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Postal Service Drops Ad Campaign

June 11, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Under fire from the newspaper industry, the U.S. Postal Service is dropping efforts to get more advertisers to use direct mail.

Postmaster General William J. Henderson announced Wednesday that the agency would abandon its ``Auto Day″ program, which had urged car companies to send out direct mailings so they would arrive on Fridays. The agency had planned to expand the month-old project, in its test phase in Milwaukee, to Baltimore in July.

But Henderson told the House Postal Service Subcommittee he did not want to increase the agency’s revenue at the cost of newspapers.

``There is plenty of room for success for both the newspaper industry and the Postal Service,″ he said.

The Newspaper Association of America has spoken out against the campaign, saying the agency was using its government status to recruit business from advertisers.

In comments submitted to the House subcommittee, the NAA noted that ``mailers who use, produce or sell advertising that competes with advertising mail are essentially paying for marketing efforts against themselves. The Postal Service’s advertising and marketing campaign is not an appropriate function for a governmental agency.″

The ``Auto Day″ campaign, meant to train customers to look for mailers on particular days of the week, was seen as possibly leading to similar days for other industries. The Postal Service had hoped direct mailings would help pick up the slack from falling use of first-class mail.

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