Agency’s Ice-Cold Prank Turns DHL’s Rivals Into DHL Advertisers

Delivery service denies involvement

Some evil genius of an agency is getting global buzz for delivery service DHL with a endearingly cold prank on the brand's rivals. There's just one problem: DHL didn't have anything to do with it.

In a video that's exploded across the Web over the last two days, we see how delivery services like UPS were tricked into toting around large packages that were essentially mobile billboards saying, "DHL is faster." The stunt was supposedly accomplished by wrapping the boxes in thermo-active foil that, when cooled, hid the message until well after the packages had been picked up by the competition.

Many viewers debated whether the stunt was real or fake, which still isn't quite clear. What is certain, though, is that it's not an official ad for DHL.

In an email to Consumerist, DHL issued the following denial of responsibility:

"This was not something that was initiated by DHL. The video was created by an external agency for their own internal competition. We were aware in advance of the intention to use it for this purpose. We were not aware of any plans to share it externally."


The brand stopped short of naming the agency behind the "Trojan Mailing," but the supposed video case study, already viewed more than 600,000 times, is hosted by German firm Jung von Matt/Neckar.

Real or staged, it's hard-hitting advertising at its best. Attention grabbing and not afraid to show its teeth, but also clever enough to avoid just being obnoxious.

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.