I am proud to be an invited blogger on Talent Zoo’s New Media Edge. If we may also define New Media Edge as using traditional media in a brand-new way to gain a competitive edge, here’s another opportunity I want to bring to your attention. As aptly described by Rita Chang in Ad Age Digital and tweeted here, Hippopost—brought to you by two former Research In Motion execs [read: Blackberry]—lets you create custom postcards using photos stored on your mobile device or desktop and mails them for you free of charge. The catch? You must choose a brand sponsor whose logo will appear on the card.
Yes, like sponsor logos all over the boards in NHL arenas, the new tier of seats the Boston Red Sox installed over the Green Monster in Fenway Park…and hair salon advertising imprints on mirrors in women’s restrooms at major suburban malls, as this humble correspondent has recommended for at least one client campaign…the commercialization of our lives marches on. Hopefully, however, in an age where postal rates seem to change more often than we reset our clocks for daylight savings time, the benefit of sending postcards for free will outweigh any perceived negatives. In fact, given the flood of tee and sweatshirts visible in most suburban shopping meccas the world over on any given day, broadly emblazoned with the logos of random product brands or the clothing designers themselves, I can foresee the day when branded postcards are de rigeur to lend that extra zest of fashion cachet to your greetings from afar.
Hippopost enters an increasingly crowded field. Postino from Anguria Lab lets you create both digital and physical postcards. HazelMail is a free download from the iPhone App Store that lets you take a photo directly from your iPhone or iPod Touch and instantly send it as a postcard. Benefit: No sponsor branding. Catch: Only the first postcard is free. Shoot It! offers a similar service and charges from $.99 to $1.49 per card. Postage from Rogue Sheep [yes, Rogue Sheep] does digital-only cards.
Yet Hippopost stands out from the rest of the flock as a marketing vehicle that actually saves consumers money right out of the box and I’ll be charting its progress.