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USPS releases ad touting the advantages of real, paper mail

The United States Postal service launches an ad campaign.


It's no secret that the United States Postal Service is in a lot of trouble. Financial difficulties have plagued the government agency for years, and the world's fickle tastes haven't helped. The prevalence of email, online banking and shopping have resulted in a slow and steady decline of what was once the world's best mail system (back when they were on horseback, anyway).

It shouldn't be surprising then, that the USPS has done what beset industries often do, then: they've launched a PR campaign to show off the advantages of their service over the other guys. So what are the advantages of real mail over email? Well, according to the Postal Service, mail, which is delivered "person to person" (seemingly with a smile, too!), doesn't ever "disappear into thin air" like emails can, and people take comfort in physical receipts. Lists tacked to refrigerators don't get hacked, either. It would be easy to argue with the USPS' tactics here, so instead, I'll offer an alternative track: tout the fact that a real piece of mail (such as a letter) is a rare jewel these days in a sea of hundreds of emails, and that physical mail is harder to ignore. Tell them that a physical birthday card mailed with a stamp is less annoying than an e-card, and that it's likelier to be saved. Tell them that while there's no denying that the world has changed, sometimes the effort of sending a piece of mail is a meaningful gesture for the sender and the receiver, not an afterthought. Or, keep telling people that their refrigerators can't be hacked, and see how that works out.