Marketing | Environment | Culture


U.S. Postal Service: Are You Emotionally Attached?

They don’t seem to care much about customer service or performance.  You’ve probably got a complaint or six about them.  They expect to lose $7,000,000,000 of our money this year.

But when NewMediaMetrics surveyed 3,500 Americans ages 13-54 with annual income of at least $35,000 earlier this year, they beat the following brands, among many others.

  • Car makers: Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jeep, BMW, VW, Toyota
  • Big boxes: Walmart, Target
  • Tech: Microsoft, Sony, Samsung
  • Iconic: Nike, Coca Cola, M&Ms
  • Various: Victoria’s Secret, Visa, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Sea World, Southwest Airlines

Look who rounds out the top 15 of the Leap (Leveraging Emotional Attachment for Profit) Index this year.  Beating out loads of heavy-hitting brands … it’s your United States Postal Service!

Consumers Brand Ranking NewMediaMetrics

Leap Index: Top 15 Brands Consumers Are Most Attached To

This 9/10 list ranks brands based on how many people are most unwilling to give up the brand, ranking it a 9 or a 10 on a 0 to 10 scale.  That’s some love … for the USPS.

The United States Postal Service is the same operation that delivers mail to my home any time between 5 and 8pm most nights.

The U.S. Postal Service is the same operation that set up to teach people about preventing mail fraud when they deliver other people’s mail to my home, including “Important Tax Documents” and what look like bank statements, at least once a week.  Yes, they’re handing over to me other people’s sensitive information (which I either take to their house or drop back into a nearby mailbox).

The USPS is the same operation that could not deliver a piece of mail addressed 100% correctly to my wife from a store that’s less than 3 miles from our house – even though they tried twice.

Undelivered undeliverable fail failed address

Though addressed 100% correctly, this letter could not make it less than 3 miles from its source to its destination on either of two attempts. Instead, it was picked up in-store a month later. Blue marks made by me in Photoshop to conceal partially the address for public posting here.

I like to receive mail.  I read many magazines brought to my front door by the mail carrier.  I pay many bills by mail.  We still physically exchange our Netflix DVDs by mail.

I like attachment.  I want to feel attached to our USPS.  The problem is that they consistently give me reasons not to like them.  (TWO WEEK UPDATE: my wife’s been sending packages to a friend in the military overseas requiring two customs forms each time and says our local office has been very helpful and friendly.  Still not attached, though.)

Are you “emotionally attached” to the United States Postal Service?  Positively or negatively?

Do you have a USPS love or hate story you’d like to share here?  Please do!


2010 Leap Index Top 100 as PDF

Ad Age article about 2010 Leap Index

ForbesLife: Bridal Magazine for the Super-Rich

I like holding reading material in my hands and turning pages as I read.  I like folding a corner or tucking in a piece of paper to mark where I left off before setting it down.  As regards reading, I like not ever having to plug in, power up or power down.  I like books and magazines in physical form.  All that said, I also read a ton online, but that’s beside the point.

One of the magazines I enjoy reading when it arrives in my mailbox by way of the USPS is Forbes.  Occasionally, the magazine is supplemented by the obscenely rich ForbesLife, positioned as “Celebrating the Best of the Best.”  I’ve never seen a publication stuffed with more ads for watches that cost more than my car.

Speaking of being stuffed with ads, here’s the primary observation of this post: ForbesLife is stuffed with ads of all kinds.  Jammed.  Loaded.  Choked.  With advertising.

luxury, watch, Cartier, wristwatch, time piece

The Calibre de Cartier 1904 MC is advertised opposite the table of contents and is priced starting as low as $6,500.

One thing I like to do when a new magazine arrives at my home is to pull out all the postcard-sized, heavy stock inserts.  With the latest ForbesLife, though, I decided to pull out every page with advertising on both sides.  Just for fun and of curiosity.  The issue to which I refer is the 20th Anniversary issue, dated September 2010.

I pulled out 14 pages (28 single-sided pages).  That included a couple multi-page “advertorial” sections for Marquis Jet and for Charleston, South Carolina.

That left just 35 pages.  Of those remaining, 20 had advertising on one of the two sides.

In this tabulation, I was gracious enough to except the “Down Time, For Fall: Effortless Dress-Down Chic” photo spread from the advertising counts, despite the fact that every clothing item is brand-named and priced.  For your reference, I’ll run down item and price on one of those pages (randomly selected): $11,390 wool coat, $535 cotton shirt, $790 jeans and $70 belt.

To summarize: 49 total double-sided pages, 98 total sides, 48 sides with advertising.

That’s a fat lot of ads!  More than 50% the printed piece is advertising.

Bottom line: ForbesLife is a bridal or high fashion magazine for the super-rich.  In bridal and fashion mags, the advertising plays an important, functional role as content.

Beyond the obvious role of revenue-provider to the privately held media company Forbes, Inc., the ads are critical element of the publication for the reader.  The advertising in this type of magazine complements the content proper, provides supporting images and information and casts upon the reader a sought-after sense.

In the case of ForbesLife, it’s a sense of opulence.

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