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FedEx Pounding UPS During NFL Games

UPS abandoned its brown playbook for logistics commercials, leading FedEx to football Sunday victory.
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BOSTON (TheStreet) -- After Week 3 of the NFL season, there's been only one guaranteed outcome each week: FedEx's (FDX) - Get FedEx Corporation Report commercials are going to put a crippling hit on UPS' (UPS) - Get United Parcel Service, Inc. Class B Report weak campaign.

We realize UPS' logistics-based campaign, launched Sept. 13, was put through its paces, tested by roomfuls of audiences and whittled to a fine point to poke at one specific demographic, but UPS' ad firm and

WPP Group


subsidiary Ogilvy and Mather is punishing that poor target audience after every punt and torturing them in every TV timeout. It's bad enough that some poor captain of industry has to hear the word "logistics" during his or her eight hours of pigskin solitude, but the commercial's bastardization of Dean Martin's "That's Amore" is enough to make the late Rat Packer spill his Rock and Rye in the afterlife:


Omnicom Group's

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BBDO agency went to the tried-and-true Sunday morning joke book to highlight FedEx's strength -- international shipping -- while not annoying the average fan out of the room for a beer or bathroom break or boring its intended targets into a halftime nap. The result is one of the better, funnier campaigns of the early NFL season:

It's costing UPS a lot to get shown up week after week. The company launched its new "I

Heart Logistics" campaign, which replaced the popular if scatologically mockable "What Can Brown Do For You?" earlier this month with full-page ads in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal; Web ads with The Washington Post, Huffington Post and Reuters; and full-station ad saturation in New York and San Francisco transit stations.


considered the move one of the

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for one big reason: UPS sold its soul and easily identifiable slogan in an attempt to sex up logistics and make its new services sellable to stuffy business clients.

But why? UPS' $66.7 billion market cap is roughly 60% greater than FedEx's, while its earnings last quarter were up 71% from the same period in 2009, with global revenue up 13%. Meanwhile, FedEx just announced last month that it would be combining freight operations, closing 100 facilities and laying off 1,700 workers.

Perhaps it's FedEx's savings from those moves, and its 107% jump in earnings and 18% increase in revenue last quarter from 2009, that have UPS shaken up. More likely, however, it's FedEx's growth potential that could top out at $99.50 a share that's turning up the heat on the businessmen in brown. Regardless, on Sunday afternoons, FedEx is looking as relaxed as a pizza-satiated superfan asleep on the sofa during the second game while UPS seems like a Sunday gambler pleading with his team to cover the spread. Unfortunately, in that last scenario, everyone in the room with UPS has to suffer. That's not logistics, it's just lame.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post,, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.