Sequence of Events

7. With the long-term program for ZIP Code (as yet unnamed) in prospect, the Department had the occasion of the Postmasters’ Convention in Pittsburgh, in late October 1962, to test both internal and external reaction to both the cartoon character and the name without at that time revealing our long-range objective. It was recognized from the beginning that the necessary prelude to a successful coding program would be the freshing up and rejuvenation of the old local zoning since those zone numbers would be an integral part of the final digital code and that this necessary effort provide an ideal test for the acceptability and output of both the cartoon figure and the name.

8. Thus, in local and national publicity out of Pittsburgh, and particularly photographic coverage involving the postmasters from the then zoned cities, gave us an opportunity to carefully test both postmaster and employee reaction and media and public reaction to this rather radical departure in visual identification of the Post Office Department. We were in the position at that time in no way hampering the then unannounced coding program and would have been free to change the entire approach and thrust of same had reaction been different from what was ensued.

9. A careful analysis of reaction of the thousands of postmasters passing the booth, commenting to those in attendance, their eagerness to be photographed, the reaction of the press and the abnormally high usage in metropolitan papers of these photographs convinced us that the figure and name were indeed a satisfactory and most useful tool with which to launch a coding program.

10. Accordingly with preliminary planning done by late November 1962, the Postmaster General announced the general framework of ZIP Code at a press conference and in a speech in connection with automatic data processing experts meeting in convention here representing major gas an electric utilities around the country. On this occasion, the figure and name now revealed as representative of ZIP Code were introduced along with the broad basic pattern of the coding system. National and localized press reaction was remarkably good to the use of both the cartoon figure and identifying name with its relationship to the Zoning Improvement Plan and the concurrent relationship of zoning to coding.

11. A.T. & T. representative were informed prior to this meeting of our plans and attended same. At the very highest levels they cooperated in reworking the yellow page directories in all major cities to include ZIP Code and invested substantial funds, unavailable to the Department, in the development and exposure of Mr. ZIP and local zoning in the zoned cities (98) November through April.

12. In April, the full details and plans for ZIP Coding were released at a major press conference and again the figure and story were remarkably well received by the press and the public with a substantial usage again of the character and name. At this point, A.T. & T. again cooperated substantially in the April-July program of preliminary local zoning in several hundred additional cities.