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.

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