FedEx and Ex-Lax battle for rights to promotional slogan



FedEx and Ex-Lax battle for rights to promotional slogan

Court to decide fate of catchphrase: "Keep your :censored2: Moving"

Memphis, Tenn. -- After weeks of failed negotiations with FedEx Corporation, officials at Ex-Lax manufacturer Novartis Corporation announced Friday that the company is suing FedEx to cease and desist usage of the promotional slogan "Keep Your :censored2: Moving," an internationally marketed catchphrase currently being employed by both companies.

Independently conceived by FedEx and Ex-Lax marketing teams, the slogan was cast as the focal point for each company's latest advertisement campaign, both of which coincidentally launched Nov. 1.

"Our position is resolute," said Ex-Lax spokesman Ted Lundengard, addressing reporters outside a Memphis courthouse early Friday morning." When it comes to the swift, timely moving of :censored2:, consumers automatically think 'Ex-Lax.' By continuing to use the "Keep Your :censored2: Moving" slogan, FedEx is confusing the consumer purchasing instincts Ex-Lax has for so long worked to cultivate."

FedEx, a global shipping company in no way related to human bowel regularity, says that while the simultaneous release of the exactly matching slogans is indeed unfortunate, the company has no intention of pulling its advertisements to appease Ex-Lax executives.

"We have just as much right to use the slogan as Ex-Lax does," said T. Michael Glenn, Executive Vice President of Market Development for FedEx Corporation. "[Ex-Lax] trying to secure sole rights [to the slogan] is as ridiculous as it is illegal."

Attorneys for Ex-Lax say the strength of the lawsuit relies heavily on the Webster's Dictionary definition of one of the slogan's key words.

"[Webster's] defines ':censored2:' firstly as a noun denoting bodily excrement," said Ex-Lax attorney Jean Primon on a recent airing of The Larry King Show. "FedEx's usage of the word ':censored2:' - as slang for possessions, equipment and mementos - is listed eighth. Eighth. Unless FedEx can convince Webster's to rearrange the definition's sense order, we're confident the court will deny FedEx rights to the slogan, as Ex-Lax's ads are using ':censored2:' in a manner representative of the word's most popular application."

While both companies' deep-pocketed advertising campaigns are built on the slogan's powerful message and catchy syntax, each campaign differs greatly in the visual and auditory tone attached to each conception.

"Our ads speak directly to the problem without sugarcoating it: your :censored2: needs to get where it needs to get, now," said FexEd CEO Frederick W. Smith, pointing to a print ad mock-up incorporating simple block letters and a white background. "We keep it simple and straight. 'Keep Your :censored2: Moving.' That slogan completely embodies the spirit of FedEx, a company determined to getting your :censored2: where it needs to be faster than any other freight shipping company in the world."

FedEx's $8 million no-nonsense campaign strategy strives to recreate the feel of a fast-paced work environment in order to emphasize its service's importance. Radio and television spots depict a business owner struggling to meet inventory supply orders - frantically working the phones, the slightly obese workaholic only occasionally interrupts his work to motivate workers, shouting "We've got to keep this :censored2: moving!" along with a series of other inspirational taglines characterized by mild vulgarity.

"The commercial speaks to anyone who's ever been in a hurry," said Smith, who agrees with market research indicating that foul language inevitably sidles high-pressure work environments.

Conversely, Ex-Lax's ad strategy incorporates a more elegant approach; radio and television ads narrated by a soothing female voice encourage consumers to circumvent constipation by using the company's product. "Keep your :censored2: moving," the commercial reads, "when nature tries to slow you down."

Though now relying on a court decision, FedEx officials confirmed that the company at one point considered complying with Ex-Lax's request to change its campaign's all-important slogan.

"We toyed around with some other slogans," said Smith. "We had a couple others that were pretty good. 'FedEx: Faster Than :censored2:' was our second-choice, but test markets indicated an objection to the friend's alliteration. We eventually decided to stick with our original catchphrase, despite Ex-Lax's objections."


FedEx Baby!
The Next Generation in Home Delivery

In a shocking fourth quarter announcement, FedEx CEO Fredrick Smith unveiled a startling growth strategy code named "Project Stork" to stockholders. Reiterating his comments from earlier in the year he said, "at FedEx we pride ourselves on being agile in the marketplace, anticipating opportunities and capitalizing on the unexpected." Apparently he wasn't kidding.

"Our Home Delivery business accelerated far beyond our wildest expectations, leading to the greatest stock performance increase in the history of the company. To fully capitalize on the momentum we understand it is necessary to continue innovating and thus we are proud to announce that effective January 2, 2003 FedEx will expand it's home delivery business to include delivering babies, or as we prefer to say, 'bundles of joy.' Our new advertising campaign will feature the incredibly hip slogan, 'FedEx Baby!' "

With the announcement FedEx has effectively shattered all conventional thinking as it pertains to delivery companies and their traditional roles. Wall Street investors were initially puzzled by the announcement but on news of expectant mothers becoming "giddy" at the prospect of delivering on time, if not early, FedEx stock shot up nearly 26 points.

"We like having a choice," states a very pregnant Mollie Marie Bagley, soon to be delivering her first child. "If this service were unrolled today, you better believe I would be in line to be their first customer. My feet hurt, I'm swollen everywhere, I can't sit comfortably and I've had to endure yam cravings for the past three weeks! FedEx BABY!!!"

For the incredibly low introductory price of $79.95 FedEx sends a complete medical team, induces labor and delivers the baby at virtually any stage in the 3rd trimester. They pledge to have the baby all tidied up and swaddled by 10:00AM.

The phrase "Next day delivery" now takes on an entirely new meaning. So does the infamous FedEx slogan, "When it Absolutely, Positively Has To Be There Overnight!" In an age of rapidly developing and merging technologies, FedEx has positioned itself to be a leader in the delivery of newborns. "We noted that airborne delivery was getting so [darn] competitive that we could no longer maintain a competitive and distinct advantage. Instead we decided to refocus and go after a niche that we could control and dominate. Going forward our business plan calls for emphasizing "newborn" over "airborne." We know we can provide superior service to the health care systemthat's not even in question."

When asked "how can you possibly turn a profit by delivering babies for just $79.95?" the FedEx public information department replies with a single word - - - "Volume." They then go on to explain, "By the time they enter the 8th month, most expectant mothers are absolutely, positively desperate to birth the baby. We're offering them relief, plus the ability to choose the child's exact birthday within a limited window. Market research indicates this service is going to be exceedingly popular."

For these key delivery positions, FedEx only hires the very best of the foreign trained medical students, (who otherwise would never find work in an industrialized nation), retired MD's, and perfectly good MD's who have been victims of unjust malpractice lawsuits; thus keeping their overhead low. "Delivering babies is relatively easythe mother actually does all the work, we just need to provide someone to wear a white coat, grab the baby, cut the cord and tidy things up when it's over. Med School 101 stuff. The mother and child are never in any danger or peril."

FedEx claims to use an exclusive proprietary method of inducing labor. An unnamed source, formerly a FedEx R&D employee, told the crack Scribbles-N-Bits research staff, "It basically involves eating 6 - 8 atomic style Buffalo wings dipped in Arby's Horsey Sauce, drinking a Long Island Iced Tea and then mixing it thoroughly through the use of Hula Hoops and/or Pogo Sticks. Crazy as it sounds and as unconventional as it may appear, this method of induction is 99.97% effective. Bottom line: It does work...however, in my opinion the babies sometimes come out looking a wee bit distorted."

When asked if competitors will follow their lead, FedEx retorts, "We doubt the other less innovative companies will have the [guts] to follow us on this oneat least initially. We like to think the only thing "brown" we're going to find in this particular niche will be inside the diaper. Of course, every time we examine a dirty diaper we will (and do) think fondly of our competition."

FedEx Baby! The next generation in home delivery services.


I don't think we should laugh too loud...this is not far from being sued for: