The Triumphant Return of Mr. ZIP | 50 Years

How Much Do You Think About ZIP Codes?

logo1It’s just a string of numbers you add to your letters, cards and packages, right?

There is a whole history, and a pretty cute character, that helped educate your parents and grand parents on how to use these codes and improve mail service.

In July 1963, the postal service implemented the Zone Improvement Plan or ZIP code as it is commonly called.  The ZIP code is comprised of 5 digits specific to an area.  These codes assist in routing mail efficiently for the USPS.

Predicting that the public would be less than enthusiastic about memorizing not only their ZIP code, but those of family and friends, the USPS introduced Mr. ZIP in late 1962.

Mr. ZIP appeared on buttons, signs, magazines, and even the edges of a sheet of stamps. The point was to educate the public and ingrain the use of ZIP codes to all mailers.  Including a ZIP code promised “space-age speed”.

50 years later and Mr. ZIP stands as one of the most successful ad icons of all time.  The USPS notes that by 1967, 80% of all Americans recognized him and knew what he stood for.

Mr. ZIP was retired in 1986, but with the 50 year anniversary in 2013, you can expect to see him popping up all over the place.  He even has his own page on the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum websitemr_zip_650x300_a01_101201_e

This simple doodle was able to move the general public into participating in the Zone Improvement Plan – which increased efficiency and speed for the USPS for generations to come.

Please enjoy this video from the mid-1960’s starring our friend, Mr. ZIP!


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