New Post Office Ad Backfires in at Least One Case

Apparently, the Post Office has come up with a solution to its intractable budget woes: advertising!


Americans watching college football games and news broadcasts in the next week may notice new ads from the agency -- long known for its campy messages promoting Priority Mail shipping services. Now, the "If it fits, it ships" campaign will share airtime with two 30-second spots designed to remind customers that paper mail, unlike e-mail, can't be hacked, and that letter carriers are still providing reliable and safe deliveries to doorsteps.

"A refrigerator has never been hacked," an announcer says in the first message as an actress pins a paper bill to her fridge.

In the other ad, a smiling letter carrier is seen walking her route while an announcer reminds viewers that hand-delivered messages ensure that "important letters and information don't get lost in thin air, or disappear with a click."

Who knows, maybe this will work in rural areas where the mail carriers are beloved and reliable.  In DC, however, all it does is remind me about the months worth of freelance checks that used to go missing at my old house, and the cavalier way that my current mail carrier dumps packages on my (in plain view of the street) stoop, rings the doorbell, and darts away without waiting to see that I am home.  Though I often work on the couch right next to the front door, I have never made it to the door in time to catch him.


On the other hand, I've never missed an e-pay reminder or a direct deposit.  So what this commercial reminds me to do is check to see if there are any more bills I can automate.
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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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