Government Uses Mail Sweep to Debut New $20 Bill

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The U.S. Treasury Department is preparing for next week's release of the new $20 bill with a direct mail campaign targeting banks, retailers and other cash-handling institutions.

The campaign, aimed primarily at cash handlers, kicked off in May with a mailing to 13,000 businesses that included order forms for free educational brochures, a video and CD-ROM. Lists of individuals in each organization and a retailer database were compiled from the Treasury's previous direct outreach effort for the introduction of the updated $50 and $100 bills in 1995 and 1996.

A follow-up mailing with more details about the release was sent out in July.

The new $20 bill is being issued Sept. 24 with a design developed to deter counterfeiting. Since it is the most widely circulated currency after the $1 bill, the Treasury is making its most aggressive and comprehensive education push ever for its introduction. All "New Designs For Your Money" educational materials detail changes to the bill's appearance and highlight counterfeit-detering features.

"Cashiers simply need to be aware of the new note's literal appearance to minimize confusion," said a Treasury spokesman. "Cashiers may be the first-line educators to the general public and will be looked to as authorities. We have tried to emphasize that they are the first line of defense against counterfeiting."

Businesses were encouraged to participate in the education process by ordering posters and other point-of-sale signs as well as serving as distributors of educational materials to employees. Through late August, companies had ordered more than 4 million brochures.

Wal-Mart is including a promotional ad in its September/October circular that will reach 84 million households, an undetermined portion by direct mail. Supermarket chain Kroger also will include ads in its store circulars while the Supervalue chain will distribute brochures to customers.

The American Association of Retired Persons, American Bankers Association and other organizations have done mailings and sent blast faxes to their memberships on behalf of the Treasury while Burger King, Ace Hardware and Greyhound Bus Lines have distributed brochures to their employees.

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