Friday, November 16, 2018

An American Christmas ad

The second real Christmas ad I’m sharing this year is an American ad, though not on purpose, exactly. The ad (above) is for the United States Postal Service (USPS) and is called “Surprise Encounter”. It’s a cute ad that nevertheless tells viewers about services the USPS provides, so it’s also a good ad.

The ad is sweet and nice, something echoed in the YouTube description:
The United States Postal Service makes more holiday deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country. With one notable exception: Santa. So, you could say the USPS and Santa are in the same business. They just use a different kind of magic.

The ad’s real job is to promote something that we all know will eventually go away: The postal service. Throughout the developed world, the use of postal services for first class mail has been declining for many years, leading to cut backs and rising charges. Here in New Zealand, it’s led to home deliveries being cut back to three days per week, something we’ve been through twice in three years, and at two different houses. The first was in 2015, and then it happened again last month. Still, postal services DO exist, and will for a while yet, so why not promote it—especially when it can be done with an ad that’s sweet?

The version of the ad above is slightly longer than the one I first saw, and I think this one, which is more detailed, is better. If I was to offer any criticism, I’d say that maybe they could have highlighted the part of their site to help making holiday deliveries easier—USPS.com/santa. That address is in small letters at the end of the ad (and a special, punchier, more memorable one would have been better still, but I’d settle for more visible. Even so, it’s a good ad.

This was actually the second actual Christmas ad I’ve seen this year. I haven’t seen any more New Zealand TV ads that are actual Christmas ads since the one I shared last week (and I talk about what I mean by “actual” in that post). I haven’t had a chance to keep checking for foreign ads yet, though when I did that last week, none were on YouTube at that point (there are now—post coming soon). When they are, they’ll be here, too. Hopefully, more New Zealand ads will be available, too.

In any case, Christmas ads are just nice—they’re not usually controversial, they’re often sweet and/or emotive, and they often give us the warm fuzzies. With all the unpleasantness in the world right now, I think that alone is a good reason to share them.

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