FedEx - Apology

January 25, 1998 | :30

In one of Super Bowl XXXII’s two meta-commercials (see also Continential Tires’ “Cheap Ad”), somebody has sent the spot to NBC by a competitor to FedEx, so all viewers see is color bars and an apology. “Absolutely, positively a breakthrough idea,” Ad Age reviewer Bob Garfield wrote.

The spot was made by BBDO New York, which in 1996 created FedEx's first global campaign with ads depicting the company as a worldwide force in the shipping business. The ads featured a spinning globe and the tagline "The way the world works." As part of its marketing efforts, FedEx promoted many sports, sponsoring the FedEx Championship Auto Racing, USA Basketball, the FedEx Orange Bowl and the FedEx St. Jude Classic golf tournament.

In 1999, the company became the title sponsor of the stadium where the Washington Redskins played, rechristened FedExField. As for the Super Bowl, FedEx was in the middle of a long steady run of big-game ads dating back to 1989. The company wouldn’t skip a game until 2009, when it cited the economy as a reason to spend carefully: “And as a responsible employer of more than 290,000 employees and contractors worldwide,” it wrote in a blog post then, “there is a time to justify such an ad spend and a time to step back.”

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  • BrandFedEx
  • Year1998
  • AgencyBBDO
  • Superbowl #XXXII
  • Quarter airedQ2