Post Office set for ad boycott of MoS over rural closures

LONDON - The Post Office is refusing to buy advertising space in The Mail on Sunday for a £10m marketing blitz because of the newspaper's campaign against the closure of rural Post Office branches.

The UK's largest retail network, which currently numbers 16,500 outlets, unveils its biggest brand campaign to date on December 27, with ads positioning the Post Office as an enabling force that allows consumers to accomplish life's mundane tasks.

A source told Marketing the campaign's press element would not include The Mail on Sunday, which has run a series of articles on the impact of Post Office branch closures on rural communities.

The £10m activity includes TV, radio, press, in-branch and online material, created by Publicis, Joshua and Publicis Dialog. Media is by Carat.

The creative centres on a colony of computer-generated ants interacting with Post Office customers. TV spots focuses on the travel, motoring and banking products accessible through the network. A new brand idea is introduced encapsulated by the strapline 'It's the little things that make the big things happen'.

Post Office sales and marketing director Gordon Steele said the ads would encourage consumers to reappraise the Post Office brand by demonstrating the breadth of services available in branches.

"Everyone knows they can send parcels with us, but we're also the UK's biggest bureau de change provider, we have a new financial services joint venture with the Bank of Ireland, and we offer banking services with partners such as LloydsTSB," he said.

Steele declined to comment on the press schedule of the campaign. He said the development of next-generation Post Office branches was proceeding as planned and that a partnership with EasyInternetcafe may be extended.

He also said that a further 1000 branches would be closed by the end of next year, with the network ultimately comprising about 14,500 branches.

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