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INDICIA EXPOSURE: USPS NOW PERMITS PICTURES

Oct 1, 2012 12:00 AM


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This past May, the US Postal Service (USPS) launched the Picture Permit Imprint Indicia program. Commercial mailers can use corporate logos or other brand images in the permit indicia space on their mail.

The Picture Permit Imprint Indicia program is open to commercial mailers of presorted First-Class Mail letters and cards or Standard Mail letters. The premium for First-Class Mail letters and cards will be 1 cent per piece, and for Standard Mail letters, 2 cents per piece.

MORE VISUAL IMPACT...FOR A FEE Gary Reblin, USPS Vice President, Domestic Products, said dozens of the USPS’ largest customers have requested more design latitude. “Permit indicia enhanced with logos, photos or other brand images increase the visual impact of the mail piece as well as its open rate and value,” said Reblin in a USPS press release.

Kurt Ruppel, Marketing Services Manager at IWCO Direct, agreed creative permit indicia can boost a mail piece’s visual impact and add value. But his company questioned the pricing. “We are very disappointed the Postal Service has opted to charge a significant fee (2¢ per piece—$20/M—for Standard Mail) for use of this design element, especially given that it does not add to the cost to process the mail piece,” says Ruppel. “This unnecessary fee discourages mailers from using a product that could make advertising mail more interesting, relevant and effective.”

DECADES OF DISCUSSION Leo Raymond, MFSA’s VP/Postal and Member Relations, said the indicia idea has been discussed for decades. He noted that it joins reposition-able notes and dimensional mail as another USPS vehicle for attracting and retaining mail volume. Because of the premium, it’s likely to be used selectively. “You have to make sure it’s worth it,” said Raymond. “But commercial mailers are ready for it and I hope it works!”