Magazine article Editor & Publisher

USPS Cancels Direct Mail Ads

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

USPS Cancels Direct Mail Ads

Article excerpt

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has canceled ads touting the benefits of direct mail advertising over other media.

The ads were running in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and media trade publications.

Although newspapers did not not get as bad a rap as did magazines, they were attacked in copy saying, "Your best prospects are bombarded by about 61 print ads every day. So how will your message break through?... Obviously, newspapers and magazines can help reach mass audiences. (Yes, we advertise here, too.) But without direct mail as part of your media plan, your message may just get lost in the clutter."

"We did not set out to offend anyone," Frank P. Brennan, a Postal Service spokesman, said in a Washington Post article. "After we heard the complaints, we performed an internal review and came to the conclusion that we should pull the ads that were the most misunderstood."

Brennan told E&P that the Postal Service did not go beyond its mission in simply asking advertisers to consider direct mail. "The Postal Service has helped create a tremendously viable retailing segment in the U.S. economy over the past 25 years," he said referring to the growing use of direct mail advertising by discount and department store chains.

"We've helped them by maintaining a uniform delivery system with universal prices," he said.

Brennan contended that the ads never suggested that advertisers go only, with direct mail."We know better than that," he remarked, adding that the Postal Service also advertises in newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio.

The Postal Service action came only after a harshly worded letter from Donald Kummerfeld, president of the Magazine Publishers of America, the magazine industry's biggest trade association.

"To say, direct mad is better than print advertising is just plain silly," Kummerfeld said. …

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