TV Winner: "Customer Service Is Back in Shipping"

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We've all suffered at the hands of those who are supposed to be providing us customer service: the bank teller who brusquely posts the "next teller" sign just as you reach the window; the store clerk who violently crams your groceries in the bag; and the maddening recorded message that says that your call will be answered in 30 minutes.

A series of TV spots from DHL International's "Customer Service Is Back in Shipping" campaign sums up this pain. Of these, BtoB judges particularly like a 30-second spot in which a man asks a beefy auto mechanic if his car is ready yet. The mechanic enjoys a hearty laugh at the customer's expense. The spot informs viewers that DHL customers will be spared such indignities. The series of painfully familiar customer disservice episodes is accompanied by the Dionne Warwick song "What the World Needs Now." The juxtaposition of the song and the series of ugly moments is pitch-perfect.

The well-paced spot ends on a high note. DHL shows some love as one of its crisply attired couriers accepts a package for delivery. With a world-beating smile on his face, the courier wheels around and he's on his way as voice-over notes that DHL is "changing the way the shipping business does business."

Mike Wilson, senior partner and group creative director of Ogilvy & Mather, New York, the German-based shipping company's agency, said the spot aims to "put a stake in the ground for DHL. It says DHL stands for customer service. Everyone has experienced bad customer service, but that won't be the experience with DHL. It empathizes with people in the world who deserve to be treated right."

Because lousy customer service is a universal experience, the possibilities for the spot were almost endless, Wilson said. DHL customers, he said, have shared stories about how other shipping companies can't be reached over the phone. Or they have complained about how often the shipping company's driver is late or has only a moment to spare with them because of rigid schedules.

What the spot and several additional DHL spots scheduled for launch this fall are designed to do is to let the target audience know that "DHL is much more of a pleasure to do business with. It is flexible and eager to get the job done right," Wilson said. The prime target of the campaign is small and midsize businesses, which have traditionally thought that they had only two choices of shipping companies.

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