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FedEx flies high with 'Carrier Pigeons' ad

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Continuing its tradition of launching humorous spots on TV’s biggest game day, FedEx Corp. debuted an ad called "Carrier Pigeons" during the Super Bowl XLII broadcast Feb. 3.

The spot, created by BBDO New York, features a business that tries to use carrier pigeons for its overnight shipping needs, with disastrous results.

The 45-second spot is part of the ongoing "Relax, It’s FedEx" campaign, promoting the shipping company’s portfolio of products, including express, ground, freight and FedEx Kinko’s.

"In any Super Bowl backdrop, you are really trying to break through and get the attention of folks right off the bat," said Steve Pacheco, director of advertising at FedEx. "What really works is a good story that is visually exciting and ties back to the brand in a very powerful and dominant way."

The spot opens with an office worker walking down the hallway with his boss, discussing how carrier pigeons have solved all of the company’s shipping needs.

"These babies are equipped with GPS and night vision," the worker says, holding a pigeon wearing a miniature helmet and goggles, and carrying a package on its back.

When the boss asks how the pigeons handle the "big stuff," the worker says, "That’s been taken care of."

An assistant rolls open a window shade to reveal giant carrier pigeons taking off from the roof of the office building, carrying giant packages.

But then havoc breaks loose as the pigeons start to drop their packages on to the city street below, where they crash onto vehicles, break open water pipes and cause panic.

One errant pigeon picks up a car and sends it crashing through a glass window, missing the office worker and his boss by inches.

"Let’s switch to FedEx," the boss says.

More than 1,000 hours of computer-generated imagery and animation work went into creating the special effects, Pacheco said.

The ad will begin regular rotation on broadcast and cable networks, and is also featured on the FedEx Web site.

In the week prior to the game, FedEx ran banner ads offering a sneak preview of the ad on its Web site, as well as a video showing how it was created.

During the game, FedEx had a hospitality suite for its top customers and business partners, at which the spot could be viewed before it ran on TV.

FedEx also ran a page one teaser ad in USA Today driving users to its Web site to watch the ad.

"This ad is really a reliability enforcer, showing that you are better off and safer to stay with FedEx. It fits into our slice-of-life office humor that we are known for," Pacheco said.

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