Graeme Newell

advertising humor: the creative formula behind FedEx marketing success

[vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_video link=”” size=”825″][vc_column_text]In this three-minute emotional marketing lesson video, emotional marketing expert Graeme Newell shows how FedEx uses the dysfunctional world of office politics to build strong bonds with customers.  Learn the formula behind FedEx’s delightfully sarcastic branding success.

We’ve all been there. The boss comes up with a ridiculous new policy and everyone in the room is expected to get on board. In this three-minute emotional marketing lesson video, emotional marketing expert Graeme Newell shows how funny brands like FedEx use the dysfunctional world of office politics to build strong bonds with customers.

Learn the formula behind FedEx’s delightfully sarcastic advertising humor, and how funny brands use humorous advertising to mercilessly ridicule the boss.

FedEx marketing is one of the best in the business. Their use of advertising humor in their promos makes them one of the best funny brands around. But how does the FedEx marketing machine pull it off? They combine intelligent, funny marketing with an easily relatable message to make FedEx marketing ultimately loveable, and ultimately funny.

The Formula Behind FedEx Marketing

FedEx marketing revolves around the creative vehicle “flawed solution.” This is a formulaic style of funny marking that funny brands use to make their message funny, but also full of good content. In this style, you take a problem that is common to many of your customers. In the case of FedEx marketing, this demographic is businesspeople, so their stresses would be coworkers, bosses, and general office annoyances. So when the copy writers are given the order to target their humorous advertising to their target market, they form the promo video around one of those problems.

The second step in flawed solution promo TV is to then offer up a completely absurd solution to the problem – the crazier, the better. This is where FedEx marketing shines – it takes their absurd solutions to the next level. This brand of advertising humor is where you can really let your ad copy writers go wild.

Lastly, FedEx marketing offers their own product up as the logical, smart solution to the problem. This finishes the comedy equation by smoothly and effectively inserting a product pitch to the humorous advertising. Advertising humor is effective as a tool, and widely used effectively, especially by FedEx marketing, but alone it is worthless for even the funniest brands. Without a well-defined product-pitch in the humorous advertising, the promo video is essentially useless to the funny brand.

Great Advertising Humor from FedEx Marketing

As mentioned before, when writing copy for advertising, FedEx marketing keeps their target market in mind at all times. This means writing funny marketing directed at businesspeople and their pet-peeves. Coworkers, bosses, and office politics are all great tools, but the chart-topper for this demographic in advertising humor are all the stupid ideas that get tossed around the office. It seems every week the boss has another half-cracked idea up his sleeve, and the dutiful peons of the business world hate it. FedEx marketing latches onto this emotion and hones in on exactly what is pissing off their customers. By making the connection with humorous advertising, FedEx marketing then has permission to throw a product-pitch into the mix.

So, to review:

  • FedEx marketing gurus are masters of the “flawed solution” creative vehicle. This creative vehicle is used by funny brands to sell with a chuckle. The three steps FedEx marketing uses here are to establish a common problem with their customers, offer a completely ridiculous solution to the problem, and then finally offer a smart, logical solution involving their product.


Transcription text of the 3-Minute Emotional Marketing Lesson Video “Advertising Humor: The Creative Formula Behind FedEx Marketing Success” by Graeme Newell, emotional marketing researcher, customer loyalty researcher, and consultant at 602 Communications.


Hi I’m Graeme Newell. Today, the hidden tactics behind some of FedEx’s most popular ads.
FedEx’s Caveman ad was a Superbowl Favorite.  Why did it work so well?  Like so many other FedEx ads, it follows the popular ad formula of the flawed solution.
Here are the simple steps to the flawed solution formula.
Step One, point out one of your customer’s biggest problems.
Step Two, offer up a completely ridiculous solution. The crazier the better.  Watch how they did it in this spot.
“Well he’s a jolly good fellow, we need we need to finish those projections. And I’ll put the final presentation, Sally I’m gonna need 40 copies obviously collated. What’s going on? When we’re crunched for time Brad combines office celebrations with office business. It’s about efficiency.”
Now it’s time for step three, the product pitch.  Your smart solution gets the job done.
“It’s about efficiency. We can help. When you ship with FedEx you can work right up until the last minute, gives you more time to get stuff done. That’s a good idea. And I need to speak with you privately, I found your resume in the printer. Everyone! I found your resume in the printer. We understand, you need a partner who gives you more time. FedEx.”
“What are they doing? I believe they’re playing bear-hunter-ninja, sir.”
FedEx’s genius is that they take the flawed solution one better.  That ridiculous solution in step two isn’t just random wackiness.
“What the heck is that? These have to get to Houston. Good gravy man, if we don’t get them all there by 8 am tomorrow we’re all, doomed. Doomed! I’ll put it in a FedEx box and print out a label. Hurry man, or we’re all doomed. Doomed!”
FedEx always ridicules one of its core customer’s greatest real-world frustrations – flawed office logic.
“Carol, when you replaced casual Friday with Nordic Tuesday, was it really for fun, or to save money on heat? Why, don’t you think Nordic Tuesday’s fun? Oh no, it’s fun. You know if you’re trying to cut costs FedEx can help. We’ve got express options, fast, ground and freight options. You could save money and keep the heat on. Great idea. That is a great idea. Well, if Nordic Tuesday wasn’t so much fun. We understand, you need to save money. FedEx.”
We’ve all been there.  Everyone knows the new office policy is crazy, but still, everyone’s expected to plaster on a smile and play along.
So take a lesson from an ad comedy master like FedEx.   The flawed solution formula gives them a double barrel shot of customer connection.
A very practical solution to a problem, and a very sarcastic jab at a big customer frustration. I’m Graeme Newell and that’s emotional marketing.[/vc_column_text][stm_post_comments][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][stm_sidebar sidebar=”1162″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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