Brand experts mixed on new UPS campaign

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Brand experts are giving mixed reviews to United Parcel Service of America's new global brand campaign, “We Love Logistics,” saying the concept of logistics is a tough one to sell. “We Love Logistics” replaces UPS' “What can Brown do for you?” tagline and its more recent “Whiteboard” campaign in the U.S., as well as its “Deliver More” campaign outside the country. The integrated campaign, including TV, print, radio, online and out-of-home ads, was developed by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, which was named agency of record for UPS' global advertising business last year. Its previous shop was the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va. The campaign budget was undisclosed. “"Whiteboard' was a very successful campaign for us,” said Betsy Wilson, director of global advertising at UPS. “It communicated in a new way UPS solutions, mainly in the U.S. and Canada. Outside the U.S., "Deliver More' was focused on promoting our international express services, so we had two different campaigns.” Noting that UPS has grown over the past decade by acquiring more than 40 different companies to bolster its services business, Wilson said, “We needed to develop a more global way of communicating the full breadth of our capabilities. This campaign is about redefining what logistics means from a business standpoint. It is about thinking about transportation and shipping in a new way—as a strategic asset of your business instead of as a cost or an asset that needs to be managed.” Jim Gregory, CEO of CoreBrand, said UPS' Brand Power Score dropped from 82 in 2007 to 75 in 2010, according to the brand strategy firm's corporate brand index, which assigns brand power based on attributes such as familiarity with and favorability toward the brand. “That is a significant and meaningful drop in brand power. They needed to do something,” Gregory said. “I never did care for "What Can Brown Do for You?” How can you warm up to "brown?' ” The “What Can Brown Do for You?” campaign, developed by the Martin Agency, debuted in 2002. It focused on broadening UPS' brand from that of a ground delivery service to a global provider of international shipping, logistics, customs brokerage, systems integration and supply chain management solutions. “If there is one thing UPS has done and stuck to very effectively, it is the singular use of the color brown, from the hats down to the socks,” said Laura Ries, president of branding firm Ries & Ries. “Certainly the use of brown was very effective, but the tagline wasn't necessarily specific enough, in terms of "What can brown do for you?' They have the challenge of selling logistics. That is not something that is easy to visualize.” Both Gregory and Ries said UPS' “Whiteboard” campaign, which debuted in 2007 and was also created by the Martin Agency, made a good start at selling more complicated logistics services. “Logistics has been growing and is becoming more important in global trade,” Gregory said. “UPS touched on it with the "Whiteboard' campaign. It was a good campaign, and they took it about as far as they could possibly go; but now it's time to move on.” Gregory said he “loves” the new campaign from a corporate branding standpoint. “ "We Love Logistics' is more precisely targeted at solutions and what the company can actually do for the customer. How do you make logistics cool, and interesting and fun? I think this campaign goes a long way toward doing that.” However, Ries disagreed. “I do not love logistics. Every company loves what they do. Isn't that why they're in the business? Why doesn't Oracle run a campaign saying, "We love database software.' You should say something that gives you an advantage over your competitor.” She said another problem with the campaign is its overall tone. “The approach of "We Love Logistics' and the whole tone is very consumer-oriented. The true audience for logistics services are large, sophisticated companies. It is a trivializing approach.” In the TV spots, UPS employees help customers with different logistics needs, from international shipping to mailing packages at the UPS Store. A new song, “That's Logistics” (to the tune of “That's Amore”) plays during the spots. “Throughout the creative executions are our own employees, which is something we have not done before,” said Maureen Healy, VP-advertising, brand and customer communications at UPS. “The ads communicate UPS' passion and dedication to logistics services that serve our customers.” Print ads, which are running in publications including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, feature a headline reading “Why logistics is the most powerful force in business today,” and provide more information about how UPS can help businesses of all size with logistics. The campaign also includes a microsite, featuring customer case studies, videos, white papers and a calculator.
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