| The new postcard. A Telegraph picture
New Delhi, Sept. 2: Don’t sneer at the humble 25-paise postcard. It’s going to be a powerful advertising medium — more ubiquitous than the back of a bus, more arresting than a huge billboard on Mumbai’s Marine Drive, and will deliver more bang-for-bucks than either of the two.
The Department of Posts (DoP) has made a tentative start by giving out the front panel of its so-called Meghdoot postcard to Baba, ageing southern matinee idol Rajnikanth’s latest movie.
“We’ll give it out to anyone who wants to popularise anything — the hand, the lotus or anything,” Union communications minister Pramod Mahajan said, opening up a range of options for political parties to deliver their message to the masses ahead of crucial Assembly elections due next year in several states. The best part is that it comes cheap: Rs 2 per postcard for a visual message and Rs 10 if it’s all text.
The whole exercise is geared to generate more revenues for the government. Even if Sachin and Sehwag do not sport the Sahara and Coca-Cola logos when they play in Sri Lanka later this month, the boys in khaki — the local postmen — will.
Indian postmen are all set to be the new breed of brand managers for various corporate houses. These changes in the DoP will be initiated from next year.
There are about 80,000 postmen in India, besides another 50,000 Group D employees who don the khaki uniform. They are provided with the dress material twice a year.
The postal department can earn a revenue of around Rs 6 crore from the dress material alone, if it ropes in fabric manufacturers like Vimal, Bombay Dyeing, Grasim and DCM. The kitty can go up to unlimited levels if the proposal goes through without any hitch.
Industrial houses would also directly benefit from the proposal to dress postmen in uniforms that have a corporate look and sport the logo of a company that will pay the DoP a handsome amount as advertisement fee.
Another initiative taken by the department is ‘Grameen Sanchar Sewak’ — mobile postman services. This pilot project, that will soon take shape, aims to bring connectivity to the doorsteps of people living in rural areas. Initially, the project will be applicable to 2,000 Gramin Dak Sewaks working in villages.