FedEx and Ex-Lax battle for rights to promotional slogan

Discussion in 'The Lighter Side' started by MooseJaw, Sep 27, 2002.

  1. MooseJaw

    MooseJaw NRA Lifer CLM

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    Feb 12, 2002
    Court to decide fate of catchphrase: "Keep your Sh*t Moving" ;S ;+ ;S

    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 Sh*t 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 ****, consumers automatically think 'Ex-Lax.' By continuing to use the "Keep Your Sh*t 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 'sh*t' 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 'sh*t' - 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 'sh*t' 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 sh*t 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 Sh*t Moving.' That slogan completely embodies the spirit of FedEx, a company determined to getting your sh*t 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 sh*t 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 sh*t 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 F*ck' ;G was our second-choice, but test markets indicated an objection to the F's alliteration. We eventually decided to stick with our original catchphrase, despite Ex-Lax's objections."
  2. Eddie C.

    Eddie C. CLM

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    Feb 21, 2002
    State of Confusion
    MooseJaw, that's beautiful!;)