’ll go to demonstrate their love, but it all still comes off as a generic exercise in creativity. I even imagined a FedEx logo in place of the UPS shield and everything made sense as a campaign for FedEx, sans the love. Unique brand position? Not in my book.

Why explain in excrutiating detail (a brown smart car, even) what you spent the entire last campaign simplifying? It’s as if UPS was saying “We make it really, really simple, but look how complicated it all is and see how hard we all work to make it really, really simple for you! And it’s all because we love what we do!”

AND… we do it internationally!

Love ya Brown. But you’re giving me lessons in logistics that I already know. And that love thing, sorry. I like logistics.

I’ll keep you posted should things change.

Ideas need a bit of attitude but just how much ego?

I just finished reading a posting by Eric Karjaluoto of smashLAB in Vancouver. I found it interesting because of his single idea hypothesis to problem-solving design for his clients. While I applaud his methodical and logical process, and involvement of the client in the project development I have to question the wisdom of the all-or-nothing solution approach. According to Eric they do the same amount of creative development work prior to the presentation of the final idea. They just don’t show the creative options.

It’s been my experience over a long period of time and for a wide number of clients that they, increasingly, want to be part of the final decision. After all, we know what we do better than they do. And conversely, they know their business in greater depth than we do. So, it’s a collaborative process where mutual trust and respect are the foundation of a successful relationship.The ultimate satisfaction of our clients rests on the nurturing of that relationship. It needs to weather the good times and the bad. We have to accept criticism with the same grace with which we accept praise. We need to hear their likes and dislikes. We need to understand and empathize with their world. Like any good relationship, it’s not all about us.

Let’s make sure we give our clients choices and that all those choices are great.

Check out the article.

Week 1 Meets White Wine on the Rocks

I encourage everyone to learn more about the founding fathers of the Golden Age of Advertising by Googling Bill Bernbach, David Ogilvy, Helmut Krone, Bob Gage, Roy Grace and George Lois. Their work is iconic and timeless. They are my inspiration and my heroes. And they did incredible work without a single Adobe App!

Oh, and speaking of German wine, check out this link to Comm Arts that showcases a cool label design inspired by the German region and river of it’s origin. This label design stopped me for a moment and I started to consider if there had ever been an advertising campaign that influenced me to buy a particular wine. You know, I couldn’t recall a single one. The only one I could recall was a campaign created more than 20 years ago by Hal Riney and Partners, San Francisco, for Bartles and James… and that was really a wine cooler. The campaign (Google and You Tube it) became a long running success for the Gallo Wine Company garnering great attention and press, much like the recent Mac vs PC campaign. It wasn’t adversarial like the Mac campaign, though. Instead, both characters (named Bartles and Jaymes) were homespun looking, down-home types and sat on the front porch of a farm house. One of them (I think Jaymes) did all of the talking and he ended every tv commercial with the line, “And thank you for your support.” The campaign was “country corny” but it sure sold a lot of wine cooler.