FedEx, “Change”

Headshot of Adweek Staff

Using smart, versatile products means you’re smart and versatile yourself. That simple notion has been a staple of advertising messaging for eons, and it works so well because it flatters both sides—giving the appearance of parity between buyer and seller, a mutual admiration that allows the brand to compliment the consumer without coming off as obsequious. To enliven this old standard, advertisers in recent years have taken the idea of “smart” into cartoonish territory—most notably in the Holiday Inn Express campaign from Fallon, where ordinary people displayed extraordinary intelligence (performing improbable feats for which they hadn’t trained but suddenly have innate skill) after staying at the hotel. This FedEx spot from BBDO Toronto walks those same lines, showing an office manager who’s unbelievably good at everything—just like FedEx, which specializes not only in overnight delivery but in less urgent shipping, too. The beauty here is in the details—not just the guy’s skills (sculpting, performing surgery, beating chess masters at their own game) but his assortment of trophies, diplomas and (in particular) framed records on the wall. His FedEx back tattoo is an inspired touch, too. If anything, taking the old trick of mutual flattery into comedic territory has strengthened it. Not only are you a smart guy, but you can laugh at yourself, too. -Tim Nudd