The debut of the most recent Spider-Man Two is a little over a month away and America is already being treated to an ad campaign pushing the Columbia Pictures, Marvel Enterprises film. But this isn’t a regular ad campaign. This ad campaign includes no less than the United States Postal Service.
In the TV commercial an urgent phone call comes in to the film studio and the executive on screen tells the caller not to worry because the US Post Office will save the day and get the film delivered on time with Priority Mail. Then, with his handy dandy Spidey webbing, Spider-Man whips the box of film off the desk of the executive and swings off to deliver the package. He delivers the film box to no less than Marvel chief Stan Lee who is manning the projection booth at the theater.
On its website, the Post Office tells us, “We’re teaming up with one of summer’s most exciting movies to bring you the speed, agility, and reliability you expect from domestic Priority Mail® — with a superhero twist. Order free Amazing Spider-Man 2 Priority Mail Flat Rate® Boxes delivered right to your door. As always, you’ll get a specified delivery date1, USPS Tracking™, and free insurance for most shipments valued up to $50.”
Ship Like a Hero America!
Let’s hope Spidey can save the Post Office like he does Gwen Stacy. But the Post Office faces something worse than a super villain. The service has been struggling to keep its head above water for years–mostly because it has a pension obligation with its union that it is drowning in–losing five billion dollars in 2013 alone. And that was on top of its 2012 deficit of $15.9 billion.
The USPS has kicked around a dozen schemes to fix its death spiral but thus far, nothing has worked.
One of the fixes that the USPS tried was an end to Saturday deliveries. Eventually the service to abandon the idea due to the uproar it caused, but the savings that may have happened with the end of Saturday delivery would only have made a small dent in its outlandish pension debt.
In its wisdom, Congress has mandated that the service pre-pay $5.5 billion a year into its pension plan. When that forced obligation is stacked up against the fact that the service had an operating loss that was just as much as it is supposed to be paying into its pensions, we can see what a pickle the Post Office is in.
But, maybe Spider-Man really can help America ship like a hero.