"We have had more advertising opportunities and done more campaigns in 2006 than we have ever done in our history," said Tucker, who has been at FedEx for 28 years and currently serves as senior VP-corporate marketing.
The reason for the big push is to promote the portfolio of FedEx services, including FedEx Ground, FedEx Express, FedEx Freight and FedEx Kinko's, Tucker said.
FedEx has also been making a concentrated effort to reach small-business customers this year.
Tucker said her approach has been to leverage traditional advertising, including an award-winning Super Bowl spot called "Stick," developed by BBDO New York, with new and innovative marketing opportunities including sports sponsorships, unique media placements and online advertising.
The "Stick" ad, which depicts cavemen trying to send a package overnight, won a Primetime Emmy Award as well as a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Advertising Festival.
FedEx also launched a more aggressive TV campaign around its NFL sponsorship this year. "We were already the official shipper of the NFL and had a lot of in-program media and messaging," Tucker said. "This year, we really built out an ad campaign around the NFL."
The campaign includes six new TV spots that will run during NFL games this season on NBC.
Tucker said sports marketing is a powerful marketing tool for the shipping company. "We have found that we are able to create a significant amount of media exposure to targeted key audiences through sports marketing, and it helps us in an area where many companies are struggling—Tivo and DVR."
She said advertising during live sporting events helps reduce the risk of viewers skipping ads, because they are more compelled to watch the events live rather than recording them.
"We also find sports marketing to be a really good venue to provide hospitality venues for our customers," she added.
In addition to the NFL, FedEx has sponsorship deals with NASCAR, the NBA, the PGA, the FedEx Orange Bowl, FedEx Field in Washington (home of the Washington Redskins) and FedEx Forum (home of the Memphis Grizzlies).
Next year, the company will sponsor the inaugural PGA FedEx Cup tour, which will culminate in a four-event championship series.
In addition to traditional TV advertising and targeted sports marketing deals, FedEx also expanded its use of online advertising this year.
"We're spending a greater percentage of our budget in online, and our use of the Web has become much more innovative," Tucker said.
For example, FedEx launched a small-business online resource center, which contains articles, case studies, shipping information and special deals for small-business customers.
Tucker joined FedEx in 1978 as a financial analyst. In addition to marketing, she has worked in product development, advertising, technology, sales, operations and supply chain. —K.M.