USPS, eBay alliance promotes Priority Mail

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Two direct marketing giants—eBay and the U.S. Postal Service—announced the kick-off of the “Ship It Win It” sweepstakes to promote USPS’ new “shoebox” Flat Rate Priority Mail box. The announcement occurred at the annual eBay Live! conference in Las Vegas last week, at which USPS was the title sponsor.

The latest Postal Service campaign is part of a larger push to appeal to small business.

“They want to be a very powerful resource for small businesses as well as consumers,” said Mark Bellissimo, exec VP-account director at Campbell-Ewald, in Warren, Mich., USPS’ agency of record.

Rod DeVar, manager-advertising and promotion for USPS, said, “My job is to connect our selling message to small business in the smartest way possible.”

He said USPS was interested in partnering with eBay particularly to combine its messaging with eBay’s “Whatever it is, you can find it here “ campaign. “The Post Office says, whatever it is you need to ship, we can deliver it,” DeVar said. “It was a nice marriage of ideas.”

Bellissimo said this latest partnership with eBay makes sense given the shopping portal’s similar audience and its online presence. USPS has been partnering with eBay since 2003.

“We have a lot of messages we’re focused on for the Postal Service, like online shipping products and services, so this made a lot of sense since eBay is a Web-based portal,” he said. “This was a natural way to promote the product.”

Draft Chicago, which works with Campbell-Ewald on Postal Service advertising and marketing, created the “Ship It Win It” promotion.

There are a total of five different box sizes that are part of the new Flat Rate Box series, which debuted this spring. The shoebox, announced last Tuesday, is the most recent entry: the boxes feature the colorful eBay logo and the Priority Mail eagle-head logo.

USPS has been running print, radio and direct mail advertising since late March to promote its flat rate boxes, which cost $8.10 no matter their weight or destination.

“We sent out 980,000 direct mail pieces to small businesses that offered them the flat rate box ‘starter kit’: five flat rate boxes, priority mail shipping labels and directions on how to use it,” DeVar said.

The campaign is part of USPS’ “Access” campaign. “All the advertising talks about services that make it easier for you to access the Postal Service,” DeVar said.

The sweepstakes will run online, as well as at point of purchase in select post offices. The online component will include online banner ads, as well as real estate on both USPS and eBay Web sites. “It gets plenty of eyeballs that way,” DeVar said.

The grand prize of “Ship It Win It” is $10,000, deposited into the winner’s PayPal account. In addition, four first prize $500 eBay gift certificates and 10 second prize $100 gift certificates will be awarded. There will also be weekly drawings for $25 eBay gift certificates.

DeVar said USPS will continue to promote flat rate boxes in future marketing efforts. “We will continue to talk about flat rate boxes as part of the overall access messaging,” he said.

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