Fairytales are the ultimate format of storytelling. We all grew up with them and most can relate to them. However, when brands resort to them it can be risky business.
In my opinion, it failed.
The ad is meant to remind customers of FedEx’ commitment to the environment but does it pretty poorly in my opinion. Here’s what they say on their official microsite promoting the initiative.
Whether it’s our growing fleet of lower emission planes, recycled shipping materials or carbon-neutral envelope shipping, FedEx can help you reduce your impact on the environment. It may sound like a fairytale, but it’s all part of EarthSmart® – FedEx Solutions for a more sustainable world. This is our commitment to you, the environment and to enchanted forests everywhere.
The YouTube ad did generate over 100,000 views and garnered many likes, but on further examination of the comments, it appears that while the ad was entertaining, it didn’t resonate with the target audience…
Failing to Host the Conversation
Another major fail was missing the opportunity to host the conversation. FedEx created a Facebook app inviting visitors to plant virtual trees and adorn them with their faces.
For the first 100,000 virtual trees, Fed Ex promised to help the Arbor Day Foundation. plant the trees’ real life counterparts to help reforestation efforts in areas blighted by drought and wildfires.
Annoyingly, they do not allow for users to continue the conversation on Facebook. One of 3 mistakes (see below).
When Storytelling Goes Wrong
BBDO were way off mark with this campaign. Here’s where they went wrong.
- Mistake #1: They misjudged their audience. The target audience is not interested in Fairytales. While the attempt is cute and fuzzy. I can’t see how a typical FedEx Customer can relate to it. In fact, when they announced the ad on their FedEx fan page, it was largely met with negative comments about failed delivery and rude drivers (see right for example). See also above example comment on their YouTube page.
- Mistake #2: They failed to host the conversation. FedEx had an opportunity to host the environment discussion on Facebook. They missed it. Had they done that, they would’ve shown that they are serious about this topic and stayed away from addressing their shortcomings in their deliveries (their core business).
- Mistake #3: They trivialized a serious topic. The environment is serious business. They trivialized it by associating it with fairytale. Granted they stripped it back to reality towards the end but it simply does not work.
All-in-all, a brand story fail. as I mentioned in previous posts, storytelling is not a fad, if not executed properly it can massively backfire. In this instance – I believe- it did.
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