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USPS Sends Holiday Guide to Every U.S. Household

The U.S. Postal Service targets every household in the United States this week with the delivery of The Shipping & Mailing Holiday Guide.

The Holiday Guide describes products and services available from the USPS. Letter carriers began delivering the guide to 141 million addresses Nov. 15 and will continue through Nov. 23. It also is available at www.usps.com.

“The Holiday Guide represents the largest direct mail project ever executed in a one-week time period,” said Yvonne Furth, president and chief operating officer of Draft in Chicago, which created and executed the effort.

The 5-by-7-inch, four-color booklet is addressed to “postal customer” and sent presorted First-Class Mail. On the back of the booklet, consumers see this message: “Use this Holiday Guide to make shipping and mailing easy,” signed by “Your postal carrier.” The front shows a winter scene with Portland, OR, letter carrier Earl Keeton delivering mail.

Portland customers were the first in the nation to receive the guide.

The guide gives details on Priority Mail, Express Mail, Global Priority Mail, Global Express Mail and Global Express Guaranteed Service. It also highlights online services.

It explains how the Click-N-Ship service can calculate rates, standardize addresses, print postage, add up to $200 worth of insurance, allow customers to receive free Delivery Confirmation service and request a carrier pickup.

It also covers NetPost CardStore, which lets a postal customer's personal computer design a personalized card. Designs are uploaded in minutes. A custom-printed greeting card can be mailed the next business day. To enclose photographs, users can upload digital images for inclusion. Another option is to add a gift card from a major retailer, available in amounts from $10 to $200. For those planning a holiday trip, an order to hold mail can be submitted online.

Illustrations and tips about choosing extra services such as insurance or Delivery Confirmation are also part of the Holiday Guide.

It also includes the final mailing dates for items to arrive before Dec. 25. Mailings for Hanukkah, which begins Dec. 9 this year, should be scheduled using lead times similar to those used for Christmas.

Postmaster general John E. Potter conceived the guide. The USPS turned to the Chicago office of Draft, a marketing communications company, for the effort, which took nearly a year to plan.

“Our goal was to provide a handy reference tool for folks to have at home to help them with all their holiday mailing and shipping needs and questions,” said Nancy Forster, Draft account director on USPS. “Typically, there is an after-Thanksgiving rush to ship and mail in time for the holidays.”

Draft's effort involved:

· Working with three major paper mills to deliver a paper volume totaling 4 million pounds.

· Selecting and working with 11 print vendors nationwide.

· Finding and working with five letter shops equipped to package booklets in letter-carrier-walk sequence and which had storage capacity for the necessary paper tractors, trays and palettes required for the printing and storing of the mailer.

· Coordinating with numerous freight carriers to ship booklets to shops nationwide.

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