‘Junk mail’ may be last hope
for saving the U.S. Postal Service
USPS from p. 2
compel me to pick that mail piece up
and give you a third of a second dwell
time to determine whether I’m going
to read it or recycle it.”
In other words, direct mail ain’t
And as a result, the category is
becoming increasingly important to the
postal service, especially now as it seeks
to dig out of the hole forcing it to pursue a four-year, $20 billion cost-cutting
plan or risk shutting down. Consider
this: First-class mail is forecast to decline
from 78 billion pieces in 2010 to 52 billion in 2020 as users migrate to electronic alternatives, according the postal
service’s 2010 annual report. But standard mail—a category that includes
direct advertising—is expected to grow
from 83 billion pieces to 88 billion in
that time. And mail still captures roughly 12% of media spending across all
advertising channels, the Postal Service
says, citing external sources.
Targeting small businesses
With that trend in mind, the service is
seeking to make direct mailing friend-
lier in hopes of luring more revenue by
reaching out to new users. At present,
only about 22% of businesses use
direct mail. A new Post Office program
targeting small businesses called
“Every Door Direct Mail” allows mar-
keters to send out mailings that don’t
require specific addresses or names, a
cost-saver for businesses that used to
have to include such information on
urban mailings. A pizza parlor, for
instance, could target a few city blocks,
dropping off up to 5,000 pieces at their
local post office and paying 14. 2 cents
for each piece, as long as it’s under 3. 3
ounces. Larger mailings must be
dropped off at regional centers.
Another new program being tested in
Austin, Texas, and Raleigh, N.C., called
Direct Mail Hub gives direct marketers
an online tool for templates and to
upload mailing lists, order printing and
pay postage all in one spot.
All eyes on
Bostock as Yahoo
searches for new
BOSTOCK from p. 2
was thrust into a tech world he knew little about. When Mr. Bostock arrived in
2003, the sales side of the business was
thrilled; finally there was someone on
the board with a background in a business that actually generates Yahoo’s revenue, brand advertising.
“He was helpful in helping them
understand what advertising was all
about,” said one former exec. But execs
interviewed by Ad Age said that Mr.
Bostock was miscast as chairman.
Inasmuch as Yahoo derives its revenue
from advertising, it ultimately thinks of
itself as a tech company, and the technologists on the board were reluctant to
follow his lead, they said.
Mr. Bostock’s arrival marked the
beginning of Yahoo’s struggle to stay
competitive, first losing the search battle with Microsoft and then missing
the next evolution, when the web went
social. “The board and management
wasn’t aggressive enough and smart
enough to say, ‘the evolution of the
internet isn’t over, so what’s
next?’”said Wall Street analyst
The minute Mr. Bostock became
chairman in 2008, he had to fend off an
attempt by Carl Icahn to oust the board
and force a deal
Last week share-
holder calls for
Mr. Bostock and
the rest of the
Yahoo board to
Capital owns 5.1% of Yahoo shares, to
the SEC: “We insist that Mr. Bostock,
who championed Ms. Bartz’s hiring
and led the charge against the
Microsoft deal, promptly resign from
Mr. Loeb is hardly alone. “Roy J.
Bostock has made more mistakes than
any media company chairman in
recent memory,” wrote Mr. McIntyre.
Ms. Bartz delivered her parting shot,
telling Fortune, “The board was so
spooked by being cast as the worst
board in the country,” Ms. Bartz said.
“Now they’re trying to show that
to increase its mailings from 485.2 mil-
lion envelopes in North America in
2010 to 494.8 million this year.
Marketing mail “is holding its own
and, in fact, growing ever so slightly
in the mix of marketing tools. ... And
we haven’t ever really aggressively
For now, there are no plans to cut the
service’s $125 million advertising budg-
et. Indeed, another new campaign slated
to debut this month will tout first-class
mail, positioning it as safer-than-elec-
tronic communication. “There’s some-
thing very tangible and secure about the
mail,” Ms. Carrier said. “It’s not like
we’re being Luddites here to try and get
people to stop using electronic ways to
pay their bills,” she said, but “a lot of
people are [giving] a second thought to
converting [to electronic].”
Although the Postal Service has put
its ad account up for review, both new
campaigns are being handled by its
incumbent creative agency, Campbell-
For more on
this story, go
Yahoo’s interim CEO Timothy Morse (l.) and
Chairman Roy Bostock (below).
they’re not the doofuses that they are.”
With the benefit of trailing wisdom,
the call that’s most damning is the
rejection of Microsoft’s sweetened $33
a share offer for the company in 2008,
the year Yahoo separated the CEO and
chairman positions and elevated Mr.
Bostock. Yahoo shares are down 49%
since that move.
Paul Hodgson, a
associate at the
said it’s notoriously difficult to
remove a board for
other than withholding their votes
at the next annual
The only two
directors that had votes withheld at the
last meeting were Ms. Bartz and Mr.
Bostock, Mr. Hodgson said.
Now, Yahoo is once again looking
for a savior, shining a harsh light on
Mr. Bostock and the board he leads.
“There have been so many departures
of people I think it will be difficult to
replace the talent that went out the
door,” said David Karnstedt, who left
Yahoo in 2009 and became CEO of
Efficient Frontier. “Whoever is the
next CEO will have to focus on retaining the good talent and attracting new
talent to Yahoo.”
Advertising Age | September 12, 2011 21
A tale of two
intros new look
for paid readers
BOSTON GLOBE from p. 1
designer Andy Rutledge, shows the
same amount of advertising to its paying readers as its nonpaying visitors.
The NYTimes.com homepage on
Friday included a pair of ads for Marc
Jacobs plus units promoting ING
Direct, Bloomingdale’s and an apartment tower on West 57th Street.
The Globe and The Times are both
part of The New York Times Co. Until
today, Boston.com had been the home
for all Boston Globe content on the web.
The push for elegant design extends
beyond ads and into editorial layout
and navigation. The new Globe site
isn’t going to
chase page views
as aggressively as
most free sites,
content, such as
news it posts during the day and
most of its sports
appear on the
break a column
into several pages that readers must
click through, BostonGlobe.com will
post the whole piece on a single page.
“That less-cluttered reading experience is something that you get for
being a subscriber,” said Christopher
Mayer, The Globe’s publisher.
Unrestricted access to
BostonGlobe.com is for home-delivery
subscribers or people who pay $3.99 per
week to read online, although readers
who arrive through links from search
engines, blogs and social media will be
able to view individual articles. The
homepage and section fronts will be free.
Coldwell Banker Residential
Mortgage New England will occupy all
the site’s ad positions throughout
September, part of a pact making the
site free for everyone until the end of
the month. October will see ads from
JetBlue, the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston, the Museum of Science,
Coldwell Banker and Pine Hills.
Engaged readers and an uncluttered
environment could well benefit the
site’s advertisers. But too many constraints could turn buyers off.
Marketers like ads that expand, for
example, when readers hover their cursors over them, said Andy Chapman,
leader of digital trading at Mindshare.
“Expandability has been a capability
that many advertisers want and have
found value in and get greater engagement with consumers from,” he said.
There’s also the question of whether
this approach positions advertising as
nothing more than a penalty for those
who aren’t willing to pay. But The Globe
said that consumers are increasingly
accustomed to choosing between versions of products that come with different prices and different levels of ads.
Globe publisher says
less clutter is a