World’s best ads ever #83: FedEx motors up the chart with ‘Fast-Talking Man’
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
An iconic ad from the early 1980s, FedEx’s ‘Fast-Talking Man’ TV spot blends straightforward brand messaging with humor and a record-setting motormouth.
The ad stars John Moschitta, a man whose primary claim to fame was his uncanny ability to articulate sentences at a stunning, rapid-fire clip. He sounds like a recording of your typical fast-talking auctioneer being fast-forwarded at two or three times the normal speed.
In 1980, Moschitta was featured in an episode of ABC’s That’s Incredible!, which led, in turn, to further TV appearances on popular programs such as The Tonight Show. He soon captured the attention of marketing executives and made his advertising debut with the FedEx ad, which first aired in 1981.
Throughout the ad, Moschitta’s dizzyingly fast speech was made even more impressive by the fact that he was delivering a series of tongue-twisting alliterations — ”Congratulations on your deal in Denver, Dave, I’m putting you down to deal with Dallas” — all while maintaining a perfectly calm facial expression. It’s a bit like watching an anthropomorphic robot that’s begun to short-circuit. The ad closes with a simple message from a narrator that ties Moschitta’s talents directly to FedEx’s unique service offering: “In this fast-moving, high-pressure, get-it-done-yesterday world, aren’t you glad there’s one company that can keep up with it all?”
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FedEx would go on to air another TV spot featuring the fast-talking Moschitta in 1982 to advertise its then-new ‘by 10:30 a.m.’ delivery option. The one-time holder of the Guinness Book of World Records’ title of World’s Fastest Talker — with a record of 583 words per minute, which was broken in 1990 — Moschitta’s marketing career would also eventually include guest appearances for a number of other brands, including Burger King and Mattel.