As every industry grapples with how to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, delivery and courier services continue to forge on. Their services are essential as the public relies on the likes of Amazon, FedEx, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and UPS not only to deliver goods but to provide comfort in a fraught time.
In some ways, seeing a brown UPS truck trundle up a street is a signal of relative normalcy. Emotionally, knowing that the show is going on, as well as it can, is reassuring.
For its part, UPS took a moment to thank customers—who, in turn, continue to thank them and other package delivery companies for their vital service. #ThanksForDelivering, in cooperation with The Martin Agency, is equal parts broadcast spot and social movement.
While armchair marketers often bemoan the use of the word “authentic,” the work is genuine, organic and is meant to recognize frontline workers by conveying a heartwarming sense of pride. In some ways, the tone feels like the brand’s annual “Wishes Delivered” campaign during the holidays, in that it is not staged and features real emotions.
According to Todd Wandtke, vp of digital marketing, advertising and brand management at UPS, the spirit of those campaigns helped contextualize the approach for this work. Still, it flowed from success operationally behind the scenes.
“When this virus started happening, keeping economies and supply chains moving forward [was vital]. Most importantly, the focus was and is on getting supplies to medical facilities, making sure that doctors, first responders and others have the equipment and supplies that they need. We started seeing these thank-you notes in these comments of appreciation.”
Interestingly, the UPS campaign includes the logos of some of its competitors, like FedEx and the USPS. According to Wandtke, there was no consideration in removing them. Additionally, the semantics of the hashtag were purposeful as well.
“I don’t have a problem if there’s a competitor listed on the thank-you notes. We’re going to take what’s real and share it,” Wandtke said. “And #ThanksForDelivering was very carefully chosen because the idea here was that it’s more than just UPS. It’s intended to be anyone … whether that’s medical first responders, the people working in grocery stores that make it possible for people to stay home and eat, or other service providers who are working hard and taking risks.”
In terms of balancing the message in the future, the blueprints are already in place, whether it’s reacting to a natural disaster or other crisis.
“UPS has always scored high, no matter the survey, on trust,” he said. “When we look at this campaign, we saw the need to energize and uplift. What’s worked for us in challenging times is being true and authentic, with empathy.”