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To deliver the message for its new Tracking Software, Federal Express Corp. decided to portray the office from hell-with humor.

"We wanted to get back to injecting a little humor in our ads," says Robert A. Miller, VP-marketing for the Americas and Caribbean.

The idea worked.

"No doubt, the success of our marketing campaign was the result of the powerful nature of our television advertising," he says.

One spot from agency BBDO Worldwide, New York, shows a lowly office worker triumphing over the big, bad boss when she is able to prove-by using Tracking Software-when a package arrived and who signed for it.

Another features an executive conference call. When one individual is questioned about important papers that allegedly never arrived, the lady on the other end of the line is able to prove him wrong.

FedEx spent an estimated $20 million to $30 million on Tracking Software last year. Like previous FedEx advertising, Tracking Software's spot TV media buy emphasized sports properties such as "Monday Night Football" and the company's own special sports properties, including the Federal Express Orange Bowl.

If the ad campaign was crucial, then so was the nature of the product.

The computer software enables FedEx customers to track packages from their own office, at no charge.

The product "really upped the ante on our competition," says Mr. Miller, now in his second stint at the company (he worked there first in 1983-84).

And consumers familiar with the office from hell-who isn't, these days?-can laugh at themselves in the commercials.

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