Fed-Ex has thumbed their nose at the old guard way of advertising early in the year and instead opted for online video. So don't hold your breath on the uber-cool Fed-Ex Super Bowl commercial as it just won't be there. Does this mark a major shift from broadcast to online?

Fed-Ex has had a Super Bowl spot for about the last 20 years. This year they will not. That's a sudden and major shift for the package delivery giant. They have even had ads rated "most memorable" and won several awards over that span. Fed-Ex has put part of the blame on the state of the economy saying they just couldn't see it being a justifiable expense.

This will make for an interesting year at the Super Bowl. Remember those old commercials that said when Merrill Lynch spoke, people listened. Well how about when Fed-Ex acts, people follow...

Next Monday Fed-Ex will unveil the first online video in its new campaign. They will have five three-minute short films featuring Fred Willard that they hope will spread virally across the web. Of the campaign Willard said it felt more like sketch comedy than commercial.

The premise of this first round of ads is a humorous infomercial look at Fed-Ex and its services. Even though they are poking fun at the infomercial genre they are taking on many of the attributes including the ability to include far more information than the standard television 30 or 60-second spots. The videos will appear on a dedicated YouTube channel, and on FedEx's own Web site.

The campaign could end up being a 'make or break' deal for them as they have recently posted massive losses ($876M) based on high fuel and low economic situations.

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Steve Pacheco, director of advertising at FedEx, said,

"we're still very involved in television, especially with all our sports and sponsorship support But digital advertising and communication is taking a bigger role in the overall plan, because we try to scale our media plan to be where our customers are." (Source: N Y Times)

That TV presence may or may not include a future spot at the Super Bowl, but with the $3M price tag for a 30-second shot it seems unlikely. The amount of advertising they can do online for that same amount is probably astronomical in relation.

In fact, Tod Sacerdoti, CEO of Brightroll, said, "this is a great sign for the industry." He doesn't believe that it will be an instant gold rush but that it shows the higher value of a more targeted, more frequent online audience is becoming apparent, at least to Fed-Ex.

Of course it could still be an absolute failure if they just take all the $3M and put it into creative and not media buy.

"A similar ratio of media spend to production cost should be consistent on either broadcast or online. You just get a lot more for your money online in regards to media buying," said Tod.

Sure that $3 million dollars might net you 50 to 100 million views, but will many of those people ever have a use for the product? That's something that's always been a question with the Super Bowl. Perhaps this is the first step in a larger move online and with a big name like Fed-Ex taking the leap many others will be watching and waiting to see how it goes.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristophorRick ChristophorRick

    I don't know what that had to do with anything really. So what if media hasn't commented on poor quality of some videos? And what kind of quality are we talking about? Content? Resolution? Stream quality? I guess if you're not at all specific in your opinions you might argue that there was no contradiction... That's the whole point of being overly vague right? Or was it just to get some backlinks to your blog from ReelSEO?

  • http://onemarketmedia.com/blog/ Jimm Fox

    Christophor, no contradiction - my point was that I was surprised mainstream media has chosen not to comment on the poor quality of the videos.

  • http://www.weberpowerproducts.com/ Bill

    The ROI on super bowl ads has to be so extremely poor that they would be better hand delivering flyers to households. I understand the impact and need for branding, but a company just has too much money if they can afford to pay so much to get so little in return. That's just my opinion, but I'd like to see a reasonable ROI on any advertising I do!

  • http://onemarketmedia.com/blog/ Jimm Fox

    Christopher, if this new video series is truly a 'make or break' moment for Fedex as you point out, the company is in trouble. Surprisingly (or not) I haven't heard a negative comment about the quality, value, or possible negative impact to the brand of these videos from any of the mainstream media. This is a watershed moment in many ways for the company and I can't imagine how anyone could characterize these videos as anything but a failure. But then again, I don't rely on Fedex advertising revenue.

    Read further at http://www.onemarketmedia.com/blog

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristophorRick ChristophorRick

      Well Jim (spell my name wrong, I do the same),

      I haven't heard a negative comment about the quality, value, or possible negative impact to the brand of these videos from any of the mainstream media.

      So what you're saying is that the videos they've made are really good quality, have value and no negative impact on the brand...I don't see how that's going to hurt them.

      This is a watershed moment in many ways for the company and I can't imagine how anyone could characterize these videos as anything but a failure.

      And then you contradict yourself...I'm not clear on the point you're trying to make. But simply put, they're going to have a far better targeted campaign than dumping $3M on 30 seconds for an audience that could give two shits about FedEx in general. Let's all take a moment to collect our thoughts here and make some interesting and cohesive arguments shall we?

      This is a major step for FedEx, 18 years running they've been at the Super Bowl. It's a guaranteed number of views each year (+/- some percentage). But they obviously have decided that putting that money to use elsewhere (ERGO ONLINE) was a far better decision. If they're right, they could be paving the way for others to run for a TD with online video (to use a football metaphor). that in and of itself is a win for FedEx, even if everyone only watches their videos just to see Fred Willard as an infomercial host in some sketch comedy :)