A little background on the award: In my travels when I casually meet people (on a plane, in a bar, elevator) and they ask what I do, I always reply “I’m a marketing consultant.” More and more people react to that job title as if I had said “I’m a lawyer” or worse yet, “I’m in politics.” Why? Well to quote my good friend Steve Bang, “The definition of marketing – creating the illusion we care.” Marketing has become a joke. I’ve even had people ask me if I “create lies” for companies.

That’s why I refer to myself as a “Culture Consultant” to my clients. I won’t frost pigs. I know plenty of people who do. But I just can’t do it.

Frosting a Pig means you develop a clever marketing campaign without any knowledge (or care) whatsoever if the company can execute it.

A legendary example of this?

Delta, we’re ready when YOU are.

The ad says we are on time — the experience? Not so much. Thus, the frosted pig.

So let’s get on with the award.

WINNER: FedEx Kinko’s

CAMPAIGN: No more all nighters.

TELEVISION AD: After the “boss” asks for what seems like an impossible deadline on a project, one of the worker bees says, “Well, I guess we’re gonna pull an all-nighter” and proceeds to drink coffee straight from the pot. Then an enlightened co-worker says, “No, I already contacted FedEx Kinko’s online and they are going to print it, bind it and deliver it on time!” It’s really cute.

GUERILLA CAMPAIGN: No more all nighters.

EMAIL: Subject: Get Peace of Mind with FedEx Kinko’s Print Online

WEBSITE complete with bribe

IN-STORE MERCHANDISE: Big life-size cardboard cut-out of the guy drinking (and spilling) the pot of coffee from the commercial.

ACTUAL EXPERIENCE: Last week I flew all day to Philadelphia from Seattle. My flight was delayed which didn’t give me as much time as I wanted to get to Kinko’s for my presentation the next day. Perfect timing. FedEx Kinko’s sent me an email reminding me of their “no more all-niters” campaign. Brilliant.
I uploaded my document. Received an email confirmation at 9:45 pm that they received my order. When I awoke the next morning I had an email confirmation sent at 5:56am that said:

Thank you for choosing FedEx Kinko’s. This mail confirms that we have completed your order and delivered it based on your instructions. (I am going to pick it up at the store in the Philadelphia Convention Center at 9am).

Here’s where the whole process breaks down. When I enter the store I can see the first problem. One employee in site and four people in line. The woman at the front of the line apparently is arguing over WHO is paying for the job. The FedEx Kinko’s clerk keeps handing her the phone – back and forth – you get the picture. Finally another clerk comes up and asks to help the next person. Apparently these other folks have been helped (one mentioned that he was waiting for them to RE-DO his job) and are just patiently waiting for their orders to be completed so they usher me to the front.

I give the clerk my name, offer to give him my order number. No problem he says, he found it. Then he walks over to this copy machine and holds up a stack of copies and replies, “Says here the order isn’t supposed to be ready until 10am.” (it’s 9:30am) “No” I reply “I asked for the order to be done at 9am and received an email at 7am saying the job was done.”

They made the copies, but they had not bound them into pretty presentation packets for my client. I had to wait while he drilled the holes and bound them. Took almost half an hour.

End result. I was late for my presentation. A presentation for a potentially huge client for this self-employed person who spent her small company’s money to fly all the way from Seattle to make a good impression.

I use FedEx Kinko’s a ton in my business. They don’t have a great track record with me for accuracy and I find myself giving them more time than they need to get things right. On this trip I didn’t have that luxury. I fully intended to pull an “all-niter” at Fedex Kinko’s and do the job myself. But their advertisement gave me hope.

Thanks FedEx Kinko]s for frosting the pig and proving that marketing is a lie.

Brand is your reputation. If you have a bad one, all the marketing in the world isn’t going to help you.