HBO and the U.S. Postal Service Celebrate the Power of the Letter
A written note can be enduring, poignant, personal and timeless. Too often today, it’s easy to forget the value of a heartfelt, handwritten note or card. HBO and the U.S. Postal Service have joined forces for a retail and online campaign that encourages consumers to send a handwritten card to someone they care about.
The “Power of the Letter” campaign promotes HBO’s epic miniseries John Adams, which explores American history through one of its greatest founding fathers, a fiercely independent spirit whose unwavering vision steered America through a tumultuous period. Starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, and executive produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, John Adams premieres on March 16.
Adams was a prolific letter-writer: He and his wife Abigail exchanged over 1,100 letters over the course of their courtship and marriage. The Adams Family Papers, held by the Massachusetts Historical Society, were a crucial resource for historian David McCullough, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning biography John Adams is the basis for HBO’s miniseries.
Now HBO and the Postal Service invite consumers to send their own cards – for free. Visitors to www.poweroftheletter.com can create and customize greeting cards with quotes from John Adams and his wife Abigail. Consumers will be able to choose from six different designs featuring poignant quotes from John and Abigail. The cards, created by the Postal Service’s online retail partner Cardstore, are available immediately through March 30, while supplies last. Consumers customize the card, which is then mailed to them to write a personal note and send it off in the accompanying pre-paid envelope.
Visitors to the site can also enter a sweepstakes to win a VIP trip for four to Colonial Williamsburg, which served as the location setting for many scenes in John Adams. The exclusive five-day/four-night family package includes roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations at the Williamsburg Lodge, dinner each evening, admission to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, a private guided tour and carriage ride, and the option of either a family round of golf or two 60-minute massages.
The “Power of the Letter” campaign also uses two very modern tools to spread Adams’ historic words. For the first time in Postal Service history, post office receipts will carry a promotional message. A quote – “Let us dare to read, think, speak and write” – will be printed on about 3.75 million receipts per day, directing postal customers to www.poweroftheletter.com. The quote also will appear as a national cancellation on 3 billion pieces of mail during February and March.
The Postal Service will promote “Power of the Letter” nationally in 12,765 post offices, serving 6.9 million customers per day. Dramatic 4 ft.-by-6 ft. standees and 2 ft.-by-3ft. window clings promote the campaign and the miniseries. “Power of the Letter” takes over the homepage at USPS.com March 10-17, the week leading up to the March 16 premiere of the miniseries. Banners will also appear on the site for the full run of campaign.
“We’ve been delivering the power of the written word ─ including those letters written by Adams ─ for more than 230 years,” said Joanne Giordano, vice president of Public Affairs and Communications for the Postal Service. “We cherish the letters of great Americans because they help us understand our common history and today letters still play a role in connecting us.”
HBO will also promote “Power of the Letter” on HBO.com and in John Adams education materials reaching over 1 million high school students.
“The tremendous scope of the U.S. Postal Service footprint presented a very compelling opportunity to extend the reach of our marketing communications beyond traditional advertising platforms,” said Zach Enterlin, vice president, Advertising and Promotion, HBO. “When considering the prolific letter writing of John Adams and his wife Abigail, we saw no better partner for us in terms of organic fit.”
“Power of the Letter” runs through March 30. Marketing agency Civic Entertainment Group, New York, handles the campaign for HBO and crafted the partnership with the Postal Service.
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