SPECIFIC STAMPS STAR IN POSTAL SERVICE ADS

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The U.S. Postal Service is touting the collectibility of commemorative stamps to adults in its latest TV and print advertising.

The campaign from Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, broke May 17 with 30-second spots on NBC's "Saturday Night Live." The effort will include 30- and 60-second spots on network and cable TV. Print ads break in July issues of national consumer and stamp-collecting magazines.

FOCUS ON STAMPS

Rather than promote the hobby of collecting, as the USPS has done with its kids-oriented campaign, this new work focuses on the stamps, said Azeezally Jaffer, exec VP-stamp services. All told, the USPS is spending $10 million to $12 million annually in all media for this campaign and the continuing children's effort, Mr. Jaffer said.

The TV spots feature a postage-obsessed character known as "Stamp Guy," stopping strangers just as they are about to use commemorative stamps for everyday correspondence.

In one version, "Cafe/Bugs," he stops a woman from mailing a "Dear John" letter with a Bugs Bunny stamp, offering instead a more appropriate toad stamp. In another, "Cable Bill," he prevents a man from using a Humphrey Bogart stamp to pay his cable bill by reminding him of how long he had to wait for installation.

Ads feature a new tagline: "Some stamps you just can't lick."

Besides the Bugs and Bogart stamps, the ads will also feature dinosaur and classic aviation series stamps, with additional stamps featured as the campaign progresses, said Marc Rappin, VP-group management director at FCB. The initial flight will run into the fall and will be replaced by new ads pegged to the holiday season.

GENERAL AWARENESS

While the ads feature specific stamps, they are aimed at creating a more general awareness of stamps than previous campaigns pegged to commemorative issues, said Mr. Rappin.

He said those ads only reached people interested in the topics of the stamp, such as musicians or movie buffs, while this campaign will try to appeal to everybody.

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