Postal Service launches historic infomercial

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The U.S. Postal Service used a bit of history to make history when it debuted its first infomercial on June 16.

The thundering hooves of the Pony Express led viewers through a series of modern-day business success stories in a 28-minute video that will run throughout the summer on 20 different channels, including CNBC, ABC Family and The Discovery Channel.

"The main focus on the infomercial is to talk to our customers and show them how we've made our products and services easier to use," said Lisa Bobb-Semple, program manager at USPS. "It highlights a number of customers from a variety of backgrounds who have used our products and services with success." Each story highlights a service available at www.usps.com that has made shopping and shipping easier. Interspersed with each story is a bit of USPS history showing how the Postal Service has been on the cutting edge of information transportation ‹ from the early days of the stagecoach to having the largest fleet of alternative fuel vehicles in the world today.

Companies profiled or appearing in the infomercial include OHSO, maker of a travel toothbrush; Lock Your Leathers, maker of locks for the Harley-Davidson travel bag; Dale & Thomas Popcorn, which sells unique popcorn gift baskets and popcorn gift tins; Ornaments to Remember, maker of hand-blown glass ornaments shipped from Hawaii; and Arborwear LLC, which sells pants for outdoor workers.

In the infomercial, titled "Today's Postal Service: A Tradition of Innovation," company representatives offer stories about their businesses and how they have used USPS products and services successfully.

Each segment of the infomercial highlights products and services. Some examples are Click-N-Ship, free package pickup, Automated Postal Centers, shipping options, mailing supplies and Flat Rate boxes and envelopes.

The infomercial, which is targeted to both consumers and small businesses, was conceived by the USPS and Campbell-Ewald, its advertising agency of record. Euro RSCG was the production company.

The infomercial drives viewers to the site at www.usps.com/thenewpostoffice, where they can input information about themselves, including if they are a business customer or a residential customer and how often they use USPS's products and services. This information helps tailor the site to a visitor's needs. To learn more about the product or service they select, the visitor is taken directly to the area of the USPS's Web site that offers more information or allows them to purchase the product or service.

Ms. Bobb-Sempel said the USPS decided to use the infomercial format because "it gives us the chance to tell our story of 'quick, easy and convenient' in a longer format."

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