HBO Goes Postal to Promote ‘John Adams’

NEW YORK Close your laptop, put away your BlackBerry and write a letter. That’s what John Adams would have wanted.
The U.S. Postal Service and HBO recently launched an ad campaign that focuses on the importance of handwritten correspondence and the heartfelt feelings it evokes. The effort, called “Power of the Letter,” promotes HBO’s miniseries John Adams, which details the life of the second U.S. president and his abundant letter writing.
HBO, seeking exposure for the miniseries that premieres on March 16, is footing the bill. “We didn’t have to spend a penny on this campaign,” said rep Sue Brennan at the USPS, Washington.
The campaign spans across TV, online and retail. A Web site,, was created by HBO, which provides a brief description of the miniseries and encourages consumers to write letters. Standees, which are 6-foot tall cardboard ads, were put up in more than 4,000 Postal Service retail locations around the country to drive consumers to the Web site, in addition to window clings with ads in 12,000-plus locations.
The campaign will run until the end of the month. Civic Entertainment Group, New York, handles.
“[The promotion] is in more Postal Service locations than there are Starbucks coffee shops and Wal-Mart stores in the U.S.,” said Spencer Rice, a director at Civic Entertainment.
Online visitors can participate in a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for four to Colonial Williamsburg, Va., where much of the miniseries was filmed. Other promotions include greeting cards highlighting quotes from John Adams and his wife, Abigail Adams, which are delivered to consumers free of charge with a postage-paid envelope. There are 50,000 greeting cards available on a first-come basis, said Brennan.
Additionally, when consumers receive mail, for a limited time, the postmark will carry a famous John Adams quote from 1765: “Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.” The same quote will be featured on POP and automatic postal center receipts.
Brennan said the Postal Service has been involved in similar campaigns in the past, such as a partnership with Lucasfilm last year to advertise the Star Wars movie on sheets of stamps. “But this is the first time we’re encouraging the power of the written word,” she said.
HBO spent $60 million in U.S. media last year, excluding online, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.