The United States Postal Service (USPS) has demonstrated how an official tie-up with the right movie can deliver powerful benefits for brands – as well as the power of welcoming ideas from external sources.
Nagisa Manabe, chief marketing and sales officer at USPS, discussed this subject during a session at a recent conference.
And she explained that a formal affiliation with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, released by Sony Pictures last year, had a tangible impact in tackling negative brand perceptions for USPS.
One problem, Manabe reported, is that despite serving consumers come rain or shine – and even now delivering packages from Amazon at weekends – it often receives low favourability ratings.
“But the truth is the United States Postal Service (USPS) is an extraordinary organisation with tremendous amounts of technology that help to drive all of the things we do,” she said. (For more, including how this tie-up was activated, read Warc’s exclusive report: United States Postal Service summons superhero to rescue brand.)
“We process 170bn pieces of mail and packages every year and we do that flawlessly.”
Faced with such a challenge, the task for Manabe and her team involves shifting attitudes concerning the organisation, which is frequently regarded as an “old stodgy institution”.
Instead, it wants to be perceived as “not just the carrier you love, but actually a technology-driven, reliable company”.
Tapping into the heroic figure of Spider-Man met a lot of the criteria that might assist USPS in changing the consumer mindset.
It also, Manabe admitted, showed precisely why “one of the biggest tasks for marketers is to listen when someone smart comes up with a good idea” – whatever the source.
“Sony Pictures reached out to us through Universal McCann, and actually said, ‘Hey, you have an interesting story to tell. Maybe we could tell the story together’,” she said.
“[Universal McCann] pitched the idea to us and it was brilliant – down to the red, white and blue of Spider-Man and the red, white and blue of the Postal Service.”