I ran across this story in the Contagious newsletter.

UPS is just one brand at the forefront of a new
movement which recognizes the compelling appeal of the widget as an
adaptable, self-contained yet multi-tasking marketing tool. The
beautiful thing about a widget of course is that no-one actually knows
what it is, meaning that they can be created and customized to
perfectly suit the application of any brand. The groundbreaking UPS widget, is a fine example of just this.

Users
are able to download an icon onto their computer desktop in the form of
a cute animated character (complete with oversize magnifying glass).
This ‘hard-working UPS helper’ can then track up to one hundred parcels
and provide direct links, from your desktop, to other UPS services such
as shipping solutions and global logistics. The accompanying website is
supported by a fully integrated campaign including print, outdoor and
online marketing.

www.widget.ups.com

Setting
aside for a moment the fact that we are suckers for little guys like
this – it turns out that he actually represents a quite significant
culmination of a global effort to broaden the appeal of the UPS brand
and positively engage the ‘everyday audiences’ as well as those stuck
in the post rooms of large companies. However, injecting strategic
creativity into what is primarily a B2B application, required some
careful planning.

However, it would seem that central to UPS’s application, is the
concept of brand utility – of providing the customer with something
useful, something which helps them to directly engage with the brand –
step forward our sleuthing little widget. It gives people a different way to use the brand and continue to
use the brand – to create a “stickiness” if you will.’

The
success of the UPS widget speaks for itself.  However the application is supported by more than a savvy
marketing campaign.  This strong faith which UPS has in
their little widget carries
with it promising implications for what is
yet to come. Essentially, by continuing to explore the ways in which
marketing can be ‘useful’ instead of intrusive, UPS has set a
benchmark.

Source: Contagious Magazine

ON: UPS’ Widget via @jpenabickley