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Spots Portray Mail Carriers Undeterred by Anthrax Scare

By Published on .

WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The U.S. Postal Service, which suspended advertising in the wake of anthrax scares, will return to TV Sunday with a 60-second ad from a new agency, Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, that will get heavy initial weight.

The spot starts in black and white, featuring historical photos of postal carriers along with the postal creed ("Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds"), then switches to color halfway into the spot with pictures of current mail carriers doing their jobs. The ad is accompanied by Carly Simon's song "Let the River Run."

The spot will run on network news-related programming, on NFL games on network and cable, and on prime-time shows.

The Postal Service declined to disclose spending.

All agencies reported to D.C.
Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett Co. is the Postal Service's agency of record, but after the anthrax incident, the service asked each of its agencies to come to Washington and present ideas -- even its

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media buying agency, Grey Global's MediaCom.

Grey Worldwide produced a speculative ad for its meeting and it won the backing of the Postal Service. Grey will produce print of the ad as well, but the Postal Service said Burnett remains its agency of record, though no other creative is planned.

"We hope the takeaway is that the Postal Service is working hard and that people are working even in the face of some danger," said Larry Speakes, manager of advertising for the Postal Service.

Normally November and December are a heavy time for Postal Service ads as the service works to persuade shippers to use mails rather than delivery services to send holiday packages.

Mr. Speakes, however, said the Postal Service plans no other message this year and will rely on the Grey creative at least until January.

Family connection
Grey Worldwide President Steve W. Blamer said his grandfather was a postal carrier for many years and the ad was developed by Grey's creative team after he described his grandfather's experiences.

Mr. Speakes said Leo Burnett remains the Postal Service's agency of record and ads from that agency would likely resume next year.

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