You get a postcard, and you get a postcard: Canada Post encourages letter-writing

Who: Canada Post, with The&Partnership and Touché! for media. Postcard design by Ottawa-based Mediaplus Advertising.

What: A continuation of the “Write here. Write now” campaign launched in the fall to encourage Canadians to communicate using physical media (ie: letters and postcards) at a time when human interaction has never felt more impersonal.

The Crown corporation is sending one of six different bilingual postage-paid postcards to every household in Canada (approximately 13.5 million postcards in total), encouraging people to send a personal note to friends or family. “This is the biggest piece of mail I’ve ever done,” said Nancy Wright, director of consumer marketing for Canada Post. “It is a LOT of mail.”

When & Where: The six different postcard designs are being randomly distributed across the country between March 1-13, accompanied by a multi-pronged awareness and activation campaign running across organic and paid social, online video and connected TV.

Why: We’re now one year into a pandemic, and the effects of isolation are being acutely felt. “That physical distance has taken an emotional toll. Everyone is missing someone,” said Canada Post president and CEO Doug Ettinger in a video announcing the program (see it below).

The campaign is designed to help demonstrate Canada Post’s role as a facilitator of personal connection, said director of advertising Jennifer Justin. “We experience anxiety, face digital fatigue, isolation and miss those we care about. We wanted to think of a way that Canada Post can help minimize these isolated feelings we are all having. We know Canadians and where they live, so we wanted to share a way for everyone to stay connected to their loved ones.”

Canada Post plans to track consumer sentiment around key brand health metrics such as “changing to meet the needs of Canadians,” “performing well as a company overall,” “a trustworthy company,” and “is supportive of Canadians during unprecedented times.”

The precedent: Last spring, Ireland’s An Post sent two large-format postcards to 1.8 million households as part of its “Come together by staying apart,” campaign. The program was “hugely popular” said An Post, leading it to bring it back earlier this year.

An Post officials actually urged Canada Post to ensure they had enough cards to meet consumer demand, said Wright. “We knew it was going to be positive, [but] I think we weren’t sure how much uptake there would be,” she said. “They made us really think things through to make sure we were ready.”

How: Each of the randomly distributed postcards bears one of six messages: “I’ve been meaning to write,” “Wishing I were there,” “From me to you,” “Sending smiles,” “Sending hugs” and “I miss you.” Each message is accompanied by a different image.

The accompanying awareness campaign includes an announcement stage that is rolling out across Canada Post’s owned and operated channels beginning today.

The will be followed by a Facebook campaign using day-parted messages running between March 15-21. The campaign includes three messages timed for the morning (“Rise ‘n shine. It’s postcard time”) at lunchtime (“Turn lunchtime into letter time”) and the evening (“Streamed out? Pick something to write about”).

Finally, Canada Post is repurposing the “Grandpa, frogs & doodles” ad it ran during the launch phase of the “Write here. Write now” campaign (see it below). The ad depicts a fun-filled day between a boy and his grandfather, before the final reveal that all of the action is taking place in the form of a letter from the young boy. That spot proved particularly resonant among Millennials and Gen Z, attaining an “overwhelmingly positive” sentiment score, said Justin.

And we quote: “When you take a moment and put pen to paper, you’re really sending a little bit more of your heart to someone. It shows that you care and you’re taking an extra step to make their receiving experience brighter. You’re sending an emotion to them.” — Jennifer Justin, director of advertising, Canada Post


Chris Powell