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FedEx, for the first time in 12 years, will not advertise in the 2009 Super Bowl

December 22, 2008

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Make no mistake, our advertising presence in 18 Super Bowls since 1989 has strategically allowed FedEx to establish itself as a household name.  And it is indisputable that the Super Bowl is the only single event where an advertiser can reach a global audience of this size . . . last year almost 98 million people watched the game.

FedEx has become synonymous with Super Bowl advertising and we’ve had some amazing marketing moments.  To name a few, giant carrier pigeons wreaked havoc and tossed cars in our CGI city, the Stanley Cup wound up in Bolivia, we learned that the cherished Castaway package contained a survival kit, blank color bars surprised all when we learned the network did not use FedEx one year and the EMMY award-winning “Stick,” featuring the FedEx cave men, showed us that FedEx rocked the prehistoric age.

But times have changed.

As a country, we are in unprecedented economic waters.  And as a responsible employer of more than 290,000 employees and contractors worldwide, there is a time to justify such an ad spend and a time to step back. 

As FedEx employees, we, like millions of people at other companies, are being asked to do more with less.  Our most vital asset is the thousands of FedEx team members who truly enable the world to work, absolutely, positively, every day.  In the ultimate medium when where the message is king, being in the game simply sends the wrong message both to employees and other FedEx constituents.  A Super Bowl ad buy is not where we should put dollars at this time although, in the past, the value of doing so for FedEx has been indisputable. 

I’m proud to say that we’ve had quite the run.  FedEx has talked directly with hundreds of millions of customers over the years through the Super Bowl and launched the FedEx brand in some incredibly funny and memorable ways. 

We look very forward to the time when it makes sense for FedEx to advertise in the Super Bowl again.  For now, it’s just time for us to call a time out.


    peanut says:

    Well said.

    Matt Scheer says:

    This is another example of FedEx doing what is right for everyone involved. This decision demonstrates fiscal responsibility for the company, and its’ employees (People) who provide customers with outstanding (Service), helping to keep the company more (Profit)able. The PSP philosophy at work.

    Jim says:

    It’s a shame that FedEx won’t be advertising in the Super Bowl this time around. I always look foward to with the advertising folks at FedEx come up with.

    I believe this is a wise move in view of the the current economic conditions. As a leader in the field of P.S.P. that is what we do. We lead the pack not follow it. A tip of the hat to whomever had the forsight to get this done. Ed Robinson RTD–satr/tx/78216

    dave simms says:

    Right thing to do for all the right reasons- thanks for sharing Steve- I am sure future ads will be as strong and impactful as ever.
    Thanks for all you and your team do for to share our great company spirit and image with our customers.

    George says:

    now if we could get the golf, nascar and orange bowl..

    Very responsible move, especially since the value of a Super Bowl ad is debatable. If there was already creative done in advance, perhaps you could still release the ads via YouTube or some other medium…

    That is an incredibly warm business message, that I wish more companies embraced!

    Tip of the hat to you FedEx!

    Mario says:

    Transparent, sincere, respectful of your environment. This is what FedEx is all about and this post communicates thru and thru this. Amazing folks, my sincere respects.

    Wow! I applaud your decision. The insight to how your employees may have responded to your expenditure in this economic time is truly admirable. I hope your example is followed by other large corporations. Big companies are made up of little people, real people. Not many corporate giants recognize that.

    You have shown that you REALLY care- it’s not just lip service.

    Ed says:

    Steve, That is an impressive stance and shows the value you place on your employees, customers, partners, and the community. Drawing down this sort of spend sends the right message in light of the tough choices we all have to make in this uncertain economy. I am sure FedEx will return triumphantly to the big game before long.

    A great step in the direction of corporate responsibility. Here’s hoping others follow suit!

    Alicia Matthews says:

    I understand that it costs millions of dollars to do an ad for the Super bowl. I am probably not aware of what it costs for one commercial. But it is rare that you get such a large audience of 98 million at one time. Normally, in the past there would be several commerials about FedEx during the Super Bowl. Some good and some, not so good. However, if Mr. Smith decided to change his mind, which I am sure this is final. What about doing just one commercial describing the changing times, saying for instant, from the beginning in 1973 when FedEx first started until now? You can depend on FedEX whether in good times or changing times, FedEx will always be there for you. End it with the famous motto, “Relax it’s FedEx”.

    As a long time FedEx fan, and former employee, I must say I’m sad to hear this news, but I understand! It’s a tough time, economically, for everyone. I have enjoyed the many years of funny commercials, especially the caveman ones of a couple of years ago..

    Marie says:

    I’ve always been proud of our GREAT commercials during the Super Bowl but I applaud our Exec. Management’s decision to tighten our belts during this tough economic time.

    Don’t worry, this is not the end of our Super Bowl advertising. We will be back with bigger, better and bolder commercials that showcase our absolute, positive attitude toward meeting our customers expectations and taking care of their golden packages!

    Mike says:

    I applaud your decision to not advertise during the Super Bowl. Not because of the economic times…which are not as bad as everyone is trying to project…but because not supporting an event and an sport that has basically run its course is smart business. With your trucks, airplanes and stores everywhere, I think that is great advertising. Keeping your shipping costs level or reducing them, will draw more customers and create new ones. Also, I think commend you for taking other financial steps to keep your costs in line. Now if all those who are trying to hammer big business and are applauding you for reducing exec compensation, how about all of you hammering the ridiculous salaries given to the athletes. Now that would be a cause worth fighting for. Let’s be consistent, shall we?

    Deby says:

    I believe FedEx has multi-year contracts on some of these, so may not be able to “drop out”. I am confident that FedEx is trying to cut these costs, as well – and will do so as quickly as they can within the limits of their contractual obligations.

    Fred says:


    Todd Armstrong says:

    Congratulations. Bold Move.

    With everything gone topsy-turvy, I suspect a study will be done soon that concludes corporations were duped out of billions of dollars by the Professional Sports Establishment through excessive valuations of naming rights for stadiums, sponsorships and advertising. Just like the free-wheeling Wall St. execs, everyone involved in pro sports needs to be told the free ride is over. Maybe we’ll get back to reasonable salaries for playing a game as well as reasonable costs for attending one. I urge FedEx and other companies to deep-dive into viral marketing and discover the exponential number of impressions they can get for a fraction of the cost.

    DR says:

    It is great that they are not spending the money on the Super Bowl. But FedEx is sponsoring the BCS Championship Game and the FedEx Orange Bowl. 2 of the major College Bowl Games this year. So really there is no need to run an ad in the Super Bowl. So is this money well spent???

    Paula says:

    WAY to Go FEDEX! It is nice to know that the corporate world can sense the importance of spending precious dollars in other areas besides commerical ads during these hard economic times. When employees are taking a reduction on their salaries, it does not send the right message to then spend millons on ads. Besides, if FEDEX isn’t already a household name, I don’t know what is. I don’t think missing a year of Super Bowl ads will hurt this great company one little bit!! The price of those ads is outrages and I personally don’t believe any company gets the Bang for that advertising Buck! Way to Go FEDEX!

    Lisa Hohlt says:

    I’m proud of the stand being made not to advertise, as a Fedex employee I see and feel the cuts being made in hours and pay not to mention other areas that are affected. I’m thankful for the decision that has been made. It would be ashame to spend that kind of money on advertising when some of my co-workers are with out a job now. I salute you and am praying for a speedy recovery to our hurting economy. Always bleeding purple and orange!! Lisa

    Tw says:

    I think because of the financial situation that we are all facing this is a very wise move on the company’s part.

    Roy Varghese says:

    Right thing to do for the moment… This Shows How responsible Fedex is in times like this .. Right decision..

    Wayne says:

    I believe that during this economic crisis, deciding not to advertise is an advertisement in itself and as an employee of FedEx Express, I support this decision.

    Randy says:

    As a FedEx retiree that spent 25 years with this admired company I am always proud of the great people that make up this great team.All I can say is way to go FedEx,my hart will always be with you guys!

    Tina says:

    Amen. If you were an employee with over 30 years of service, or even a measly 20 years, then you woud appreciate this even more. I commend Steve and FedEx for the responsibility this decision conveys. Once again FedEx sends the message that being prepared & planning ahead makes the most sense, or should I say ‘cents’?

    Matt Bodeen says:

    Actions have always spoken louder then words and we must act to lead. I think this will prove to be a good choice in the future.

    Randy says:

    AS a recently retired employee of 25 years with FedEx I aplaud mgmnt. for having to make these tuff decisions.Just another reason FedEx is admired so much by so many people.Way to go team.

    F. Peter Krentz says:

    It could be a good move anyhow as we may recieve just as much publicity, for free even, by NOT having an ad. It will be talked about and considered by many people. There’s always next year, perhaps.

    Bob says:

    A reassuring step in the right direction, hopefully we will take one more and pull out of Formula 1 sponsorship as well.

    James Whacher says:

    Relax~ It’s FedEx.! No one will even miss our add. {IF}, other companies were equally as cost frugal this year, (and boycotted the Super Bowl game adds) NEXT Year’s adds would only cost a couple hundred thousand.! No company in their right mind should be spending close to 3 million $$ -on a commercial- this year !
    Again, FedEx leads the way by example.
    Thanks guys.!

    INDY R/A says:

    Great idea, let’s keep rolling strong together.

    Steve says:

    This is a good move. Perhaps a better move in addition to this one would be to end our sponsorship of the struggling Joe Gibbs Racing Team…

    shannon says:

    I understand the importance of advertising and reaching as many people as possible in order to grow the business, however I believe the right choice has been made this year.

    Was wondering about other venues where large audiences could be met but more economically. The New Year’s Eve TV shows always garner alot of viewers. Dont know what the advertising rates are in comparision, but wonder if this might be a viable alternative for future annual advertising in place of the Superbowl?

    Glenda Hames says:

    Good Going Fedex…I was wondering after we took the hit in pay…which I agreed with by the way…..I’m proud to be a member of the Fedex family….GO TEAM!

    Luigi Thyer says:

    Congratulations to Fedex, I am proud to be part of this company that always thinks at the employees, also with a big economic crisis! when better times came it’ll be the sponsor yet of the super bowl or even the Football World Cup.
    For now the right decision at the right moment.

    10-S Mom says:

    I’ve enjoyed the Fedex ads during the Super Bowl and they will be missed but the decision is a smart one especially now. I applaud Fedex for doing the right thing!!




    Stop all sports advertising and you will save a fortune

    Delliere Clark says:

    The Fedex commercial has always been the highlight of every SuperBowl game. I applaud the decision of management to delay the advertising of Fedex during this critical time of year. It shows our public that we too are feeling the effects of tough economic times and are utilizing our funds wisely. I look forward to seeing Fedex advertise in the future Super Bowl games, and this will be a sign of economic up turn.

    Sherrie says:

    This is a shame. FDX could have had a great thoughtful AD on how to save tons of money by just filling the paper work out correctly. This could be great fun in a concept of both domestic and international.

    irma says:

    im very proud that fed ex took this step to put the employees first no one should have to pay millions for a commerical fed ex took the lead on this on thanks fed ex

    Pamela Rumble says:

    Yes, I agree that this was a very responsible move by the management for FedEx. Hats off to the managers that lead by example!! Perhaps, if the ads are finished they could put them on YouTube, like one person suggested above. Alot of people go on YouTube to look at stuff. As many as 3 million people can look at one video on YouTube, plus you can e-mail the video to people. Also, now might be a great time to quit supporting NASCAR as well. It is a extravagent waste of money. Keep the golf. Thank you again for a for a great job!!

    Pamela Rumble says:

    I think the management’s decision not to advertise in the 2009 Superbowl is a wonderful example of FedEx’s sound fiscal policy and I am pround of the management for making this difficult decision. Perhaps if the ads are finished they could be put on YouTube for free
    like another person suggested. Alot of people
    look at YouTube. Also, maybe now we can stop supporting NASCAR….

    janet says:

    thanks for doing the right thing & putting our jobs & lives first; both my husband & i work in Fedex so everything we have is paid for with our Fedex incomes,,glad to be a part of the Fedex family & proud to wear my Fedex uniform.
    keep up the good stratedgy.

    SAC says:

    Great decision.. I applaud you…

    James Laughlin says:

    Thank You Fedex for the years, and the years to come.

    Dorothy Bundy says:

    A prime example of FedEX continuing to do
    ‘The Right Thing Right’.

    jorge duran says:

    I have 6 months at FedEx and I can say that the single most important commitment is to know that we have as well fedex and to give the result of who we are and do not forget that the service is the best we can talk about to get better Results

    Audrey Anderson says:

    I have been around for 15 years now and I have never heard Mr. Smith say anything other than “the employees did it”. This is just another example of the caring he has for the people that he employ around the globe. You can bet that the name of FedEx will come up by announcers of the game anyway for people to know FedEx is still going strong. Two Thumbs Up for such a remarkable decision, the country would not be in the financial shape it is in now if companies had the same leadership. May FedEx Leadership Team continue to be Blessed!

    Keesha Thomas says:

    WAY TO GO…FEDEX!!! I am very proud to be a FedEx employee. Our company shows that our employees are a very important asset to the business. There are not many companies who truly value their employees and take the measures that FedEx has taken to ensure that their thousands of employees are still employed. Thank you Mr. Smith and other management team members for making FedEx such a remarkable company!!!

    jerri colbert says:

    Thank you for doing the right thing!

    Charmaine Dickson says:

    I commend upper Management for a decision will done. From Fred Smith to an hourly employee having to take any types of cut this is one of FedEx achievement that will be greatly missed.

    I have always looked forward to what our advertising group comes up with on Super Bowl day.

    Well job done on the decision making during this economic weakness.

    KATRINA says:


    Big O says:

    Great to see my company making responsible fiscal moves, like all of us have to, nice going FEDEX.

    Jorge Palacios says:

    “WE” are the best advertisement that FedEx has. Our passion to serve our customers and our desire to exceed their expectations every day are the markings of a great company!

    Loaiy aliwat says:

    By doing this, you just saved many jobs and kept a smile on many FedEx employees’ families.
    Thank you !!!

    Donna Smith says:

    These are very difficult times for all of us as individuals and as members of the FedEx family. I think that viewers will notice the absence of a FedEx ad and they will respect FedEx for not spending millions for 30 seconds or a minute of air time. The economic situation calls for all of us to rethink our spending. We all have to make consessions. Hats off to FedEx. As an employee I appreciate this move.

    IslandGyrl says:

    I think that it is a smart and great economical decision that our corporate marketing team has made. Our absence is probably stronger than our presence in the ads. Good decision FDX! :)

    Eleanor Reid says:

    This is the right decision at the right time…I believe that is why we are where we are today because someone has made some very good decisions ….Thank Goodness for leadership with Integrity..

    Mike Ward says:


    Dano says:

    Good going FedEx, I agree with this & the many other things you are doing to keep our company above water. I would disagree with the comment about Joe Gibb’s. I think FedEx needs to stay on track with NASCAR, the Biggest growing sport in america today! GO FEDEX! your the best.

    Donna says:

    Bravo Zulu to Fed Ex!!

    Donna says:

    Bravo Zulu FedEx!!!

    Mark Smith says:

    I have been a team member of Fedex now for 28 years and the way our leaders of our company are running things I feel I can rest assured that I have hope for a continuing career with Fedex.
    If more companys followed our lead this economic crisis would not last to long. My hat is off to Mr. Fred Smith and the others that help run our great company.
    Superbowls come and go but Fedex will always be known as a leader in great commercials. We will be back…

    I Love my job and this Company.

    Barbara says:

    A great decision! In the current economic environment of so many people losing their jobs and not being about to pay their bills, FedEx is helping many of their employees to survive. FedEx is a wonderful company to work for and they look out for their employees any way they can to make things better!

    gabriel utoh says:

    the decision by FedEx not to advertise during the
    Super Bowl is a bold move and probaly saved the company some time and money.Times are tough and very glad to be associated with this great company.I highly commend this move.

    david f leblanc says:

    Excellent move by the upper management team..it makes me proud to say i’m a FED EX EMPLOYEE…

    Theresa Jones says:

    I am proud to be called a Fedex employee, out of 21 years of employment this top it all. Keep up the good works and we will make it thru this crisis to see better time again….. God Bless America

    T.Powell says:

    I think FedEx made a very smart move by not advertising in the super bowl. I’ve worked for FedEx for the past 5 years and the one thing I love about this company is that everytime I wake up to come to work in the morning .. I CAN wake up and COME to work!!! Theres not to many ppl today who have a job they can wake up and come to and FedEx makes sure that us employees have a job by making such sacrafices as this one!! Way to go FedEx!!!!!!!

    Barbara Borrello says:

    Well said. I agree with you 100% on that our lack of presence makes a lound statement. I believe that just the name FedEx sells itself and doesn’t need much advertising anyway.

    Proud To Stand as a Beacon to the World.
    I am continually Impressed with the Forward-thinking of Fred Smith and this Leadership Team. Every time I get comfortable with assessing that he has done his Absolute Best, he steps it up one more knotch and simply “outdoes” himself. He seems to always be one step ahead of the rest of the world. Truly his Leadership is a Beacon to the world on several levels – but saving jobs by reallocating marketing dollars – and allowing the people to become this years’ “advertising” campaign is simply brillant!

    Lesley Rackowski says:

    Our company will plan to use FedEx more frequently now because of this wise decision. A big cheer goes to FedEx.

    Jim says:

    Mr Smith’s TV appearances have been an effective and incredible way to advertise how strong and successful this company is. Anyone who sits with him, (Including Barney Frank of all people) can only agree with him! Keep it up Mr Smith. Your Performance Sunday morning was impressive. No hand waving, no arguing. Just direct, effective solutions NOBODY could argue with. Congress needs to listen and this country can recover much quicker with your ideas.

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