FedEx responds to simmering PR disaster caused by viral video

A video of a FedEx delivery person tossing a computer monitor over a fence has amassed more than 4.5 million views on YouTube. The company has addressed the problem, but is it enough?


Have you seen the viral video everyone’s talking about this week?

It shows a FedEx delivery person tossing a computer monitor over a fence. Thus far, it’s grabbed more than 4.5 million views on YouTube. Here you go:

Bad news for FedEx—particularly its PR team, which, instead of taking off early for the holidays, is most likely working to put the situation to rest.

In an attempt to squelch the emerging firestorm, FedEx took to social media, issuing a series of tweets and a blog post in which it explains that the company apologized to the the customer who received the monitor and made good.

In the blog post, titled “Absolutely, Positively Unacceptable,” FedEx executive Matthew Thornton III said:

“I want you to know that I was upset, embarrassed, and very sorry for our customer’s poor experience. This goes directly against everything we have always taught our people and expect of them. It was just very disappointing.”

A PR and marketing firm in Memphis praised FedEx’s efforts, calling it “an amazing example of customer service.” On its blog, Howell Marketing Strategies wrote:

“FedEx quickly took action, recognized the mistake made by their employee, claimed responsibility, stated their values, satisfied the customer, and updated the masses—socially. The power of social is exemplified in the fact that FedEx did not have to call a news conference, they didn’t have to send out a press release; they were able to meet face-to-face with the understandably unsatisfied customer and inform the world about what steps they have taken through tweets and a thoughtfully written blog.

“What could have been a terrible PR disaster was rapidly resolved with the customer and proper steps in line with the company’s mission and values were taken to protect the FedEx brand.”

But it doesn’t appear FedEx is out of the woods yet. On Wednesday, the video made the rounds on social media; on Thursday, it’s all over the mainstream media. We’ll see if the bleeding stops today, or if the PR and social media teams at FedEx will be working over the holidays.

The delivery person, meanwhile, has been disciplined; the company didn’t say whether he was fired for the incident.

At least one financial blogger predicted the PR slip will have little effect on the company’s stock price.

FedEx and UPS reported this week that delivery volume this holiday season is up from last year.

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