New Delhi: 2000 people visit the post office at Parliament Street in New Delhi everyday. This is just one of the 1.5 lakh post offices in the country. In a novel initiative, India Post will soon convert footfalls into hard cash. The government agency proposes to sell advertising space in its post offices, postcards, inland letters and envelopes. Officials are already in touch with companies who are upbeat about leveraging the reach of the post office to advertise their products and services.
Microsoft, TVS and Hindustan Unilever are some of the first set of clients. According to S Samant, chief general manager, business development, department of posts, ”While the response is positive, it will take time to divert media revenues to post offices. Our projections are that in 2008-09 we will be able to make Rs25-30 crore.”
Presently, it is government departments that seem to be the main advertisers at the moment. The Department of Consumer affairs has just signed a deal worth Rs7.5 crore with them for their ’Jago Grahak Jago’ campaign. India Post has also targeted banks and insurance companies and are hopeful of closing deals soon.
Sources say Reliance, Sahara and Hindustan Unilever have approached the department, showing interest in branding entire post offices, letterboxes and postmen in certain districts, but the postal service is not yet ready to go that far. ”We are not considering putting up entire post offices and manpower into anybody branding that. We are a part of the central government. We would like to maintain our existence separately,” says Samant.
Being part of the government isn’t the only problem. Officials say they will need permission from local municipalities for outdoor advertising, making the logistics of bulk selling a tough proposition. But with alternate streams of revenue, snail mail may soon turn into an attractive, vibrant and lucrative tool.