The postal operator says all machine-sorted mail will feature the mark “Delivered by Royal Mail” from September.
Royal Mail, which has had a fractious relationship with postal unions for years, says the mark is recognition of the “dedication” and “fantastic job” done by postal workers. It will be introduced in September.
One senior direct marketer, however, told Marketing Week that the mark limits creative options because it will sit top centre on packs, “effectively asking direct marketers to give Royal Mail equal weighting to our own messaging”.
He continues: “It is a high handed approach that adds little or no value to the mailing process and will adversely affect any creative options, and potentially response rates from Direct Mail packs”.
Royal Mail says it is expected that around 60% of all letters it delivers will have the mark printed on the envelope. Items that are sorted by hand will not carry it.
Alex Walsh, head of postal and environmental affairs at the DMA, says that the association is “disappointed” that Royal Mail did not consult it about the potential “problems” the mark could cause direct mailers.
He adds: “This is different to previous changes that have been introduced for operational reasons. If this is not challenged, then it could set a dangerous precedent where Royal Mail can overprint envelopes with whatever they choose.”
The DMA says it will consult the postal regulator, other trade associations and postal user groups about taking further action.
A spokesman for Royal Mail says: “The space we have designated for the mark is the least likely to be used for return addresses or any other form of artwork. We will be notifying customers to make them aware of the mark we will be printing so that they can avoid printing messages in the same area if necessary.”