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Postal Service promoting PO boxes with test campaign

The US Postal Service is conducting a test marketing program in four markets promoting its Post Office Box Service, commonly known to consumers as “PO boxes.” The service provides consumers and businesses secure mail delivery to a post office receptacle for an annual fee.

Campbell Ewald and Draft FCB, the USPS’ two agencies of record, worked on the effort.

The test initiative, which uses the tagline “Your other address,” launched in Tampa, FL; Hartford and New Haven, CT; Minneapolis, MN; and Portland, OR. The campaign, which will end in December, includes direct mail, radio, print, Internet and point-of-purchase retail elements.

“We are looking at all ways to enhance the bottom line,” said Greg Frey, a Postal Service spokesman. “As our March plan makes clear, there is no one, single solution to improving our financial position. We are looking at the cost side and the revenue side, all while trying to expand access to our customers.”

To track the effectiveness of each marketing element, the USPS has prepared color-coded copies of the form that customers use to apply for a PO box. The forms ask for the same information, but allow post offices to track which campaign element customers find most compelling.

Facing a steady decline in mail volume and a predicted loss of $7 billion this fiscal year, the Postal Service has worked to boost revenues by offering new products and services and expanding interest in its existing products. It sees an opportunity for its PO boxes, which contributed about $184 million to the bottom line last year. The annual fee for PO box service ranges from $24 to $820, depending on the location of the box and the size of the receptacle. The USPS has proposed slight increases in those fees in its exigent rate case pending before the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).

The PRC allowed the Postal Service this summer to move PO box service in some locations from its “market dominant” product list to its “competitive” list, giving the USPS greater flexibility to set prices. Most of these locations are in metropolitan or suburban areas. This advertising campaign is unrelated to that effort.

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