UPS Commercial Is Stupid Business Move

    March 16, 2012
    Mike Tuttle
    Comments are off for this post.

It was twenty years ago this month that UK fans were handed one of the greatest disappointments of our basketball-loving lives. It was the 1992 NCAA East Regional Finals. The Elite Eight. Duke vs. Kentucky. It was a battle to go to the Final Four. Coach Mike Krzyzewski vs. Coah Rick Pitino.

UK was 12 points down in the second half and came back to tie the game with 33.6 seconds left. The game goes into overtime. After what seemed like an hour of OT play, Kentucky is up 103-102. Until… The Shot.

You have to understand, Kentuckians don’t talk about The Shot. And, anytime we do, it is followed with a spit and a curse. In Wildcat Country, it is like the death of JFK. Every single UK fan old enough to know about that game remembers exactly where they were when it happened. I was standing in a WalMart in central Kentucky. Dozens of us were gathered around televisions in the Electronics department. The store staff had handed out popcorn. After thunderous cheering, things got really quiet, like some natural disaster had just ended and we were surveying the broken landscape.

Wildcat fans are not sore losers about that game. What enrages us is that we feel Laettner should have been ejected for stomping on Aminu Timberlake earlier in that same game. It was a vicious, purposeful thing to do, and Laettner has admitted to waiting for his moment to do it.

Laettner was not ejected. He was assessed a technical foul and played on. This is the key to understanding the state of mind of a UK fan when The Shot is mentioned. It’s about fairness.

As UK fan Ben Parks points out, we got our “revenge” in 1998 against Duke with a Cameron Mills 3-pointer.

But still, we don’t talk about it. And, the fine folks at UPS damn well should have known better.

United Parcel Service employs lots of people in Kentucky. UPS Airlines is headquartered in Louisville. They are not ignorant of the culture in this state and the soreness that game represents. Yet, as part of their “Logistics” line of commercials, UPS saw fit to use the 20-year anniversary of the game as fodder for promoting their business.

Notice… “That changes the game…” — Laettner hits shot, beating Kentucky — “…and that is what we do.”

UPS is using the commercial to talk about the “logistics” of the pass to Laettner. But, they are ignoring the sensitive issue of his unsportsmanlike conduct earlier in the game. We Big Blue Nation fans respect someone who can beat us fair and square . (Ask anyone who watched the Indiana game this year.) To Kentuckians, Laettner is not a hero. He’s a cheater who ended up winning. Not a smart business plan to align yourself with that guy in Kentucky.

“That is what we do.”

UK fans are ticked. And, in case you haven’t heard, Kentucky is to basketball what Alabama is to football. It’s a religion here. We fired our last coach because he didn’t bleed enough blue.

Kentucky state senator Ernie Harris graduated from Kentucky, he flew UPS planes, and he is the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He is among the many Kentuckians who think the ad is in poor taste in a state that has supported and staffed UPS for years.

The UPS Facebook page is currently playing host to a lively discussion about the commercial. A few comments from the post:

“UPS should be supporting this community that they care so much about… Not hating on its fans!”

“Apparently UPS is attempting to get some legislature passed in their favor – Contact your area representative and voice your outrage…Tell them NOT to pass the legislature UPS is wanting…”

“This is the greatest ad I’ve ever seen… for FedEx.”

“I just want to know what ad exec would actually say, “Hey, I’ve got it. Let’s do a commercial about the shot heard around the world in ’92. Oh, and let’s show it during March Madness.” UK has the biggest fan base of any other college team… What kind of results were you expecting from this, really?!”

“Hey clueless execs, way to boost FedEX revenue. Idiots.”

“Will never use UPS again. GO BIG BLUE!”

“Really, how long has UPS been in Louisville KENTUCKY, your ad team must be sniffing jet fuel. Looks like my new prefered carrier is anyone but UPS.”

“They need to pull this ad immediately and apologize for it.”

“This guy just joined Team FedEX”

“FedEx thanks you for this horrible commercial. GO BIG BLUE!!!”

“It’s not the shot that pisses people off about that moment it’s the fact that Laettner stomped on the chest of Timberlake and should not have been in that game at that moment. He gets glorified for the good he did and the AWFUL gets swept under the rug. So UPS the moral of this story is you are supporting a scumbag and slapping ALL UK fans in the face!!!”

“Perhaps UPS needs to be more aware of their Central Ky base. If they were, they would realize that we are fanatic about our Big Blue ball…and we will literally drive a few extra miles to get to a FedEx now.”

“UPS will never get another dime from me”

UPS has responded to the comments on its page by linking to a blog written by an employee, a UK fan, basically telling UK fans that it is in the past and that they should get over it:

“I know our new ads will anger some UK fans, but if you truly look at that game with an objective eye, it’s hard to think of a better example of what determined people working together toward a common goal can accomplish – and that’s what UPS is all about.

No one should think that UPS has some kind of anti-UK bias. On the contrary, UPS loves Kentucky. We love it so much we established our primary air hub in the commonwealth, which has driven the creation of 33,000 jobs with $300 million in annual payroll.”

“Hard to think of a better example…”? How stupid is this guy? Digging the hole even deeper.

“… driven the creation of 33,000 jobs…” In other words, we make jobs here. So, shut up.

That is what we do.

This approach is not working well either, judging by comments on that blog post:

“Do you really think using this ad will boost business? I will not use UPS again. I will use Fed Ex or the U.S. mail. I’m sure you don’t care, however it will make me feel better every time the U.S. mail truck or the Fed Ex truck makes my deliveries. Hows that for logistics?”

“I cannot imagine why UPS would think this commercial in anyway speaks to logistics! “Logic” would dictate that you have just alienated millions of Big Blue Nation fans! Your analysis, albeit from a so called UK fan point of view does not make this horrible commercial palatable! I shipped a package from Lexington today and specifically used FedEx because of this commercial ….logistics….I think not!! GO BIG BLUE!”

The blogger responeded:

“Thanks for your comments. Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we approached this campaign very carefully, including sharing the materials with the University of Kentucky, who approved their use.

Personally I can’t allow myself to dwell on the past. I was inspired by the effort and teamwork displayed by “the Unforgettables” and even though the loss was painful, I look back at that moment with nothing but a deep sense of pride.

The commercial isn’t a commentary about the players or the teams involved, or even specifically about college basketball. We’re just using this game as a metaphor about logistics and the value UPS brings to our customers.”

Why would this company – why would ANY company – argue with its customers?! Maybe because they think of them as their workers rather than their customers? That is what we do. But, that only made things worse:

“I am a UK grad who thought people were overreacting to the commercial…until I saw the response from UPS and from you. If the commercial wasn’t about college basketball, why did it debut on Selection Sunday and why did you ‘approach this campaign very carefully?’ UPS should just own up to the fact the powers that be KNEW there would be a negative reaction from a large fan base in the state that is home to the company’s primary air hub. Own up to the decision. Condescension doesn’t sit well on anyone, especially a large corporation in a rough economy.”

“Here’s an idea for your next UPS ad. How about you detail the “logistics” of a major company receiving huge tax breaks from a state as an incentive to move there. Then you could show the “teamwork” required to make an ad highlighting the most heartbreaking moment in that state’s sports history. Sounds like another winner. It’s bad you wrote this post trying to justify the ad, but to do so in such a condescending manner explaining to everyone how great the play the play makes it even worse.”

“If what you are saying is true, then use footage from another upset against UK. It isn’t the shot we remember, it is the fact that Laettner should never have been allowed to play at that point in the game. He should have been ejected. Being beat wasn’t what made the game memorable for true UK fans, it was being beat by someone with no class who was rude towards our players. You don’t literally step on the chest of another player and have class. Use footage from our Indiana game this year. Use any other footage at all but using this one particular game proves you don’t have any idea of what you are doing as a marketing expert. Know the whole story, not just part of it. Use a game that ended with class and show that you are smart enough to not turn your back on an entire state of fans.”

Most of the debate is about whether or not Kentucky fans should “get over it” and try to understand how this all relates to “logistics”. But, the execs at UPS should really be asking themselves right now, “Is it smart, from a business perspective, to be seen as using something this emotionally sensitive to this many people to advertise in their own state? Is it wise to pair something people loathe with ‘That is what we do‘?”

Or, maybe UPS figures we will all just shut up since they are writing checks in this state?

Stepdad said he wasn’t using @UPS anymore because of the Duke commercial. I agree and we’ll be using @FedEx from now on! :) #GoCats 18 hours ago via Echofon ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Note FedEx’s reply…

@jami_lauren Oh no! Check out what we shared about the commercial at our blog: http://t.co/n2VneHIf 18 hours ago via HootSuite ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

These people aren’t forgetting. If UPS doesn’t understand why, they didn’t do their research. Maybe Fed Ex will.

Tip for UPS: Showing me a Duke v. Kentucky game in your commercial isn’t likely to make me buy your product or service. 10 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

#UPS conveniently leaving out fact that laettner shouldve been ejected earlier 4 stomping timberlake http://t.co/6v50M53F 13 hours ago via HootSuite ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

The UPS commercial about the Duke shot/pass makes me want to ship Fed X #Wolfblood 12 hours ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Proposing boycotting UPS if they keep showing that damn Duke shot. Never forget! #BBN 12 hours ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

@ups your new commercial with the the shot from Duke/UK game is horrible. Way to lose customers from an entire state. 11 hours ago via TwitBird ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Dear #UPS – every time I see Duke, Coach K, or Laettner in your ads I become more determined to use FedEx for all my packages. #DukeSucks 10 hours ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

That marketing person for UPS should be FIRED!!! Don’t they know how HUGE #BBN is and how much we hate DUKE!! #UKlovesFEDEX 10 hours ago via Twitter for Android ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

  • http://www.webpronews.com/author/john-vinson John Vinson

    lol, I heart you UK fans.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/mike-tuttle Mike Tuttle

      In a NC vs Duke game, we’d always have your back, John.

  • Pete

    Duke sucks.

  • Chris

    UPS is using a clip of what they consider an “example of what determined people working together toward a common goal can accomplish.” Really? So UPS really wants to take this example of Christian Laettner, who should have been ejected for his blatant action of stomping Eminu Timberlake in the torso? That is what determined people working together toward a common goal do to accomplish a win, by resorting to flagrant bodily harm? By equating UPS’s logistical services with the act of maliciously attacking another competitor, wouldn’t that in fact say that you somehow are willing to do harm to your competitors as well? From a marketing standpoint, that seems to be a pretty bone headed move, but what do I know? I switched to Fed Ex even before this UK/Duke commercial controversy because your rates are higher than Fed Ex. How’s that for logistics?

    • tdean

      Are you people really serious? Thirty people just got killed in a storm last week in Kentucky and you people are griping over a commercial thats not even about you. You really think UPS cares if they lose half the state of Kentucky. I mean are you people really not educated or is this some kind of joke?

      • Mike King

        Hey Dumb Ass
        Way to display your superior intellect, we’re really impressed.

  • taylor

    FedEx for life! Go Cats!

  • CD

    Christian Watford’s 3 would have been a better example!

  • Sarah

    The “greatest comeback in history” would have been a better example of working towards a coining goal. How can the UK v LSU game where UK came back from 33 down in the second half not be a better “logistical” commercial??

    • tyrone gee

      Two teams that did not even make the Sweet Sixteen that year. That would have been a great commercial to show during the tourney . Not!

  • BkfromAk

    What a bunch of sore losers you UK fans are. You guys live in the past anyways, sense that’s the only time your team was any good. So embrace your part in history and suck it up losers.

    • Tom

      Yeah UK wasn’t in the final four last year or anything. Ancient history. Clueless in AK would be more apt.

      • UKFan

        Hey dip shit yes we were in the final four. Get your facts straight before you spout shit out of your mouth!

    • lynn

      Why don’t u learn how to spell ? Do u not know the difference between since & sense. U have no sense, and a lot of jealous !

    • lynn

      BkfromAk, why are u so jealous of Kentucky?

    • Ksuesmom

      Um… Feel stupid for saying that now? HAHA!

  • lynn

    Will Never Use UPS AGAIN! Shame on u , UPS!!!!

  • Jeff

    I can remember throwing a chair across the living room when that shot was made. Will never use UPS again! No class!

  • Melissa

    Complete idiots at UPS for thinking this wouldn’t cost them tons of customers in the state of Kentucky. We bleed blue here and we will never forget the blatant actions of Laettner stomping on the chest of Timberlake. What he did showed very unsportsmanlike behavior and he should’ve been ejected. If he had been ejected and Hill had made the shot, it would’ve still been disappointing, but we’d have accepted it. To compare your company to that game is like committing business suicide. Big Blue Nation does not forget! It’s alright, I have a Fed Ex here in my town. And if I need to, I can always use the US Postal Service. Way to go, Brown…

  • Pat Dobson

    Kentucky fans are the absolute worst in the world. You are all a bunch of classless jerks. Why don’t you have a little sportsmanship and congratulate Duke for a great hard fought victory? How about being complimentary for a well designed play and execution? How about ripping your own coach and player for poor planning and defense? No, you jerks want to rip a class institution like Duke and UPS. You people suck.

    • j.kaiser

      Do you work for Duke or UPS? It has to be one or the other.

      By the way, why hasn’t anybody mentioned that Laettner is currently awaiting a Contempt of Court hearing for failing a pay a judgement that was awarded to the CAPTAIN OF HIS OWN TEAM for FRAUD. Classy, so classy. I am sure his alma mater is so very proud of their criminal almuni.

      • UKFan

        So you must think its okay to actually step on people to get your way. Wow glad I don’t know you!

    • JKPotter

      If you define worst as loyal, then I would agree. If you don’t like KY that’s one thing. But please tell me you’re not a Duke fan. There are people who live in the neighborhood of Duke University who sport NC bumper stickers that state “Duke sucks.” These are people who probably profit from the parental pockets of Duke students and they still won’t support the United States’ most despised university. When Lehigh just recently upset them, the whole country celebrated. Laettner even admitted on ESPN’s “Battle Lines” that he deliberatly stomped on Timberlake and was concerned with getting ejected. He knew what he did was wrong. His ejection would possibly have been the difference in that game. Either way, even if Duke had managed to win without Laettner it would not have rubbed us the wrong way. It would have been honorable. That win was no more honorable than what UK did to get it’s late 80s NCAA suspensions. No honest UK fan will ever deny we got what we deserved out of that investigation and no one can deny that Laettner should have been ejected in what has been hailed as the greatest college basketball game of all time.

  • Dawn

    I am not a UK fan, but I am from KY so I know how crazy the fans there are. What I find the most interesting is how those in the state in which I live now make fun of KY fans for their behavior. I especially love how funny others think the UPS commercial is. Not only that, but do you honestly think losing UK fans is going to hurt their business? Most things that they ship you don’t even have control over. Get over it!!!!! Honestly, I think kentuckians are the only ones who really remember “the shot”!

    • Joy

      When will people understand it isnt “the shot” we have a problem with and it isnt even “the lose” it is “the stomp”…
      What is UPS trying to teach our kids..that it is OK for a Senior (who admitted he did it on purpose) to stomp on a Freshman…?

      • tyrone gee

        What does the stomp have to do with anything? They didnt throw him out and whose to say they would have anyway. It might have just been a tech. The commercial is not about the game people.

      • JKPotter

        Maybe you should learn to frame your arguments a little better. The simple fact that there is a message board over all this is proof positive that Kentuckians aren’t the only ones who remember “the shot.” Why did several ESPN experts choose to call this game the greatest in the history of college basketball? Why did UPS choose “the shot” as an example of what they consider logistics. Strictly speaking, “the shot” was an example of great tactics. Logistics is better represented in the manner in which Pitino rebuilt a shattered KY program out of ashes and memories.

  • Greg

    Dawn, if you think Kentuckians are the only ones that remember “the shot,” then why would UPS use it in their commercial to begin with?

  • James

    How unbelievably stupid can management be? This is like trying to boost the Muslim image by saying logistically they did a great job of planning for 9/11.

    • tdavis

      Yea thats nice ! Lets compare Kentucky losing a ball game 20 years ago in the Elite 8 to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Thats a classy move.

  • KDPearson

    One part of this whole UPS fiasco that I haven’t seen discussed is the complete negation of the Unforgettables. To further show how out of touch UPS is with the Kentucky fan base UPS goes full 1984 and wipes Richie Farmer, Deron Feldhaus, John Pelphrey, and Sean Woods from history. UPS argues that this is the greatest game ever and that is why they are using this video. But apparently only one team was important. The Unforgettable we can forget. I’ll never forget.

    Oddly The video is called “The Shot” not “The Pass”. Why? Because the pass was undefended (thanks Pitino), it was the easy part. Is UPS’s motto, “We Do The Easy Part.” Or, “UPS, We Deliver When There Are No Obstacles.”

  • Tracy

    If you want to make your voice heard (in addition to letting off steam on a blog). Every time the commercial comes on, dial 1-800-PICK-UPS (1-800-742-5877). Wait on hold until someone answers then either hang up say something nice “GO UK” perhaps, or keep the agent on the phone until the game come on (just don’t be rude). This will register on UPS’s call center statistics in a big way if enough people do it. Trust me, they watch these statistics like crazy. It won’t change the world, but it will get their attention.

  • TeresainSC

    Well, I guess UPS really looks stupid now that Duke lost to a 15-seed.

    I can’t say I’m sorry. Obviously, they have no big sports fans among the ad executives at UPS. If they did, someone would have said this sounded like a bad idea. Take one of the most painful losses in a rabid fan base’s history and rub it in our faces, during another NCAA tournament run where Kentucky is going in as the No. 1 seed?

    Think of what they could have done.
    Anthony Davis, most likely National Player of the Year… He gets beautiful, perfect passes all the time that lead to outrageous dunks.

    Or even better, show four great players from tournaments past or this year from different teams, who will likely be heroes from this year’s tournament, getting perfect passes, making great dunks.

    Make tons of fan bases feel happy and excited about March Madness and think UPS understands sports fans and celebrates with us.

    How hard is that?

    I think I could be a UPS ad exec.

  • Rocky

    Now maybe UPS can run a commercial showing Duke getting beat by Lehigh!

  • Chris

    Lifelong UK fan here, but I think you all are crazy. The commercial is about Grant Hill’s pass, and it was an amazing pass. UPS is right – if the pass would’ve been off, the shot couldn’t have been taken. Kudos to UPS for a well-made commercial that honors the Greatest Game Ever Played. They weren’t sticking it to anyone, and they certainly didn’t care that CL should’ve been ejected. They were commenting on the Pass more than the shot, and both were incredible plays. (Oh, and, you should realize there are many, many U of L fans who work for UPS, and I’m certain they like the commercial and their employer, too!)

    C’mon, guys. Lighten up, or you are definitely casting yourselves as sore losers.

    • Tony Dobbs

      The lifelong UK fan that thinks everybody is crazy. Best post on this sight. I am also glad to see your a UK fan too. I am also and was quiet ashamed of the response the commercial got. There are thousands of college basketball games every year for the last fifty years at least. I am lowballing here but lets just say for arguments sake that there have been a half million basketball games in the history of college basketball and this game is considered the greatest ever. This game is going to be and has already been referenced to alot. It is not about either school. You should be honored that you were a part of a game that was played twenty years ago and is still that popular. The guys that played for Kentucky are. Petty stuff!

  • Pat Dobson

    How many Duke coaches were drunks? None. UK has had their share. Don’t even try to compare the class of the Duke program to the classless UK program. UK would sell their soul to the devil if that would get them to the final four. And for the idiot to try and compare the UPS commercial to Muslims and 9/11, you are seriously deranged. Please get some help. And to the person wanting to call UPS and hand up when they answer. Seriously? What are you, 10 years old? You are all a bunch of classless douchbags. Get a life.

    • Rick

      Hey dummie (Pat). How many times do you think UK has been to the final four? We’ve been there more times than most schools have even made the touriment. And as far as the drunk goes, his ass was shipped back to Texas (by Fed-Ex).

  • Pat Dobson

    Hey brain surgeon (Rick). It’s spelled “dummy” and “tournament”. Looks like that UK diploma has done you well. I think you might be a natural born leader for this group to come up with even more juvenile ways to get back at UPS for being so insensitive to the big blue faithful. You guys are going to boycott UPS, call and hang up when they answer the phone. WOW. What’s next? Egging their trucks? That’ll get ’em. Maybe the UK fans can call them stinker heads whenever a brown truck passes by. You people are beauties.

    • Eli Mack

      You people are crazy! I think that sums it up pretty good. I happen to know one of the players on that team and guess what? None of them are upset about it. Your letting something bother you that is not even given a second thought by the players who played in it and lost. Now really think about that.

  • mike john hussey

    Help me on this guys. Father is telling his son about “the pass”. His son says how high was it, knee-high or shoulder-high? Father replies, “No it was Le-high”.

  • wingeddog

    It was a very lucky pass/shot. I don’t want to have to be lucky with logistics! Getting my stuff where it is needed shouldn’t be some sort of hail Mary situation. The ad could have been like this great spoof ad from the movie crazy people: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcG0oIpt1ew