In a marketing move that hearkens back to summer days of yesteryear, FedEx – currently Apple’s primary overnight delivery vendor – announced that starting today all of its commercial vehicles will broadcast a distinctive musical tune while making package deliveries. FedEx Vice President of Marketing G. Hume Mann said, "We’ve had enormous success with our highly visible purple, orange, and white color scheme, and believe that the new distinctive musical tones will project our brand into another dimension."
In the same way that children would hear the songs of ice-cream trucks before arriving in their neighborhood, the FedEx tones will enable customers to know when their packages are nearby. The initiative also has a practical upshot in addition to the powerful brand extension. Mann continued, "Our tracking servers experience an unexpectedly high amount of traffic during the peak hours between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM in each time zone as recipients repeatedly enter their tracking numbers. If a truck is in the neighborhood and some of our customers hear it, they’ll go outside to meet the vehicle. We project bandwidth savings of approximately 6 percent, and time savings of about 8 percent due to drivers not having to climb stairs and navigate buildings. And, frankly, we’re happy to encourage many of our high-tech customers to get outside and experience some sunshine."
The tones, a four-chord harmony developed in a partnership with legendary composer John Williams (who scored music for the Star Wars and Harry Potter movies, in addition to the iconic NBC Nightly News theme), were designed specifically to sound unique and inviting, even under frequent repetition. To help introduce the song, FedEx has made an MP3 version available for download at its Web site and has entered into an agreement with Apple to offer it for free from the iTunes Music Store.
Shortly after the FedEx announcement, United Parcel Service (UPS) announced that it, too, has been testing a similar program for several months and will be rolling it out over the next few weeks. The UPS jingle is still a closely guarded secret, and is due to be presented at a formal announcement on Wednesday, although rumors are swirling that it sounds more "brown."