USPS Making ‘Peace’

After an autumn of anthrax scares, the U.S. Postal Service looks to restore faith in its services during the holiday season, traditionally its busiest time of year, through a campaign from Leo Burnett.

“The postal service is an important part of the holiday season,” said Lisa Bennett, executive creative director at Burnett. “We wanted to put a message out there that reminded people of the role they play.”

A print ad breaking this week in major newspapers uses various stamps to spell out the word “Peace,” illustrating the varied holidays celebrated this time of year, from Christmas to Kwanzaa to Hanukkah. A TV spot breaking next week will depict postal workers talking about how their jobs help people connect.

“This being a unique year for us, we felt this kind of advertising fit the tenor of the times,” said USPS advertising manager Larry Speakes.

The campaign builds on a spot that broke in November that featured postal workers continuing to do their jobs and the Carly Simon song “Let the River Run.” That ad was developed by Grey, New York, after all of the client’s agencies presented ideas for how to indirectly address the anthrax situation.

The postal service scrapped a Burnett campaign developed before Sept. 11 that used blue mailboxes as an icon for the company. But Speakes last week reaffirmed his confidence in Burnett and said the shop is at work on more advertising in the vein of the holiday effort. He did not offer details.

Spending for Burnett’s holiday campaign was not disclosed. The USPS spent $230 million on advertising last year, nearly $25 million of that in December, per CMR.