Perhaps you've seen this UPS ad, which has aired since conference tournaments began. Seizing on their new tagline of "logistics," it features the famous 1992 regional final between Kentucky and Duke that ended on Christian Laettner's buzzer-beater. A dark moment for UK, but a legendary ending to one of the greatest games of college basketball ever played. Reasonable people would assume that UPS is marketing to college hoops fans this time of year, by featuring the most iconic moment in the sport's history. This story is not about reasonable people.
This story is about a subset of Kentucky fans who are furious with UPS for rubbing their noses in something that happened 20 years ago. But some are not content to leave it at mere directionless anger. There are two specific subsets of conspiracy theories in play. The first is that UPS's advertising director is a Duke graduate, and this ad was created specifically to rattle the Wildcats in advance of a potential Elite Eight matchup with the Blue Devils. (UPS's advertising director went to UNC, but don't let facts get in the way.) The second theory is harder to disprove—that UPS is in bed with Louisville, and Louisville wants UK fans to feel sad. I cannot at this time confirm, but it is suspicious that UPS is headquartered in Louisville, not Lexington. Hmmmm.
Because the funniest way to deal with crazy people is to humor them, UPS actually put up a lengthy blog post laying out the justifications for the commercial's existence, and denying a targeted psyop campaign against the Wildcats. They also left comments open:
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!
Here I am down in Georgia because my family is AD Army and the few times we get to see the CATS play, I have to watch a backstabbing commercial like this. How much did the airtime cost you to have it set to air at halftime? I mean if you wanted to hit every CAT fan in the nation….you did it. Incredible arrogance and well, just flat out rude. I feel for the huge UK fan base living in Louisville who has to walk into the hub and tug around at work tonight and all the while feel embarassed and shame knowing their employer backstabbed them. I CANNOT stand Fed Ex but you left me no choice but to move my business account to them. I am sure you will lose sleep over my new logistically correct option. EPIC FAIL UPS! EPIC FAIL.
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 that you would use this!! Have you forgotten Christian Laetners actions after that shot? Well we have not forgotten!! You have certainly muddied your name in Kentucky and I am sure I do not stand alone.
If you think this isn't a big deal to the Big Blue Nation you need to think again. I spent about 15 minutes lying on the floor after that shot and I will never forget it. I will also never forget how UPS has abused the business the people of Kentucky has given to the company who has its main air hub in Kentucky. What on earth are you thinking? Not that it will affect your bottom line, but you have lost the business of many Kentuckians and UK fans all over the nation. I will write the Kentucky legislature and request they deny the bills you are trying to get passed. Any business that is making this many of its customers unhappy should see the light, pull the ad, and apologize.
Who was the idiot that decided to run this ad? It's an insult to the thousands of folks in UK who work long, hard hours for UPS through out the commonwealth of KY. Grow up and pull the ad.
Very poor planning in your marketing. I read your comments, others comments, and story all the way through, but if you knew anything about KY Basketball you would not have run this ad even with running it by the University. I see a decline in your KY business in the next 4 weeks at least. Hope it was worth it. KY FANS NEVER FORGET!!!!
So now there are 3 commercials where I frantically try to find the remote - this one, the ESPN IU shot, and the Sarah Mclachlan one about abused/abandoned pets.
Heh. I like that last one. Regardless, I think we can add a third conspiracy theory to the mix: that this is actually a false flag operation, that FedEx is responsible for this commercial just to corner the lucrative Lexington market.
To put a cherry on top, via Card Chronicle, here's one incensed Cat fan calling in to talk radio after the station played the ad during a break: "You just don't get it. We are the greatest SEC conference in the world."