Graeme Newell

What is Emotional Branding? How FedEx Brands with Frustration

[vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_video link=”″ align=”center” size=”825″][vc_column_text]What is Emotional Branding?  FedEx’s emotional branding strategy is all about the powerful feeling of frustration. FedEx mercilessly pokes fun at the office politics freak show, and shows us that they understand our pain.

In this three-minute emotional branding lesson video, emotional branding expert Graeme Newell reveals the strategy behind FedEx’s emotional branding success, and explains the emotional branding strategy behind some of their most effective ad campaigns.

Transcription text of the 3-Minute Emotional Branding Lesson Video “What is Emotional Branding?  Frustration Branding Examples from FedEx” by Graeme Newell, emotional branding researcher, customer loyalty researcher, and emotional branding consultant at 602 Communications.


Hi I’m Graeme Newell and today I’m gonna to show you how FedEx uses emotional marketing to build strong customer loyalty.

In this first ad, FedEx uses the payback fantasy. It’s that carefully-rehearsed tongue lashing you’d give the office know-it-all…if you got the chance.

“Fedex ground will get these to Cleveland on Wednesday. Fedex, aren’t they a little pricey? Ned, you’re always wrong. How am I always wrong?  Ok, let’s review. Steely Dan is not one person. We get fringe benecfits, not French benefits. James Dean is an actor, Jimmy Dean makes sausage. And you know what Ned, it’s not the leaning tower of pizza. So, Fedex isn’t too expensive. We don’t get French benefits?”

Sure FedEx ads are all about productivity, but make no mistake, what makes their brand so appealing is raw contempt and frustration.

“Hi, I have a delivery for Iris Chen. The antivirus, thank you so much! You’re welcome.”

FedEx follows a very prescribed formula in a lot of its ads.  They start by identifying a business problem that FedEx can solve.

“We have got to cut costs people, ideas. We could open an account on and save 10% on online express shipping”

Next, FedEx follows up that product pitch by ridiculing the most dysfunctional things about office life.

“We could open an account on and save 10% on online express shipping. Ok how about this: we open an account on we save 10% on express shipping. You just said the same thing I did only you did this. No I did this.”

Just like the old Dilbert comic strip, FedEx bonds with customers by commiserating about the maddening inefficiency of office life.

“You have 937 messages, all of which are marked urgent”

The madness includes putting up with dysfunctional coworkers.

“Ok the presentation is tomorrow so let’s make sure we all know our usual responsibilities. Jeff, you keep feeding me old information. Dean, I need you to continue not living up to your resume. Sue you’re in charge of waffling. Are you sure? Jerome you’ll talk a big game and then do nothing. Let’s do it. Rick can you fold under pressure for me? Like a lawn chair. And Ted you just keep thinking that everyone’s out to get you. Yea. I’ll be at Fedex-Kinkos, where they’ll help me design, print, copy, and finish the proposal.”

FedEx’s brand is built on the emotion of “get ‘er done.” This means their dysfunctional-office creative approach scores on two levels.

“Haaaaa, who’s idea was it to use FedEx”

It speaks directly to FedEx’s core feature strength of efficiency.

“If you’re shipping internationally, you gotta use Fedex. Brilliant Al, you’re a real lifesaver”

And it makes an emotional connection by helping frustrated office drones blow off some steam.

FedEx mercilessly ridicules the office malcontents who frustrate us most.  They cleverly commiserate and show their services as the way out.

So take a lesson from FedEx. Sure, it’s important to make your product pitch, but don’t let that pitch crowd out what the customer values even more, an acknowledgement of their pain. By poking fun at the madness, FedEx offers a solution AND makes a friend. I’m Graeme Newell and that’s emotional marketing.

There’s lots more free training videos, white papers, and great emotional marketing examples on our website. Visit us at

Emotional Marketing

One of the key components to emotional marketing is the correct use of emotional branding to make a product shine. So what is emotional branding anyway? Emotional branding is how the best companies use emotional marketing to hone in on a single emotion associated with their brand and use it to connect on a deep, personal level with their customers.

What is Emotional Branding?

Here at 602 Communications we have poured over hundreds of branding examples to find the very best emotional marketing strategies. One of the best branding examples of emotional branding we found was how FedEx used the angst office workers feel towards their jobs and their coworkers.

FedEx’s branding is focused on the frustration that is present in every office around the world, and how FedEx can make it better. After looking at hundreds of branding examples from FedEx, we found that most of their ads follow the same formula. It starts by identifying a business problem that FedEx can solve, and then follows up by ridiculing the most dysfunctional thing about office life.

FedEx’s emotional marketing approach is a parallel to the comic strip Dilbert. It’s all about the quirks and aggravations that come along with working in an office.

Branding Examples

What is emotional branding doing for FedEx on a tangible level? Well, by using emotional branding with frustration and contempt, FedEx is able to reinforce its core emotion of “get ‘er done.” First, all the ads are squarely based around how efficient FedEx is in the face of a crazy world, and second, it forms a strong emotional bond with customers because they feel like FedEx truly understands them.

What is emotional branding doing for Nike? From the branding examples we have gone through on Nike’s brand we have found that Nike has been able to tap into the very powerful emotion of perseverance to create a truly powerful brand.

What is emotional branding doing for Cheetos? Their branding examples all paint the same picture of a person who doesn’t want to be controlled by their parents or their boss. This emotion truly has nothing to do with the snacks that they sell at all, but

Now some may ask what is emotional branding going to do for an average company. These principles of emotional marketing and emotional branding are universal – they truly work for any market you could possibly be in.

So to recap:

  • What is Emotional Branding? Emotional branding is how the best companies around the world are honing in on a single emotion or feeling and making it a part of their brand. FedEx has accomplished this by attaching the angst and frustration that office workers feel about their coworkers and bosses, much like the comic strip Dilbert.
  • Branding Examples have shown time and time again that these highly-effective companies are using this technique to create these incredibly powerful brands that transcend their products and become a friend.
  • Emotional Branding is a cornerstone to any effective Emotional Marketing strategy.

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