The United States Postal Service has been creating beautiful stamps for 172 years, with a cult following of collectors. In recent years, with the torrent of digital distractions, the stamp-collecting base has been contracting. In order to appeal to new and younger audiences, and to recapture waning interest, the Postal Service needed to craft a powerful message through a striking medium. The Postal Service chose to launch this new outreach effort at the national stamp show, which draws thousands of collectors every year.
Having partnered with the Postal Service for over ten years, Powers Media has created all manner of products, from coffee table books to apps to websites. With this experience and knowledge of the USPS brand, Powers was a natural choice for the crafting and execution of their message.
Powers Media was assigned this task 90 days prior to the national event, an exceedingly tight timeline without all the unknowns. A new and still-evolving technology, uncertainties about the venue, and a relatively new technical team added to the question of what we could possibly create in such a short amount of time.
Understanding that projecting a technologically cutting-edge personality is an ever-present goal of the Postal Service, we chose to create Virtual Reality experiences as the medium for the message. Stamps are miniature works of art that tell a story about aspects of our country and its culture. We believed that by tying a new stamp issuance to a real life experience, we could accomplish a number of the Postal Service’s goals at once:
- capitalizing on emerging technology
- creating a highly engaging experience for the audience
- transporting stamps from their print-on-paper medium into a digital world
Venture past the perfs into a virtual world of stamps, where miniature masterpieces spring to life in three-dimensional immersive experiences.
Our concept called for the creation of a virtual art gallery, where all the art on the walls are stamp art. When the user engages a particular stamp, he/she is transported into the world where the subject of the stamp art lives… buzzing with the bees and butterflies of the Pollinators stamps, swimming with the sharks of the Sharks stamps, ambling through art galleries and experiencing the Total Solar Exclipse.
Within two weeks Powers Media crafted the abstract, created the storyboard and completed and presented the proof of concept. The Postal Service signed off on the approach and Powers Media went to work assembling the team of artists and technical developers to create five different 360o animated immersive experiences.
The Virtual Stamp Gallery was unveiled at the national event in Richmond to great fanfare. Powers Media staff guided enthusiastic users through the experiences within VR booths constructed exclusively for this purpose. Users between the ages of 5 and 85 were delighted as they experienced stunning animations.
Following the original unveil, Powers Media has staged the VR experience for the Postmaster General, the Executive Leadership Team and for a special VIP event at the Smithsonian.