Australia Post has just sent out a direct marketing promotion for the Postage Meter, the replacement for the office franking machine. To inspire office chat and motivate action the promotion is received in the form of an album cover for the Franking Machines, “There Has To Be A Better Way (Than The Way We’re Doing It Now)”. The album cover’s clearly aged, with scuff marks and price tag included, and includes a cardboard copy of a vinyl EP.
The Franking Machines are Frank N. Machine on vocals, keyboard and clarinet and M.C. Techno on drums, sax and trumpet. There’s a clarinet solo by Manual Laborre. The reviews on the back are glowing. “The Franking Machines are so last century. Takes me back to 1994. Maybe earlier”, says The Review. “The Franking Machines new album is packed with new sounds and exciting new directions. Expect them to change their name soon. I suggest The Postage Meters,” says The Musicologist.
The message is all in the lyrics, included in the middle of the album cover. “Get Wid Da Times”, celebrates the new technology’s capacity to electronically record and transmit postage costs. “Should be home with ma baby, not franking in my sleep”, a traditional rap song, laments the impact of laborious franking machines on home life. “Come Visit Me Baby” spells out the steps needed to deregister the franking machine license and enrol for a postage meter.
The Postage Meter campaign was developed at M&C Saatchi, Melbourne, by creative director Steve Crawford, art director Rebecca Hannah, copywriters Paul Kennedy and Peter Barry.
Account director Ashika Makanji says the team was worried that the under-30 crowd might not relate to the nostalgia effect of the album cover. Research in the agency office showed that under-thirties recognised it as an album, even though they’d never seen vinyl being played! No doubt the day will come when the under thirties don’t know what a franking machine is.