USPS Not Letting Go of Holiday Package Business

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"We'll take your returns," the Postal Service tells America in the denouement of its holiday advertising campaign.

Besides consolidating facilities (which it will do more of next week), ridding itself of onerous benefits prepayments, and raising rates, the Postal Service's best bet for the future is increasing its profile in the growing package and shipping business. It's made plain its aspirations in that arena with a holiday ad campaign that kicked off with a spot claiming, “It's our season.” This week it culminates the effort with a play for the business of returning Christmas goodies that didn't quite work out.

“Already There,” which began airing nationwide this week, enlists a group of postal workers to explain why Big Blue (and not those guys in the orange and purple trucks or the ones in the brown uniforms) is the first and best option for returning those fruit cakes and ugly sweaters.

“We come by almost every day to deliver your mail,” a letter carrier begins the pitch, which is then picked up by several fellow postal workers. “So if you have any packages you want to return, just give them to us. I mean, we're going to be there anyway. Why don't you just leave it for us to pick up? Or you could always get in your car and pick it up yourself. Yeah, us picking it up is probably your easiest option. It's kind of a no-brainer.”

The spot concludes with copy saying, “We'll take your returns. Just print a label and schedule a pickup.”

One of the beauty spots of e-commerce for shipping companies is that one purchase could result in two or three deliveries. In mid-December, FedEx acquired GENCO, a 130-facility operation that handles more than 600 million returned packages each year.

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