Priority:You. Out-of-the-box thinking from the Postal Service


The USPS has delivered an uplifting new spot that takes on falling revenues and market share with a story of connections and community, all thanks to couriers making their appointed rounds.

Ostensibly a promotion for priority mail (one of the few profitable services in the company’s portfolio), the commercial is also a paean to postal workers themselves. In the words of Betty Su, the USPS executive director of marketing, it is designed to “highlight the great work our employees do servicing the American public every day.”

 As everyone knows, the Postal Service is under tremendous pressure from Congress (pre-funded health mandates), private couriers like FedEx (with which they often collaborate) and those everyday Americans themselves (who prefer email to snail mail, pay their bills online and—if they must buy stamps—get them at the local ATM or grocery store).

 In a very entertaining “making of” video, director Errol Morris called this project “a noble venture” and the beautiful footage and inspiring delivery certainly make the “Priority:You” claim believable. (“Our priority is, was and always will be serving you, the American people.”)

Yet, reality—at least in my neighborhood—tells a different story. A trip to the post office is more heartburn than heartwarming. I love this commercial and hope it works (on every level) but I am afraid it may prove the truth behind the phrase: the fastest way to kill a bad product is with good advertising.

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