UPS delivers Royal Mail a perfect Olympic opportunity

2012 Olympic Tickets

2012 Olympic Tickets

As our third batch of Olympic tickets were delivered by Postie in his iconic red van yesterday afternoon, it got me thinking; what a perfect association Royal Mail have with the London Olympics.

The responsibility of delivering those deceptively unremarkable A4 white envelopes to every Olympic ticket-winning household across the nation is a perfect feel-good link up for the postal service.  Signed-for, Tracked Delivery makes the brand opportunity even better.  As you open your front door to take delivery of your paper treasure, there’s a totally genuine, totally necessary and totally unengineered social interaction between you and the brand.   You’re pleased to see Postie, and Postie is pleased to see you (largely because those envelopes are pretty heavy and handing yours over is one less in his very heavy bag).

Everyone’s happy and before you know it you’re tweeting or sharing the fabulous experience on Facebook. As one friend’s Facebook status read earlier this week:

“Olympic tickets have arrived – more excited than a bored housewife with the Shades of Grey trilogy”

Which is saying something.

And then it got me thinking; is Royal Mail a London 2012 sponsor or supporter? I was pretty sure it wasn’t, but what was I missing?  How did Royal Mail get to be at the very start of every consumer’s association with the Games if it wasn’t officially linked?  If it was, why didn’t it go the extra mile with a wrap on the packaging “Your Olympic experience starts here, delivered to you by Royal Mail” (or something).

Which prompted a chat with said Postie (that interaction thing again). He explained that UPS, which is the official London 2012 Olympic Supporter (logistics), didn’t want the ticket delivery business (despite having the infrastructure), and hence why almost every postman on the local rounds is averaging six of those unremarkable – but totally exciting – A4 white envelopes (that’s six positive, face to face interactions) per day.  Royal Mail’s website shows that they have been awarded the contract to deliver the tickets, but they are not officially listed by LOCOG as an Olympic supporter or supplier. Quite a result.

As one of seven London 2012 Olympic Supporters, UPS will have paid handsomely for the right to associate itself with the London Olympic Games. Doubtless they will have very clear business reasons for doing so. Its online presence suggests that its focus is raising brand awareness and building brand trust amongst business customers – telling positive stories through text, images and video about how it is helping deliver the Games – and it seems to be doing it well.

Yet, whilst its business function may well be its biggest and most profitable sector, and selling it a more obvious fit with its Games role than any consumer function it has, UPS should still be prepared to market to consumers (which was surely the rationale behind its TV advert).

Indeed, every business owner, manager or logistics operator will, in their spare time, also be a consumer. They may even have bought tickets to the Games. They may well be opening the door to Postman Pat right now, having a chat about how UPS didn’t want the business…

2012 Olympic Tickets

2012 Olympic Tickets

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2 responses to “UPS delivers Royal Mail a perfect Olympic opportunity

  1. Agreed, UPS have chosen to use the Olympics to promote its business logistics credentials to business customers (its most profitable sector), and are doing it well, but I’d hazard a guess that on a brand awareness and Olympic association poll, Royal Mail would probably trump UPS right now. And Royal Mail will profit from it.

  2. This is because UPS like the idea of delivering alot of items to less than 20 sports venues in a 40 mile square area but less inclinded to deliver 500,000+ items to the lucky ticket holders out of 25million homes not much profit in the latter.

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