I just stumbled across an article in Ad Age (May 22) that talked about how the US Postal service has waived its long-time ban preventing advertisers from putting messaging on postage stamps. The move will allow the government to make back millions that is being lost in the email age. While many think there will be backlash on this, I agree, within the present structure. However, the government could have made a lot of money, and prevented most of the backlash, but maintaining more control.
Think about it. The people who will complain are those who think about the "glory days" of mail -- with flags, statues of liberty, George Washington, etc on the stamps. If it's nostalgia they long for, why not only open the medium up for nostalgic companies. Would people really get upset if Coke put it's 125th Anniversary logo on a postage stamp? How about a picture of the Statue of Liberty that said "Visit New York". How about if Major League baseball promoted "America's Game"? Or what about a postage stamp featuring Micky Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck or any other old-time Disney characters? What about if Hollywood promoted the movie industry using former well-known actors? What if the movie War of the Worlds promoted its movie or DVD release with a set of four with scenes from the movie and one with writer Orson Wells? The opportunities to make it a nostalgic collectors item is unlimited.
Yet the first company on board is HP. Seriously, HP. A company who's name and logo invoke little to no nostalgia in anyone's mind. HP will get the notoriety of being first, and maybe even the credit for discrediting a medium before it even gets off the ground. But will it help their brand?
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