What can brown do for you? It turns out a lot, according to a new marketing theme.
Package-delivery giant United Parcel Service Inc., known for its brown trucks and uniforms, has a new global advertising campaign to let businesses know that it does more than deliver parcels.
The 107-year-old company is replacing its marketing campaign, "We Love Logistics," with the slogan "United Problem Solvers," which will appear in TV commercials during the NCAA men's basketball tournament this month and in print and digital ads in the United States, China, Germany, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
UPS is a major employer in Philadelphia, with 5,287 workers in the region, and operates its second-largest U.S. airfreight hub on Hog Island Road, next to Philadelphia International Airport. At the 681,000-square-foot sorting facility, 3,100 employees load and unload 40 flights a day that carried 223,000 tons of cargo last year from across the United States and the world.
The TV ads aim to shine a light on UPS's ability to collaborate with customers: "Bring us your problems. Your challenges. Your daydreams. Your scribbles. Your just about anything," one TV spot says.
"Because we're not just in the shipping business. We're in the problem-solving business. We're more than 400,000 'can-do' people serving over 220 countries and territories who are ready to roll up our sleeves and help solve your business problems."
Doug Gibeaut, director of advertising at UPS's Atlanta headquarters, said, "We're trying to transform UPS to some degree, in the public eye, to more of a full-service partner that offers expertise along with capabilities to help businesses move forward, whatever 'move forward' means in their plan."
For example, UPS can offer a health-care company wanting to expand to another country transportation of temperature-sensitive vaccines and other products. UPS runs warehouses and a distribution network with refrigeration down to extreme cold of minus-150 degrees centigrade (minus-238 Fahrenheit).
UPS not only delivers goods to begin with, but also handles e-commerce returns for retailers. The company said it delivered 4.7 million return packages to merchants after the holidays by the end of the first full week in January.
Through UPS Capital, the company's financial services entity, customers can insure their product for the journey, and also borrow against the in-transit inventory to "free up some cash flow while the goods are in transit, especially ocean transport," Gibeaut said. UPS does not own ships, but books space for cargo on oceangoing freighters.
The marketing campaign was developed by Ogilvy & Mather, an international advertising firm based in New York.
UPS's "What can brown do for you?" slogan debuted in 2002 as a national television and print advertising campaign. The slogan was retired in 2010.
UPS said last month that it was "disappointed" in fourth-quarter earnings. The company overstaffed for the 2014 holidays, after failing to get all packages to people in time for Christmas in 2013.
Overall, UPS is "in excellent shape," said Keith Schoonmaker, analyst at Morningstar Inc. "It's a global powerhouse for all kinds of logistics and small parcel deliveries. It's got a very strong balance sheet. It is by far the most profitable and highest return-on-capital company of its type."
UPS has "one of the world's most powerful iconic brands," Schoonmaker said. "If I told you something was going to be delivered, and I mentioned the color brown, you would know what I meant. That's pretty astonishing, to have such a strong association with one company that even to mention a color, you know what I'm talking about."
BY THE NUMBERS
Packages and documents processed per hour at UPS's Philadelphia hub.
Tons of cargo that went through the facility in 2014.
Area in square feet of the sorting facility.
Flights a day.
Source: UPS Inc.EndText