Advertising via Stamps

I was reading a comic in the newspaper this morning, which joked that the post office should put celebrities on the walls, and “most wanted” criminals on the stamps.

That got me to thinking – why haven’t we made better use of the images that go on the stamps? Millions of letters are handled per day – that square inch of real estate might be valuable. (Actually, I knew the answer – it’s because the post office is a big, partially-government-controlled bureaucracy with no financial incentive to innovate, but I digress). I bet a company would be willing to slap their logo on stamps and hand them out for free. If that form of advertising proved effective for building some sort of mindshare, all letter-sending in the US could become free to people because it would be ad sponsored. I did a Google search and it appears there is in fact a pilot program to start allowing this sort of thing.

…advertising was barred from stamps until earlier this year when Congress overturned a 19th-century law barring commercial images on stamps.

Of course it was.

18 thoughts on “Advertising via Stamps

  1. Maybe not companies but bands could advertise a new album or production companies could plug a new movie. The thing is, people keep stamps around forever, so how could you ensure that the stamps are being sent out on a time-sensitive basis? Also people like to buy the love stamps for their wedding invitations and the santa stamps for their Christmas cards. I guess a lot of people would choose free over pretty. For me it would depend on the letter. Also, would you want to bet on such an old technology? Isn’t mail becoming less and less freqently used for personal commmunication?

  2. Because you’re a woman and your opinion doesnt count. You will notice that now that I have left a comment there will be a count of comments.

  3. Hilarious. No – WordPress has some kind of moderation feature where it lets known people through, and unknown people have to be moderated. I’m not sure what the algorithm is for when they require moderation and when they don’t. Anyhow, it seems to do a good job of preventing spam. For new people I get an e-mail and have to approve the comment before it shows up on the site.

    In terms of your comment… it’s true that regular postal mail is probably on the decline, but I don’t think you really have to “bet” on it anymore than running an ad in the newspaper is “betting” on the future of newspapers. It’s just a way to get the word out. Admittedly, I’m not sure how effective it would be. I do buy stamps from time to time though, because there are still things I have to mail (traffic tickets, product rebates, some bills, an occasional check to a paypal-unaware friend). So, even big nerd/techie types still need stamps.

  4. Also, when I was thinking of companies advertising on stamps, the one that came to mind was Coca-Cola. That is, they wouldn’t use the stamps to really get the word out about their product, they’d just want to keep their brand on the top of people’s minds.

    I agree that time-sensitive things are a trickier proposition – it probably isn’t a good advertising vehicle for those types of things.

  5. I wish….I had to go to Boston College instead.

    Unfortunately I went to high school with Tom….we’re like totally BFF.

  6. One and the same. Go Eagles! BTW I heard the nickname story. Did you end up hanging the thing on your door anyway?

    Thanks, Tom, for hosting out random conversation. 🙂

  7. Nice, you’re like totally hot and stuff. I’m pretty much stalking you online (I like the search query that resulted in traffic to your blog, that’s awesome). We should totally be MySpace friends.

    Anywho, it’s still sitting in a random closet somewhere. I never liked the kid anyways, so I’m kinda glad we didn’t have to hang the thing up and explain to everyone that came over where we got it from.

    And yes, thanks Tom for FINALLY validating our friendship. I knew after 14 years of friendship you would eventually prove to be useful.

  8. By the way, I think it’s funny that our conversation started out with me being a total ass and saying that women’s opinions dont matter.

  9. BTW, if you want to be my MySpace friend, just go to Tom’s page and you’ll find me in his top 12. I noticed you were, um, missing. Might want to rething that BFF thing.

  10. Yeah, well that’s only a matter of time. I’ll get back to you.

    Yeah Tom, what’s the deal? I can’t even leave comments on your page anymore. Who’s going to make light of your masterbation problem?

  11. You should be able to leave comments on my MySpace page, unless disabling comments is an (un)fortunate side-effect of having been blocked. BFF.

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