UPS launches $35M 'Whiteboard' campaign

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United Parcel Service of America kicked off a $35 million campaign dubbed "Whiteboard" with a national TV spot on Jan. 6.

The campaign, created by the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., includes nine commercials that illustrate UPS' capabilities and invite users to learn more online. IQ Interactive, Atlanta, handled the interactive component of the campaign, which also includes radio, print, outdoor and direct mail. UPS said it has doubled its use of online advertising and created a microsite that includes a viral component of the campaign breaking later this month.

UPS said "Whiteboard" is the most significant creative shift for the company since the introduction of "What Can Brown Do for You?" in 2002. The new campaign is a continuation of that message rather than a new direction; "What can Brown do for you" remains the tagline.

"It's still within `What Can Brown Do for You,' " said Larry Bloomenkranz, VP-advertising, brand management and sponsorships at UPS. "The whole intention back then was to get people to reappraise the UPS brand. This has the same strategic objective. What's different about this campaign is that, as a platform, it allows us to showcase different products, and services and solutions UPS can offer—all within one campaign."

A simple, approachable idea

UPS wanted to be able to break down complex messages about its capabilities in an easy and accessible way. "It's a very simple idea," Bloomenkranz said. "It's a way of making the solutions UPS can offer approachable and simpler to understand."

The 30-second TV spots feature a man in front of a whiteboard with a brown marker sketching out the different types of products and services UPS offers, including international shipping and small-business services.

"The ability to take any one of their services and be able to show it in a very simple way and to be able to describe what problem it solves is what makes the campaign unique," said Andy Azula, creative director at Martin.

In one ad, the man sketches an outline of the U.S. with simplistic "waves" to represent the Pacific Ocean and a truck with a UPS logo bound for the U.S. from China, while describing the benefits of UPS' international shipping service. The spot ends with the man saying "It's not international shipping. It's international shipping with UPS," as he adds the words "with UPS" with his marker. The final frames include the tagline and a URL for the microsite.

"What we're trying to do with this campaign is to drive people to find the answer and the scope of what UPS can do for them at the microsite," Bloomenkranz said.

Competitor FedEx Corp. has recently introduced new work as well. It debuted two TV spots during the broadcast of the FedEx Orange Bowl two weeks ago. The spots support FedEx's sponsorship of the FedEx Cup/PGA Tour. Additional advertising appeared during the TV broadcast of a PGA Tour event in Maui, Hawaii.

The spots were created by BBDO New York. FedEx is also developing new spots for the Super Bowl and NASCAR.

"We're not launching a new campaign per se," said Carla Boyd, spokeswoman for FedEx, noting those typically break in the fall. "We do have a lot of new creative coming out, and February as far as a media buy is a very busy month for us related to our sports advertising."

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