US Stamps

Modern faux stamps on advertising mail

Jul 27, 2021, 3 PM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Stamps are often used these days to encourage people to open and respond to advertising mail. This is why you see so many nonprofit, presorted and bulk-rate stamps on the ad mail in your mailbox when a little black postage paid indicia would do.

Attractive stamps encourage recipients to open and read whatever is inside the envelope and to use the response envelopes provided.

Of late, many mailers have come to the realization that they don’t have to buy and affix real postage stamps to achieve the same result. Instead colorful stamplike images are printed on the return envelopes.

Figure 1 shows an example of faux stamps featuring cardinals. The envelope even includes a faux sticky note with the message “Postage has been paid for you!”

Additional examples of these multiple blocks of color on business reply mail envelopes are shown in Figure 2. The designs include the American flag, poppies, a dream catcher and Christmas themes.

Figure 3 pictures a recent variant that showed up on an insert with my daily newspaper. Labeled “A Special Invitation,” this item includes a representation of a U.S. flag stamp that encourages a second look and opening of the trifold item. The faux stamp even has a fake cancellation.

This special invitation turned out to be an ad for Dish, the satellite television company.

Apparently this promotion was nationwide as I have heard from many other recipients from around the country, some of whom sent examples. Because there is some difference in the intensity of color in the examples, my guess is that these were printed locally from electronic masters provided by the ad agency. But I’m not going to start collecting color varieties of faux stamps.

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