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Mail That Baby, Baby

By - January 20, 2008

I was going to wait to post this till the start of a mobile posting campaign that Microsoft is very kindly launching, but I just can’t let it wait (for those who might care, Microsoft is going to underwrite a bunch of FM authors, including me, posting mobile stuff like photos and maps and voice posts). Anyway, I was in JFK airport and I saw an arresting image in a Pitney Bowes ad.

Dumb Baby

Now, what does Pitney Bowes do? Well, turns out I have some knowledge in this area, as my father, ever the itinerant entrepreneur, tried to compete with Pitney in the 80s by creating a better postage meter. He didn’t get very far. Pitney is the Microsoft of postage meter companies. They own the market.

So they are doing a corporate campaign, apparently, and somehow, they came to the conclusion that slapping postage on a newborn baby – wait, let me say it – a not very pretty newborn baby – is somehow a powerful statement of corporate purpose. (That bracelet is actually a postage label).

Now, am I off here, or does this simply offend at too many levels to really go into? Do they really want to be seen as “putting a stamp” on newborn babies? Are they out of their minds? Anyway, a funny ad, a funny photo, taken as I was, perhaps, a bit funny myself, given I was two beers in waiting for my delayed flight…


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6 thoughts on “Mail That Baby, Baby

  1. Anthony Eden says:

    The same ad is in the Washington-Reagan Airport as well, and I always felt that its creators were out of their minds as well.

  2. Desire Athow says:

    I always say that Creative directors are paid way too much money… ;-) Anyway, the advert should be taken with a spoon or two of salt and the word “stamp” probably figuratively. And to hell with Stamps… Why use stamps on babies when they can be microchipped … but that’s another debate altogether

  3. Mike Dieffenbach says:

    They are, indeed, out of their minds. That is one disturbing ad.

    Reading “The Search” right now. Very good book. Thanks.

  4. Keith Sibson says:

    I remember seeing it for the first time and being surprised and confused. This ad campaign has been running for a while now in the likes of Fortune and Forbes magazines, where many readers would be familiar with the business. However, it’s difficult to say how a more mainstream audience will react. It certainly stands a good chance of getting people talking about the firm and bringing it into the public eye, but it definitely is something of a PR gamble for Pitney Bowes. I imagine this could be a career maker or breaker for someone!

    Keith Sibson
    http://www.successinwork.com/

  5. Andy Havens says:

    Some people don’t get the differences between “odd,” “funny” and “scary.” These people shouldn’t be allowed to make ads.

    This is odd at best, scary at worst. Messing w/ babies in any other way than “cute and to be cared for” is bad mojo. Same for pets. Don’t let the dog play with fireworks, etc. We feel ambivalent enough about how many “tags” are on us and our kids. And, right… the mailing aspect of it is just, frankly, so out-there as to make me wonder who signed off on it. It’s got shades of “toe tag,” and sending home bodies in coffins, as that’s the only time you “mail” a person.

    Bad, bad, bad.

  6. Alex Cheek says:

    I agree that the metaphor is a little harsh, but they were probably referring to their involvement in the Dossia project. It is a project to create a “life long personally controlled health record” for people led by a consortium of large employers like BP and Walmart, healthcare companies like Cardinal Health and sanofi-aventis and information technology companies like Intel and Pitney Bowes.

    http://www.dossia.org/home