Friday, April 06, 2007

I am not calling this "Artoo goes postal"

Without meaning to be current, I find myself posting about something that is still on the border of being in-the-news: mailboxes.

As you've probably heard (because the media was all over this), last month the United States Postal Service put out special mailboxes decorated to look like R2-D2 to promote an upcoming set of Star Wars stamps (in honor of the 30th anniversary of A New Hope).

Yes, I know enough to identify the film that came out in 1977 as A New Hope rather than as "the first one" because, although it was the first movie to come out, it is, of course, the fourth episode in the storyline. (The last thing I need is to be lambasted by a nitpicky fan who comes across this post.)

No, I have no clever Star Wars-related pun to preface these pictures I took of the R2D2 postal unit. It's not that I probably couldn't think of one (or several), but I am quite certain that no matter what it was, someone else would have already come up with it.

So here you go:

With downtown L.A. in the background (and the sun hidden behind the office building where I work).

With the Disney Concert Hall in the background.

With the Museum of Contemporary Art in the background.

(If you're not a hardcore fan then you may not be aware of what the url on the mailboxes is for: You can vote here on which stamp should be featured for a first day promotion.)

I found this bit on the Star Wars site where if you click on the "Artoo Spotters" link it shows a slideshow of 170 photos of R2D2 mailboxes (generally with people standing next to them, in various shades of fanaticism--this is my favorite) from around the country. However, amongst those 170 pics there is not a single one of what I've photographed above.

In this flickr group of photos of the boxes, out of 149 shots, there's only one of the unit outside the Disney Concert Hall above. (Do the hardcore fans have some aversion to downtown L.A.?)

For those who may be trying to find the locations in my photos above: it's the northwest corner of the intersection of 2nd St. and Grand Ave. in Los Angeles. Yes, all three shots are of the same box, just from three different angles.

Eh, I'm sure you didn't fall for my Jedi mind tricks. (Aah! So close to making it through this post without a groan-inducing Star Wars reference!)


Here's a rather predictable skit from the Carson Daly show involving the R2D2 boxes.

1 comment:

  1. And so this special Star Wars promo, especially with the expense of the mailboxes, will stop the postal rates from going up, right?

    Doesn't anyone remember the Lance Armstrong fiasco?

    = = =

    USPS to Drop Lance Armstrong Sponsorship

    Watchdogs call the move a victory for consumers

    The US Postal Service (USPS) is reported by Advertising Age to be "poised to abandon its lead sponsorship of Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Pro Cycling Team" when their contract expires in December. The Postal Service began the estimated $10 million-a-year marketing initiative in 1996 and Armstrong has since led the international cycling team to five consecutive Tour de France victories.

    According to a February 2003 USPS Inspector General (OIG) report, the objective of the sponsorship was to "increase revenue and sales of Postal Service's products on a global basis and to increase sales in key international markets" with a specific monetary goal of increasing [annual international] revenue by $20 million. However, despite the cycling team's outstanding performance and extremely high profile, revenues from USPS international operations in 2003 were actually $12.8 million less than four-years earlier in 1999.

    Calling USPS's decision a "major victory for consumers," PostalWatch executive director Rick Merritt stated in a press release, "Talk about a government boondoggle, the pro-cycling sponsorship exemplifies just how delusional postal leadership can be. They raised domestic monopoly rates three times while forcing captive ratepayers to pay more than $50 million to sponsor a European sporting event and then, adding insult to injury, they achieved a negative result."

    "This is just one more stunning example of the Postal Service indulging its misguided obsession with pretending to be a commercial enterprise, instead of what it really is; an accountability-challenged governmental bureaucracy with a statutory monopoly over domestic mail delivery," said Merritt.


    = = =

    So when the postal rates go up again, remember that you're footing the bill for those cute RD-D2 mailboxes. (You don't think that George Lucas lets the PO use his trademarked characters for FREE, do you?)



So, what do you think?