UPS Ad Doesn’t Deliver ...

UPS Truck

I’ve been impressed by UPS and how the company’s PR team embraces storytelling techniques.

I highlighted how UPS landed a Journal article around training, not the type of topic that typically cracks a national daily.

A second post on UPS analyzed BusinessWeek Bloomberg coverage titled “Squeezing More Out of Brown.”

UPS gets it.

Which is why I was so surprised to see such a dull full-page ad from the company in The New York Times.

The headline starts off promising:

“How Logistics Can Save Your Life.”

But the body copy falls flat.

There’s zero drama.

There’s not even a contrarian wrinkle.

Here’s how the story starts:

Healthcare is an enormously complex industry, characterized by constant change and its impact on the lives of patients everywhere.

Logistics is critical to the industry. The best medicines, the most effective devices, are all worthless if they can’t reach patients at the right time.

As Dudley Moore said in the original Arthur, “I’ll alert the media.”

Even the quotes from customers have that robotic quality that only comes when corporate copywriting displaces how people talk in real life:

“UPS was the only company who understood our needs and how to fulfill them. We have the flexibility to scale up or down as we …”

Plus, skip to the end of this post and take in the visual appeal of the scanned ad.

It looks horrible.

No one is going to take the time to read close to 300 words that are so uninviting.

And if a brave soul does venture forward, the lead graph should derail further reading.

This is a perfect example of choosing the wrong medium for the content.

If it’s about promotion as opposed to storytelling, then come up with a couple clever graphs, a decent visual, and be done with it. Nothing offends like sales literature copy masquerading as a story.

Personally, I think UPS should have turned the assignment over to their PR team to craft this narrative.

ups ad scan
Click here for a larger version of the ad.

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