Talk about marketing reach. Three kid-friendly stamp series will debut in the first half of this year and find their way into millions of U.S. households
Imagine a marketing program that gets your property directly into millions of households and businesses worldwide, while simultaneously turning it into a cherished keepsake for adult and kid collectors alike. Well, you’re in luck. Anywhere between 20 and 25 times each year, the U.S. Postal Service issues stamps to commemorate an array of the country’s milestones, significant people, successful inventions, and kids properties.
Three kid-themed stamp series are poised to land on an envelope near you in the first half of 2006. Last month, a sheet of 16 stamps depicting animals from favorite children’s illustrated books debuted at post office outlets around the U.S. Stamps featuring The Art of Disney: Romance are slated for an April launch and stamps sporting 20 images culled from D.C. Comic’s collection of super heroes and comicbook covers will be unveiled in late June/early July.
David Failor, executive director of stamps at the U.S. Postal Service, says the biggest misconception about getting an image on a stamp is that an IP owner can simply call him up and suggest a particular property for the stamp treatment. Instead, the Postal Service fields suggestions from approximately 50,000 American citizens who write in each year. A group of 14 volunteers from the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, representing every occupation from artist to athlete narrows the selection to about 20 interesting or educational American or American-related candidates and presents them to the U.S. Postmaster General. Once the projects are confirmed, rights negotiations begin.
It can take up to three years for an American Stamp Program to get started, depending on the number of IPs associated with its launch. Failor points to January’s favorite children’s book animals program, featuring characters from both new and evergreen titles such as Maisy and Curious George. Working for the first time in conjunction with his counterpart at Royal Mail in the U.K. and its commemorative Animal Tales stamp sheets, Failor and his team sought out eight properties that fit the American-made (and one British) children’s animal properties theme.
The 39-cent First-Class ASP stamps are available for about a year at U.S. Post Offices and Philatelic centers (postage memorabilia retailers). The key demographic is stamp collectors, who can purchase special editions such as framed sheets and framed art on-line at www.usps.com/shop or www.postalartgallery.com. Failor says enthusiasm from worldwide collectors drove him to forge a three-year partnership with Disney, and this year Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida will host a ceremony to celebrate the release of this set of stamps in March.
The Postal service doesn’t pay royalties on licensed images, and don’t expect free sheets of stamps. However, Failor boasts, around 99.9% of the people/licensors he approaches want to take part in the program. ‘It’s still a huge honor to get your image or your IP on a stamp,’ he says.