Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Open Letter to the FedEx Letter Writer

If you don't know about the Twitter debacle with Ketchum and FedEx, then visit this site. But please come back.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one wondering about the letter writer Fusion PR Forum: Who Wrote the Infamous Ketchum/FedEx Email?

Dear FedEx letter writer,

Wow. On behalf of all the corporate communications professionals who ever sat by and watched our bosses spend millions on a "big-time" agency, congratulations. You have done what many of us dreamed of. These agency vice presidents (they are ALL vice presidents) swoop in from the big city and assume that the in-house PR people are simpletons who have no clue how the world of communications works. How many times have we all dreamed of throwing their know-it-all arrogance right back in their faces.

But we keep quiet because our bosses and their bosses are completely in the tank for these big-time agency people.

But you, oh, you took advantage of the reach and range of Peter Shankman (a mutually beneficial arrangement, I must note) to make sure your observation of the big-time agency guy's disdain for your HQ town didn't just get buried in the inboxes of management. You were not to be ignored.

And what a firestorm you started. The agency guy you outed got all the press. You remained anonymous.

AdvertisingAge called you a tattletale and a punk but that's little comfort to the big-time agency since they did write about the whole "tempest in a Tweetpot" anyway. Your company was nicer, at least externally, when they said in a statement to PRWeek, The reaction by our employees proves once again that FedEx takes great pride in our hometown of Memphis.

From the minute I heard about your note, I have wondered about you and whether there have been repercussions for airing this dirty laundry in such a public way. I hope the culture of FedEx is different but my experience has been that embarrassing the boss and second-guessing their choice of big-time agency have both been career limiting moves. I'm sure the media relations team would also like to wring your neck--if nothing else, for exponentially increasing their workload.

FedEx letter writer, we live vicariously through you, wishing we had the guts to say to the world about our boss's choice of meeting speaker: I don’t see much relevance between your presentation this morning and the work we do...

Best of luck to you. And if you ever need to visit a town with even greater self-worth issues, we'll call your Elvis and raise you two Wright Brothers.


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