FedEx calls in Spinal Tap for spoof infomercial virals

LONDON - FedEx has launched a viral online campaign featuring five three-minute cheesy infomercial spoofs that feature 'Spinal Tap' comedian Fred Willard heaping praise on the delivery service.

The tongue-in-cheek spots, created by Omnicom's BBDO, feature Willard hosting infomercials called '1-2-3 Succeed!' in front of a studio audience.

The five different segments are called 'FedEx Office Print Online', 'Mobile', 'FedEx International', 'FedEx Office' and ''.

During '', Willard asks: "Who likes to track things?" The camera then pans the audience and lingers on a man applauding who is dressed in a beaver cap and fringed frontiersman costume.

In the 'FedEx Print Online' spot, Willard chats to a businesswoman named Sharon and asks: "What would you do if I said you and your small business never had to worry about reams of paper, changing toner cartridges or owning a copier ever again?"

Sharon replies: "Well, I would probably call you a filthy liar and do everything in my power to have you locked up. Locked away, clang clang."

She finishes the sentence with a cackle, while Willard stares at her blankly.

The rest of the spots feature similar gags with the studio audience clapping on cue and on one occasion, an audience member in 17th century garb denounces Willard for witchcraft.

Willard is best known for appearing in spoofs such as 'This is Spinal Tap', 'Best in Show' and 'For Your Consideration' as well as a recurring role on 'Everybody Loves Raymond'.

In January, FedEx said it was cutting its marketing budget by more than 25% in 2009 as it struggled with the weakened US economy.

The company also disclosed that its television adspend had hit its lowest levels in over three years and announced that, for the first time in 18 years, it would not advertise in this year's Super Bowl.

Last year's "carrier pigeons" spot, created by BBDO NY, was one of most popular Super Bowl ads.

The company has released many humorous ads over the years. One spot called 'FedEx fast paced world', created in 1981, made Campaign's list of the top ten funniest TV ads of all time.