'Cathy' and 'Dilbert' Cartoons to Promote Services, Web Site

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WASHINGTON ( -- Aiming to bolster its customer-service message, the U.S. Postal Service is mailing a monthly postcard featuring characters from the comics to tout its services to 120 million residential and 10 million business customers.
The massive, sustained mailings are likely to make Dilbert an icon of the Postal Service's customer service.

Cathy Guisewite, author of the “Cathy” comic strip since 1976 and a onetime advertising copywriter for Campbell-Ewald -- now the Postal Service’s ad agency -- will produce seven monthly Postal Service comics aimed at consumers. Scott Adams, who writes the “Dilbert” strip, will produce eight monthly comics aimed at business.

The strips will be produced specifically for the Postal Service and carry postal-related messages. The first efforts, slated to be delivered starting Feb. 22, promote services the Postal Service offers that haven’t been well publicized or promoted in recent years. For example, the “Cathy” comic highlights that stamps are available at ATMs and stores, not just at the post office, while the "Dilbert" strip points out Postal Service information is available through its Web site.

Keeping it funny
Of course, they highlight it humorously. Cathy, asked if she has a stamp, says “sure” and proceeds to empty her purse trying to find one -- creating a pile taller than she is -- before being told “never mind. I can buy stamps at the grocery store … the convenience store … online” or at an ATM. Cathy’s response: Standing in front of a pile now twice as tall, she asks, “Why would you do that when there’s probably one right here?”

The Postal Service says the move is an outgrowth of its success with pre-Christmas mailings of a brochure to consumers and businesses and a suggestion of Campbell-Ewald that received great response in consumer focus groups.

“We wanted to do something on some of the services we don’t advertise routinely, to take more of a customer-service approach and offer simple messages on a monthly basis,” said Rod DeVar, manager-advertising and promotion.

He said while stamps have been sold in supermarkets and convenience stores for awhile and the Postal Service sells envelopes and other packaging products in post offices, a number of consumers aren’t aware they are offered there.

The Postal Service wouldn’t say how much the campaign will cost.

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