Stamping a path to his door

Printed and marketed under two companies Stamps at Work and Universal Mail NZ Ltd, the stamps cover both the tourist and corporate markets. Universal Mail prints stamps for international postage only, and Stamps at Work covers the domestic market. Just last year Meier sold Universal Mail to his colleague, executive director Jason Butler, but has retained ownership of the former.

Meier’s foray into the postal market began just as he sold out of Prestige Marketing and bought into New Zealand’s just-deregulated postal system as part of the consortium which set up the ill-fated blue-boxed National Mail. When profits failed to materialise and the company closed, he bought the bulk of it back, closing all boxes except those in the major tourist spots around the country.

These are the mail boxes that Universal Mail NZ Ltd now uses to distribute its tourist mail overseas, using an international courier and postal service. Universal Mail prints and distributes matching stamps and postcards to tourist companies throughout the country and has also dipped its toes offshore. When the company started printing stamps in October 2001, it gave the tourist industry a new branding tool with individual companies able to sell their branded stamps and cards at their own retail outlets, as well as in souvenir or other tourist shops in the major centres.

Companies which have commissioned Universal Mail stamps and cards include the Auckland Museum, Kelly Tarlton’s, Maori Village Rotorua, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park and Shotover Jet.

While the business tends to follow the seasonality of the tourist market, sales have been increasing every year, and more recently every month, Butler says.

Meanwhile, Stamps at Work, which prints corporate branded stamps under license to NZ Post for postage within New Zealand, is also making headway, albeit at a slower pace. Meier says it has proved harder to convince companies that the postage stamps are a good branding exercise, but says they are catching on especially when the stamps are presented as part of a whole marketing package.

Any image can be printed (subject to visual approval by NZ Post) and 50 per cent of those produced are oversized stamps (43×90.5mm) for a more eye catching effect, many of them for special events or promotions like the L’Oreal Fashion Week 90 cent edition.

“Design studios and advertising agencies have been very quick to pick up the potential for their clients, and the companies we’ve supplied so far include national mortgage broker, Mike Pero, Resene and NZ Beef and Lamb.”

Meier says that initially he envisaged the stamps breaking into the collectors market both here and overseas, but while some have ended up in this market by far the biggest use is in promotions.

The stamps are printed in Auckland in a secure facility by Newmarket-based Plan and Print Ltd on adhesive stock on the company’s Heidelberg DI 46/4. The company also prints the matching postcards. The New Zealand postage stamps are overprinted with phosphorous to enable NZ Post machines to read them.

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