DHL is betting big on a global campaign, touting its acumen as "International Specialists" in local delivery, customs clearance, express shipping and customer service, as seen above.
The DHL Express campaign launched in May in Hong Kong, and is now rolling out worldwide in the brand’s broadest marketing initiative, covering 42 global markets highlighting its commitment to “the speed of yellow, excellently delivered.” Read more about the campaign tactics below.
DHL Express, a division of Deutsche Post, was founded in 1969 to provide global express mail between San Francisco and Honolulu, but the success of FedEx triggered their intra-U.S. expansion in 1983. They were originally the only delivery service for countries including the Eastern Bloc, Vietnam and the People's Republic of China.
Its new global campaign includes digital, out-of-home elevator video (featuring an update on the classic anthem, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, by British up-and-comer Dionne Bromfield) which will be played on 200+ radio stations, airport and print advertising in 360 publications including Inc., The Wall Street Journal and Fortune, with local marketing being translated into 25 languages.
A social/digital engagement piece is inviting users to upload their version of the campaign's signature tune in a "Share the Song of DHL Express" contest, encouraging fans to channel their inner Diana Ross and upload their cover versions on YouTube — with the winner getting radio airlpay.
The global campaign is rolling out with an internal brand engagement initiative, a new corporate ‘investment in people’ that requires every DHL Express employee to complete a Certified International Specialist (CIS) program designed to increase expertise in helping customers grow their businesses; by next month, all 100,000 DHL Express global employees will have graduated.
Its 'just in time' training will be crucial for its sponsorships, as DHL is the Official Logistics Partner for Rugby World Cup 2011 and will handle all ticket distribution, express shipments and international and domestic freight including delivery of team equipment.
The print ad copy for the International Specialists campaign, notes Mediapost, includes such lines as "A dress is stitched in Hong Kong. The next night it's applauded in Paris," and "A contract is signed in London. By 10:30 a.m. the next day, it touches down on Wall Street."
The fashion reference plays into another big 2011 sponsorship for DHL, of IMG Fashion Week events (upending any notion of being fashionably late):
It’s fitting that yellow is the hot color on the runways this fall, and it's no accident that "the speed of yellow" is a core element of DHL’s visual identity.
“If you think back," remarks Fast Company, "you may remember that DHL's trucks used to be white with kind of a maroon logo. But you never, ever, noticed those trucks. They just blended in like white noise. Now that they've been repainted a hot, Kodak yellow with an equally eye-popping Budweiser red logo, DHL's trucks are harder to miss than a jug of Tide at your local bodega.”
Also, consider that Pantone selected Mimosa yellow as the color of the year for 2009, just as the global recession was really starting to hurt:
“In a time of economic uncertainty and political change, optimism is paramount and no other color expresses hope and reassurance more than yellow. The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun, properties we as humans are naturally drawn to for reassurance. Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation."
With this global marketing strategy, DHL is making good and smart on its promise: the speed of yellow, excellently delivered.