New US Postal Service Ad Campaign: Email Sucks, So Mail Stuff Instead

from the from-luddites-r-us dept

It seems the US Postal Service (USPS) is starting to get pretty desperate. Losing a ton of money, it's apparently decided that the time is now to attack the competition. The competition, of course, is email. It's put out two TV commercials that focus on bashing email for not being either secure or reliable:
Of course, I'm pretty sure I've had a lot more physical mail "lost" by human carriers than emails just disappear. And you could easily argue that regular mail isn't particularly secure at times either. All in all, though, it seems like a bizarre commercial. Why even bother making silly assertions about email? Do they really think people are going to start saying... "gee, I can't trust this email stuff to communicate with my friends; now I'm going to start sending real letters through the USPS!"

Filed Under: email, snail mail, usps

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  1. icon
    Beta (profile), 5 Oct 2011 @ 9:28am

    know what business you're in

    E-mail is highly reliable. And the sad fact is that nobody cares about security. PGP (free and open-source) gives Fort Knox security and is quite easy to use, but just try persuading your correspondents to encrypt/decrypt e-mail with it. And don't get me started about the legality of cryptographic signatures.

    The Post Office would have been smarter to play up a quality of paper mail which can't easily be surpassed by e-mail: charm. There is something about holding a letter in your hand, a piece of paper prepared by the hands of someone you know, with the handwriting you recognize, the tidiness or wildness, the post-scriptum crammed in at the bottom, the creases and finger-smudges, maybe the yellowing at the edges. I have a letter my grandfather wrote to my grandmother when he was stationed in London during WWII; he wrote it on the day they announced victory in Europe, and he describes the street scenes and celebrations in a youthful longhand, similar to but different from the inscriptions in some of his books from when he was an old man. In another month I'll write a letter to a couple of my little nieces inviting them (and their parents, natch) to a Christmas party. I'll use my favorite pen and let myself go a little with the capital letters, and maybe add a sketch or two. That's what paper is still best at.

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