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Any comments/insights on this article?(35 posts)

Any comments/insights on this article?amflyer
Jul 11, 2002 10:09 AM
Note "reply to" email address at bottom of article.

Article title: "Why is the Post Office advertising in France?"

http://slate.msn.com/?id=2067897
re: Any comments/insights on this article?goose04
Jul 11, 2002 10:29 AM
um when the usps logo is on the front page of the sports and sometimes newspaper don't you think that helps them out?
or when espn says something about the tour they always show a pic or something about usps?
UnderstandableMXL02
Jul 11, 2002 10:34 AM
Although I support Lance and his team, I sort of agree with this article. I think the USPS sponsorship probably does more harm than good for Lance and improving public awareness of cycling in general. (How many people really like the postal service?!) Anytime you have a quasi-government company like the USPS sponsoring an event, it probably raises more irritation than support, except for diehard enthusiasts who don't really care. A sponsoring pvt US corp like Nike or Apple would probably be more appropriate and get more coverage of Lance specifically and cycling in general.
The author is a total idiot.elviento
Jul 11, 2002 2:10 PM
And I can't agree with your, MXL.

Why does a sponsor ship do harm to Lance??? Where does the irritation come from??? Do you know what you are talking about?

1. the argument is that sponsoring the team is bad for the USPS, which is already losing lots of money. If they lost 281 million a quarter, that'd be $1.12 billion a year. 8 million out of 1.12 billion is less than 1%. Besides, how to you know the investment in sponsorship has CONTRIBUTED to that loss, instead of MITIGATED some of the loss?

2. the author says that USPS international business contributes only 3% of their business but 6% of their advertising budget is on cycling. Well, the only way that argument can make sense is that Lance Armstrong and his team has "0" impact whatsoever on America at all. And we know that's not true. In fact, I think it's the most well spent 6% of their advertising budget.

3. Even if we concede that the publicity USPS got isn't worth the spending, even a private corporation has certain degree of leeway in investing in things that promote public interest. And anyone remotely familiar with corporate America knows that $8 million is like nothing. The 500+ MDs at Goldman Sachs each makes over 5 million dollars a year. Mike Tyson and the like make 60+ million in an hour. Now can't they give us cyclists a friggin' break?
You have to separate your devotion from the issue...MXL02
Jul 12, 2002 5:49 AM
Nobody, myself or the author, is slamming your hero, Lance, or cycling. The issue is should a government run company like the USPS, be sponsoring ANY sporting event. I understand the author's issue is with sponsoring a cycling (low American interest and chiefly European venues) team, but my contention is that the USPS should not be sponsoring anything, especially since the price of stamps has just gone up, and half the time my mail is misdelivered. My contention is that a more glamorous high visibilty company would not only be better for Lance but better for cycling in general. Remember, despite our love of this sport, most of the non-riding public is totally clueless, and maybe more PR from a well heeled sponsor with high public approval would help...look at what it has done for NASCAR. (and don't slam me for comparing cycling to NASCAR! I'm just using it as an example of how high profile corporate sponsors can help a sport)
no problemelviento
Jul 12, 2002 8:38 AM
Even if I am not interested cycling, I don't see why anyone with not enough credentials to manage a huge company should be qualified to judge the business decisions of USPS.

Even a government sponsored business is still a business. And advertising is a key part of it running a business. I just don't see why USPS can't have the discretion to invest such a minute amount of money for advertising (Do you know Merrill Lynch spends 40 times that much on paper clips and ink each year?).

The amount of goodwill and other intangible returns on that small investment can easily be more than that and is certainly beyond what a lousy webazine columnist can figure out. I think the publicity for USPS is definitely worth the small investment.

In a time when pan handlers are shifting from quarter to dollar as their basic denomination, is the 3 cent increase really that big of a deal? I mean, I probabaly mail 2 letters a week, that's $3 total increase for a whole year.
How many cycling catalog companies ship via USPS?dzrider
Jul 11, 2002 10:46 AM
BikeJerseys tries to encourage using priority mail, but I don't recall others. It would appear to me that they would be the likeliest bunch of businesses to be influenced by team sponsorship. If they haven't been who has?
F*** 'em. USPS team are convenient scapegoats...eschelon
Jul 11, 2002 10:57 AM
for people bitchin' about the postage stamp increase...just like the Nazi's claiming the Jews were responsible for Germany's pre-World War II economy and social problems.
RE: F*** 'em. USPS team are convenient scapegoats...gregario
Jul 11, 2002 11:21 AM
Although I think the comparison is extreme, I really really really get tired of people bitching about the Postal Service. No, I don't work for them but I think they do a great job. It's always the screw-ups you ever hear about. What the hell is 37 cents anyway? You sure as hell can't make a phone call across the country for that much, nor can you probably buy your local newspaper.
Lance give a new meaning to the term " Going Postal".Juanmoretime
Jul 11, 2002 12:20 PM
The Post Office is grossly mismanaged and if Post Office employees would become Post Office Workers, the could actually make some money. Want top learn the meaning of the word slow, go into a Post Office and observe the work pace and effiency of the employees. This is not just a bash, I have family that works for the USPS, it's mearly an observation.
The US Postal service is one of the BEST things about...EJC
Jul 11, 2002 12:24 PM
...the United States.

Sure, I do a fair amount of Yank bashing in here, but I HAPPILY concede that the mail system in the USofA is most likely the most effiecient, reliable and best on the planet. Back in Canada, Canada Poste is a privately run company that is hit or miss. I have seen letters get from Newfoundland to British Columbia in two days, yet a letter going across town in Montreal has sometimes taken two weeks!

Add to this that there is NO Saturday delivery with Canada Poste, and that they will strike over a nbad case of hang-nails, and you can see why I think the USPostal service is among the best.

In regards to the article, it makes me pissed, not because of the sentiment about sponsorship and perceivced wasted money, rather the mis-conception that cycling is still a pitiful little sport (unless there is a ball and pads, in the USA it ain't a sport).

That, and I didn't like the hideously condescending attitude towards Europeans expressed in the article.

EJC
Thank yougregario
Jul 11, 2002 12:39 PM
I also hated the tone of the article, bashing Europeans and cycling in general. I thought it was mean-spirited and basically showed where the person was coming from.
The US Postal service is one of the BEST things about...NJRoad
Jul 12, 2002 7:25 AM
I can't believe what I am reading?

You're upset at someone making stereotypical remarks about a large group of people?

I guess you must be the proverbial "pot".
Oh you poor pitifully ignorant New Jerseyite...EJC
Jul 12, 2002 7:55 AM
...the difference (and there is a HUGE, BIG, GRANDE difference) is in the article there is just one more example of the American mentality that "bigger is better" and that anything decidely NOT American is inferior and worthy of trouncing.

Ask yourself this hard question (and it is a question that begs asking, especially NOW considering the world's political climate)...Why is the USA so hated globally?

Travel a bit and you will see it first hand. Even in allegedly "USA friendly" countries (Canada included), Yanks are laughed at, seens as arrogant, loud and FAT, and also seen as overly aggresive and spoiled people. My friend, there is a HUGE difference in what the article conveys and what I believe in that, on average, Yanks are loud, fat, over-bearing and VERY imperialistic.

Now go ride a bike.

EJC
You self hating, arrogant, immigrantNJRoad
Jul 12, 2002 8:20 AM
The article makes 1 anti-Euro reference, with what I believed to be tongue firmly implanted in cheek.

But more to the point...I have travelled and I love Europe, I love the antiquities, the people, the cultures. I even acknowledge the Europeans impression of Americans who go the Louvre and shout "Hey Marge, waddle over and take a look at this here DeeVynsee painting!" What I have learned is there are a**holes everywhere, the USA, Europe, Asia and thanks to you, we now know that they also are indigenous to Canada.

As for your question...I have asked myself this often and instead of answers I have more questions...if the USA and Americans are so hated the world over, why are there so many clamoring to come here, YOU INCLUDED!

Now climb down off your high horse, stop being so rude to your hosts and hurry home, I think Quebec is trying to secede again.
The US Postal service is one of the BEST things about...EJC
Jul 11, 2002 1:01 PM
...the United States.

Sure, I do a fair amount of Yank bashing in here, but I HAPPILY concede that the mail system in the USofA is most likely the most effiecient, reliable and best on the planet. Back in Canada, Canada Poste is a privately run company that is hit or miss. I have seen letters get from Newfoundland to British Columbia in two days, yet a letter going across town in Montreal has sometimes taken two weeks!

Add to this that there is NO Saturday delivery with Canada Poste, and that they will strike over a nbad case of hang-nails, and you can see why I think the USPostal service is among the best.

In regards to the article, it makes me pissed, not because of the sentiment about sponsorship and perceivced wasted money, rather the mis-conception that cycling is still a pitiful little sport (unless there is a ball and pads, in the USA it ain't a sport).

That, and I didn't like the hideously condescending attitude towards Europeans expressed in the article.

EJC
re: Any comments/insights on this article?SnowBlind
Jul 11, 2002 12:26 PM
We had a Sys Admin from USPS apply for a job here where I work. He was doing pretty good, but he seemed a little too focused (read: nerdy) on computers to fit in here, where you need to finesse things from time to time.
So I threw him a curve ball question: "Who is Lance Armstrong, and what does he do for the Postal Service?"
He drew a total blank, and was actually offended I expected him to know the answer.
Rote him off and voted "no" to hire.
The point is, how good can USPS penetration into the general market be if their own employees don't know who he is?
shipped a bike to the Uk via USPSpukka
Jul 11, 2002 12:32 PM
shipped Friday got there tuesday morning cost $130 insured,ok i had to argue with 3 people in there who said "you cant send that its too big" but i thought that was pretty good ,global express mail,BTW DHL wanted $456
shipped a bike to the Uk via USPSdivve
Jul 11, 2002 12:52 PM
Lance is the USPS #1 mailman. He always delivers:)
You're kidding..Slacker Joe
Jul 11, 2002 12:57 PM
..I hope. The way you worded that made it sound like the final straw to "rote" him off was after he couldn't come up with who Lance Armstrong is? I'd be taken aback myself if I was quizzed in that fashion. He's a sys admin, not a marketing director. Geesh.
You're kidding..SnowBlind
Jul 12, 2002 9:17 AM
No I am not. It is not unusual for a VP or a Board member (CFO, CTO) to call me up and ask questions about our systems. You have got to think on your feet around here or you don't get the funding you need or you'll end up supporting some POS that a marketer came up with.
I don't need another coal-stoker on the team, I need people that can think. You can't manage 12 TB or storage, 10+ HPUX's, 20 AIX boxes and 80+ SUN boxes without getting creative. Your fingers will fall off, and you won't get time to read RBR.com (plus vendor sites, and /. and k5)

He knew his nuts and bolts fairly well, but could not think stratigically or out of the box. His anger at being asked a non-tech question showed he was brittle. Even a "Gee I don't know, who is he?" would been ok by me. Showing you know what you don't know is more important than showing what you know. Last thing we need is someone to get into a project and paint themselves into a corner because they "thought" it would be OK.

BTW, don't apply for a UNIX Sysadmin job at HealthNet...
Part of your reason for voting no to hireMel Erickson
Jul 11, 2002 1:06 PM
was because he didn't know who Lance Armstrong was? Remind me to never apply for a job with your company.
re: Any comments/insights on this article?taar44
Jul 11, 2002 4:23 PM
I kinda agree with you snow. That Sys admin should at least know a little bit about who gets the most sponsorship money from his company. I probably would not go as far as not hiring him for not knowing but his lack of knowledge surely will not get him extra points in the hiring process!
Sour grapes...Fredrico
Jul 11, 2002 12:50 PM
So USPS spends 6% of its advertising budget on a great cycling team that rouses passion in European devotees. Nothing wrong with supporting a great sport unappreciated by most of the American public. American promoters haven't put on bike races of the stature of the Tour de France, but when they come up with a Core States Championships in Philadelphia, or the Coors Classic, they attract the attention of the general public.

Recently there was a criterium over at the Reston (VA) Town Center, on a Sunday morning no less, that attracted quite a few spectators. It was in a "venue" the general public frequented, in an upscale community of educated people who could appreciate how fit these racers are and how hard they were working. Bike racing has subtleties not immediately apparent to hockey and football fans.

More events have to be organized to attract the general public, not just participants and their supporters. USPS is showing the way by putting Lance Armstrong and his team in the international sports arena. They have to keep going for a few years to see if they'll get a return on their investment. In the meantime, it can't hurt them to be viewed as sponsors of a cycling team. Sponsorship doesn't necessarily have to be just a bottom-line proposition, especially for the Postal Service. It can be an image building strategy, like all cycling sponsorships: supporting a healthy lifestyle and at the same time, economical, energy efficient transportation.
re: Any comments/insights on this article?schills
Jul 11, 2002 1:19 PM
Tailwind Sports(owners of the team) get each of the sponsors(contractually I think) to use each others products and services in excess of the amount that any one sponsor pays to the team, USPS included. They all make more money off of these deals than their sponsorship expense. I read this in an interview with the GM of Tailwind.
Also...Wannabe
Jul 12, 2002 7:22 AM
I believe that Tailwind provides detailed analysis of the amount of "advertising" coverage a sponsor gets during the teams operations. In other words, how much exposure the sponsor gets to the public and press and how much that exposure would have cost using more "conventional" forms (print, air, tv). This analysis is used to show sponsors they are getting their $$$ worth in advertising.

Andy
It's for their package delivery service overseas.bikedodger
Jul 11, 2002 1:37 PM
Supposedly the cycle team sponsorship deal is to increase awareness overseas of the USPS package delivery service, not the US mail delivery monopoly.
Don't like how the USPS spends money, then don't use USPS. . .js5280
Jul 11, 2002 4:21 PM
My understanding is that even though the USPS is government owned, it's not funded w/ our tax dollars, at least not directly. They're operating funds come from the rates they charge. Can anyone refute this? I'm by no means an expert on the USPS and their operations. So they are pretty much like a private company. I don't see why tax watchdog groups are latching on to this issue. Trust me, I'm totally on their (i.e. the tax watchdogs) side, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Libertarian. However, the Constition does allow the federal governement to set up post offices. While not a pinacle of efficiency, the USPS is one of the better run goverment operations IMO. Of course, I think a private mail service would be much more efficient and offer better service (e.g. FedEx, UPS, etc.)
Don't like how the USPS spends money, then don't use USPS. . .taar44
Jul 11, 2002 4:28 PM
USPS is losing tons of money every year. How then can they be "one of the better run goverment run operations"??? Also i do not believe that they are operating like a private company. I think they are in the same shoes as Amtrak - money sucking borehole!!
$800 million in executive bonuses.rufus
Jul 11, 2002 4:54 PM
there was a posting on here a few days ago to an article bitching about how much the usps spent on the cycling team. in a sidebar, it was noted that the usps has given $800 million in bonuses to its executives from 1998-2000. i'd say that has a lot more to do with their organization losing money than $25 million spent sponsoring lance and crew.
$800 million in executive bonuses.Juanmoretime
Jul 12, 2002 2:03 AM
Further vindication to the statement I made earlier in this thead about the USPS being grossly mismanaged!
I don't think so...filtersweep
Jul 12, 2002 4:30 AM
"grossly" mismanaged??

No... watch the news and see some real scandals. Over the long haul postage has been a great bargain and a great service... sometimes they are the only part of the gov. to actually MAKE money... and sure, sometimes they lose a little bit- no big deal.

Their package delivery is very different than their regular mail. Show me UPS or FedEx visiting EVERY home in the US daily- AND posting a profit. Show me ANY company that can do that.

Piss and moan about the "civil servant" aspect- big deal! It is the entry-level federal job. Wanna know why service sucks? ALL customer service jobs that have face to face contact with the general public have SLOW service (and usually HIGH BURNOUT). Every been to the DMV, or even a bank lately? Half the time I'm in there delivering a package and someone is trying to buy one stamp with pennies... or, and this just happened a week ago- this woman was insisting the ZIP code she was sending to had SIX DIGITS in it... drove everyone in the lobby mad as she went all Jerry Springer on the postal employee- INSISTING, ranting, raving.

I'd have to drive to an industrial wasteland to ship by UPS or FedEx...
re: Any comments/insights on this article?frankamo
Jul 12, 2002 3:51 AM
How much USPS cycling clothing is sold every year? I'm sure the USPS gets a small cut of the sales for the use of their logo.

and then every person who wears a jersey, hat, etc., becomes an advertisement themselves.

Sounds like money well spent to me to be linked with such a world famous athlete.
Some other thoughts...EJC
Jul 12, 2002 8:05 AM
...why is this level of sponsorship bad?

The US Federal Government spends LOTS of $$$ each year to help other sporting programs that compete overseas, why the foul on this one?

Also, on a state or municipal level, governement in the US spends lots of money on other, perceived "legitiamte" sports teams each year; witness the bailout of the Houston Astros, the building on new and bigger/better stadiums for sports teams at the taxpayers expense etc...this maybe a federal organization but I find little difference in its sponsorship vs. the government underwriting portions of stadiums etc...

Just another two cents (that's Canadian, so it is worth .004$ US)

EJC
The theory behind the underwriting...NJRoad
Jul 12, 2002 10:17 AM
The theory behind this is that a new ballpark will attract other business to the city in the form of tourists, hotel revenue, restuarants, etc., ala Baltimore's Camden Yards, thereby increasing revenues. I'd be curious to see what the numbers actually work out to.