Did you See the Fake DHL Ad? Clever Execution, Bad Strategy.


Remember that DHL ad making the rounds a few weeks ago?

It went viral instantly, and getting your competitors to advertise for you is inarguably awesome. Sadly, the piece was quickly revealed as a fake. But that’s not what was wrong with it – the problem with the ‘ad’ was its strategy.

The spot’s message is that DHL is a faster delivery service, but that’s a solution in search of a problem. Does anyone anywhere feel that FedEx and UPS are too slow? And does anyone actually believe that another mainstream courier service could deliver items more quickly?

We haven’t done a statistically valid survey, but we’re pretty willing to bet that the answers are no, and no.

The prank was clever, the video was well-edited, and it probably gave DHL a tiny bit of lift. But the message didn’t connect with an actual customer need. Like so much advertising, there was simply no strategy behind it. And, unfortunately for this piece, sound strategy is the most basic requirement of effective communications.


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