The United Parcel Service (UPS) has used brown-painted vehicles since the 1920s. The nickname ‘Big Brown” for UPS has been cited in print since at least the 1980s. In February 2002, UPS began using its trademark slogan “What can Brown do for you?”
Other UPS nicknames include “Buster Brown,” “OOPS” and “United Parcel/Package Smashers.”
Wikipedia: United Parcel Service
United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS), colloquially referred to as UPS, is a package delivery company. Headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia, United States, UPS delivers more than 15 million packages a day to 6.1 million customers in more than 220 countries and territories around the world.
UPS is well known for its brown trucks, internally known as package cars (hence the company nickname “The Big Brown Machine"). UPS also operates its own airline (IATA: 5X, ICAO: UPS, Call sign: UPS) based in Louisville, Kentucky.
The brown color that UPS uses on its vehicles and uniforms is called Pullman Brown. The color is also mentioned in their former advertising slogan: “What can Brown do for you?” Originally founder James E. Casey wanted the trucks to be yellow, but one of his partners, Charlie Soderstrom stated they would be impossible to keep clean, and that Pullman railroad cars were brown for just that reason.
9 June 1985, New York (NY) Times, “United Parcel Extends Its Reach” by Eric N. Berg, pg. F26:
To handle its business, the Greenwich, Conn., company—long known as “Big Brown” because of its oversized brown delivery vans—taps a vast network: It has 46,000 vans and tractor trailers, roughly 50,000 drivers, and some 71 company-owned aircraft, including 6 Boeing 747’s.
The Service Edge:
101 companies that profit from customer care
By Ron Zemke and Dick Schaaf
New York, NY: New American Library
And while the Federal Express overnight-delivery air force outguns the company people call “Big Brown” by about three to one, UPS is number two with a bullet, its Next Day Air business building at 30 percent compared to about an 8 percent growth rate for its ground service, according to a Fortune magazine report in January of 1988.
Teaching the Elephant to Dance:
Empowering change in your organization
By James A. Belasco
New York, NY: Crown
Ask United Parcel Service. One thing about “Big Brown,” it has a lot of “old” customers. More than 47,000 trucks handle more than nine million packages a day for more than 850,000 customers — mostly businesses.
New York (NY) Times
Labor Pact Is Ratified At U.P.S.
By NICK RAVO, Special to The New York Times
Published: August 14, 1990
With 62,000 vans and 363 aircraft that it owns, charters or has on order, U.P.S., known among its employees as ‘’Big Brown,’’ for the color of its vans and uniforms, delivered 2.8 billion packages in 1989 for $12.4 billion in revenue.
OCLC WorldCat record
Big Brown : the untold story of UPS
Author: Greg Niemann
Publisher: San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, ©2007.
Edition/Format: Book : English : 1st ed
Aug 30th 2010 at 6:00AM
10 best company nicknames
Popular Nickname: Big Brown
Did You Know? The simplicity of a brand name or symbol confers status on a company. Decades ago, the symbol might literally have been a stock symbol: the oldest companies got one letter ticker symbols from the New York Stock Exchange. United Parcel Service now gets that status by taking an entire color: brown. The company first started using its trademark brown trucks in the 1920s when it delivered appliances and other goods for department stores. UPS has embraced its brown branding, and even asks in its advertising, “What can Brown do for you?”