How successful has FedEx's approach been in the past?
If you poll anyone in business today, trust, dependability and reliability are always going to be in the top one, two and three boxes when people think about FedEx. I think our ad messaging has been remarkably consistent when we focus on those areas and how important they are to customers' needs. Not only do we offer customers time and speed of delivery, but all of that is backed with trust, reliability and dependability, which the FedEx brand is known for. It makes for a pretty simple message setup and that's not getting any less relevant as times have gotten tougher.
Are you seeing an uptick in shipping activity?
FedEx is a great barometer for business conditions overall -- we always have been. We can see when people are shipping, when they're constraining and when they're investing or not.
Toward the end of the calendar year 2009, we had the world's busiest day. The amount of volume that went through our system exceeded our projections. We were expecting somewhere between 12-13 million packages, and we shipped over 14 million. That's unheard of. I see that as a very positive sign.
What's your advertising strategy for FedEx this year?
You'll see part of it with this campaign. The key word is integration. Obviously, all of the ad messaging we're doing is going to be completely integrated. Each of these five 30-second TV commercials ends with a call to action. [For instance], we understand you want to grow your business internationally. And, whereas we used to have just FedEx.com, now we're driving people to a vanity URL: FedEx.com/weunderstand.
We're driving traffic from traditional broadcast to the Web, where consumers can interact with our Web site and learn about FedEx and our services at their own pace. On that site, we've got lots of information for folks seeking value options, like FedEx Ground, and the more opportunities we have to impart that information to consumers, we'll all be better served.
We're [also] migrating some of our media choices to be more reflective of how people are consuming media. They say that lunchtime is the new prime time for businesspeople. The thing is, people are eating lunch at their desk more. That's a fact. Call it economical, call it budget stretching, whatever it is, they are eating lunch at their desks more, where they have access to broadband Internet right there at the workplace. That is another opportunity for us to make an impact and serve up some important information to them.