on May 17th, 2010 in Products & Services | 23 comments
 
“If it fits, it ships.” If this sounds familiar, you probably heard it from the Postal Service’s Priority Mail® Flat Rate advertising campaign broadcasted on TV or radio. The Flat Rate option offers a simpler way to ship — whatever fits in the flat rate box or envelope (up to 70 pounds) ships for one rate to anywhere in the United States. There is virtually no weighing or calculating. The packages reach their destinations in 1 to 3 days. Normally, Priority Mail prices are based on weight and destination. To increase overall package revenue and market share, the Postal Service launched a highly-integrated, national marketing campaign in May 2009. The campaign is still running as of May 2010. To promote the benefits of Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes, the campaign uses TV, direct mail, print and digital advertising, retail point of purchase, and more. Postal Service management shared the campaign messaging with employees through a May 2009 direct mailing. These are two of the recent Priority Mail Flat Rate TV commercials: •Clowns AdvertisementMail Man Advertisement

Has Priority Mail added value to your shipping needs? What kind of value? Prior to using Priority Mail Flat Rate, were you using a major delivery service such as UPS or FedEx? Specifically, what caused you to switch? If you have not used Priority Mail service, what would you consider the most important reason for not using the service? This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Office of Audit Field Financial - West team.

23 Comments


This was definitely a well thought out campaign, which is a rarity for the PS. I have had a lot of customers come into my office asking for "the boxes they have advertised on TV", even using the "if it fits it ships" slogan. So the message is definitely getting across.

I would like to see some more advertising on some of our other services, especially PO Boxes. There seems to be so little in ways of promoting PO Boxes (only in-house stuff), that I think we are missing the boat. If somebody is coming in all the time to pick up PO box mail, then they are more likely to use our other services too-which means more revenue than just the box rental. Also, pending PRC approval, if there was some form of "sale" or special deal on PO boxes, you might see a sharp increase in rentals. If a customer chooses to rent a PO box in lieu of home delivery, any money spent on a promotion or discount would be more than offset in savings in delivery costs.

The Postal Service’s Priority Mail® Flat Rate is simplicity at it's best. Keeping it simple increases the scope of potential customers and increasing the UPSP's market share. Daily lives are complicated and rushed. The advertising campaign simply helps inform the public how to simplify one of their task.
Great product but when will the Postal Service start to address accurately matching window service with customer volume? The long wait lines defeat the purpose of increasing market share. It indicates that the Postal Service isn't able to handle the volume of business it already has and moreso it indicates they don't care about customer service or satisfaction.

Bernstock did a great job on that.

I was very hopeful when Bernstock was hired. I think he was a ray of hope at HQ.
I think the Priority mail campaign would be even more successful
if more assets were available to upgrade the system. He hired people he
trusted to do the job. That goes on all the time.

The commercial is quite convincing, I hope its continues to have success in its advertising

the campaign is one of the best the postal service has had in a long time and i would credit bernstock's advertising background for that. the carrier in the ads are a good representation of the postal service. but just as an fyi, only mailable items are able to be sent in the boxes not "whatever" and the envelope weight limit is not 70 pounds. to the blog point, it launched a year ago and the campaign continues today. it has legs. how many other postal service advertising campaigns can lay claim to still being utilized a year later. not many.

I think the ad might be missleading people to believe that those are PREPAID flat rate shipping boxes. They would still have to get the postage attached either using click and ship and a computer or going to the post office.

I think we should have PREPAID boxes, and make the boxes in lots of different sizes. Or does prepaid create a problem for homeland security? Hmmm tying our hands again in the name of "security". Losing freedom at every step.

Another commenter hit it on the head when talking about the long lines at the Post Office. I know from working in a small office that to those waiting in line, it must look like a bunch of people that could be working the counters are just wasting time doing other things, but the reality is that not everyone is trained in the mystery shopper ways, or is trained on working with the cash drawer.

People see cash registers not being used and wonder why? To them, any employee should be able to open up that register and conduct business, relieving the long lines.

Having clerks cross-trained to function as window staff and sorting staff and whatever else clerks need to know to get the mail working would be a plus. And to make it mandatory that all clerks work the windows when there are more than two people in a line, till the rush is over. THAT is what people want from their local post office. Not lunch breaks at noon when it is busiest!

I change the channel or zap all of those commercials. What if the postal service hired Angelo Mozillo for his insight on using direct mail to attract consumers.

http://www.youtube.com/user/dryMAILman#p/u/4/ckgBlzykxqY

Since switching from ups for our report mailings last week, I have saved my company $60!!!

Until the spots got me thinking about it I never compared.

As television has been shifting more and more towards online viewing, I have drastically decreased my amount of commercial intake. That being said, I think the Priority Mail commercial is quite effective and I immediately realized the commercial in question just by seeing the screen shot and reading the opening sentence of this post. That is a very good sign of effective advertising in my opinion.

As we move forward in our society of decreasing TV commercial consumption, I think advertisers should put a lot of emphasis on Live sporting events. This is one area where TV holds a great advantage over online options and I do not think viewership will be decreasing anytime soon.

The campaign works well but there are many other products we have to offer that are cheaper and more competitive than our competition that are not being addressed. How about an ad campaign that shows a side by side price comparison of these products and services. Lets get the word out with all the facts and figures. In today's world of instant communications, in the delivery business, the parcel is "king" and it can only be delivered by a person, not electronically.

Was this campaign effective? yes! Was it DECEPTIVE? yes! yes! yes! Our ladies missions group made witnessing dolls to ship to Brazil. Total weight less than 8 lbs for 40 dolls. We packed in 3 flat rate boxes, thinking they fit and as the ad campaign says they ship even international. One item not mentioned or printed on the box, the flat rate is exorbitant for int. The lady who took these to post office did not know and paid $167 to ship. They could have been shipped by weight for less than $50. The USPS has successfully robbed a missions group for over $100. Must make you proud. Makes one "wonder" why everyone gets so upset with USPS.

MMMMmmm. All the money spent on commercials and on promos (childrens movies etc.) What is being done about customer service? Nothing! Don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful post office workers out there who work hard and who care. But not in my town.
A friendly attitude and helpful manner go a long way. If the post office trained window clerks to be polite, caring and helpful and then rated their efficiency on those criteria-we would not need all the advertising. Spend money where it’s needed and stop denying there’s a problem.

No, I'm mad. I mailed my daughter a pair of running shoes and it pushed the package out about 1/8" and I taped well. The post lady said since I changed the "structure" of the box, I had to pay full rate, it cost me over $19.00. It fit and shipped but not at the price they said so I to me that's deceptive.

YOu were actually right. I am in the process of sueing USPS for false advertising, not because of their rules, but because some postal workers do not follow their own rules and make people like you and I pay more. I have fought this and fought it and despite the USPS saying I am right, they still do not correct their workers in the Hope Mills NC post office.

Advertising strongly implies you can prepay for the boxes and the carrier will pick them up at your home/office. That's how it's depicted in the commercials, and it's totally deceptive. You have to go to the post office twice - first to get the box, then back again for postage (even though it's a predetermined flat rate for each size box, so the exact postage is known ahead of time). I don't think "convenience" means quite what the USPS thinks it does. This is not a solution to any shipping problem I have.

I went today to get one of those if it fits it ships boxes. Just a small one. The man said I had to weigh it. That it could not be over 13 oz. I said that is not what the ad said. I told him that I should be able to ship a lb in it if it fits. He said NO. I told him it was false advertizement and that the ad was lieing. I left. Either the the postal man from White City, Oregon 97503 was a new worker and did not know what he was talking about. And he owe me a appology. Or the whole campaign is a lie to the public. NOT a happy postal customer.....

The ads are great. I use Click-n-Ship exclusively for my small business and we couldn't do without it. I cannot understand the comments about the ads leading viewers to believe these are prepaid boxes. I don't see that at all.

What I do feel the ads lack, however, is mention of online delivery confirmation and how easy it is to print labels from home or office. I believe in 30 seconds you could show customers getting free shipping boxes delivered to their home, setting up their Click-n-Ship account online, printing mailing labels from a standard printer on a plain sheet of paper, packing and sealing boxes adhering labels, giving back to postal carrier and verifying delivery online, all without leaving home. That is the full story of Click-n-Ship and I would love to see it depicted in its entirety. It really is far superior to UPS and Fed Ex, but I believe the only message the ads really drum home is "If it fits it ships." There is much more to the story.

Finally, this has nothing to do with the advertising per se, but I would like to see the postal workers be a little more friendly. I have stopped handing my packages to my mail carrier because she gives me the impression that I'm really inconveniencing her when I do. She is not the only one...many postal employees I encounter are this way. Not all are this way, I find many postal employees helpful and cheerful, but I wish they all understood that more packages = more revenue for the postal service, which means more job security for all. I see too many postal employees who don't understand that being terribly busy is a GOOD thing, not a nuisance.

I did not know very much about the postal services until I read your article. Thank you for sharing it with me.

I have found UPS advertising to be somewhat deceptive. I package my shipment according to terms, but always seem to get over charged. I was kinda pissed cus I had to walk 2 miles, I think i got corns on my toes from it smh.

They are false advertising. They say Express mail is overnight but they want 72 hours from the day it was mailed for over night.

You can regular mail something and have it arrive somewhere in the United Sates in 4 days which is what the USPS wants to deliver an express package.

They are misleading customers into paying for services non-rendered.

There is a problem with Priority mail tracking -- the website is not updated in a timely manner and packages are not properly scanned in/out on a regular basis. Example: package scanned 2 times at input facility, once at sort facility, and none thereafter... resulting in 2 day Priority Mail package taken in on the 19th and still not delivered by the 24th. But here is the kicker: all contacts at the Post Office (originating and delivery) stated "you need to wait 5 days before it is missing and we can start tracing where it is".

Sent an urgent letter using USPS "Priority Express". It was "accepted" at local post office (Novato, CA) at 12:23pm, March 20. I was told it definitely would arrive - Passaic, NJ, the "next day" (March 21).

It did not arrive anytime on March 21. I then checked the tracking system on March 21. The system knew only that the item had arrived for sorting in Petaluma (Petaluma, CA) by 2:19pm on March 20, and that it had departed there SOMETIME (time not logged) on March 20. This was late afternoon on the 21st, and the system tracking ended with an entry for March 20th with NO time stamp; and nothing else.

The item did not in fact arrive at the recipient's address until March 22nd, and there was no logging of the item (NJ sorting facility???) until a 7:25am, March 22nd arrival at the Passaic, NJ post office.

Aklso, when the item did not arrive on the 21st, I used the online tracking system and after seeing the limited tracking record, I requested an Email alert confirming the delivery once that had taken place. The delivery was a day late for a "next day" delivery, and worse was that the Email alert confirming the delivery (March 22nd) did not arrive in my Email until THREE DAYS AFTER THE DELIVERY - March 25th.

It's a joke if USPS is thinking it is going to, is ready to "competitively" enter the "next day" package delivery business. Its systems, its IT systems and its personnel are NOT ready or positioned at this time to be ready for that business. Learn to walk before telling people to run with you.

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