Read about the Post Office's publicity campaign that was ‘too successful’.

From the 1930s until the 1960s the Post Office ran its annual ‘Post early’ campaign, encouraging people to send their letters and parcels as early as possible to avoid a rush in the week leading up to Christmas. Its Public Relations Department commissioned famous national and international artists to produce eye-catching posters for display in post offices, on pillar boxes and telephone kiosks, on mail vans and in shop windows.

During the war years, it became vitally important for people to post their mail early as postal services were overstretched. From 1942 up until 1944, the slogan was amended slightly to reflect this; encouraging the public to ‘Post even earlier this Christmas’.

‘Post even earlier this Christmas’ by Hans Schleger (Zero), 1944 (POST 110/4158)

The campaign, however, had become a victim of its own success as over the years the volume of Christmas mail had increased until it reached a point where sorting office staff could not cope when the public actually obeyed the directive.

In 1966, The Post Office stated internally that

‘the public not only posts by the latest recommended date but, if anything, in front of it’


it concludes that the campaign has proved to be

‘somewhat of an embarrassment since it produces a large volume of traffic before we are ready for it’.


It was suggested that it would be beneficial if the emphasis of future Christmas campaigns could be changed and in 1969 the famous slogan was phased out in favour of a less proactive one stating simply: ‘Don’t miss the Christmas post’.

Here are some examples of posters produced over the years and their artists:

Barnett Freedman 1937

Jan Le Witt and George Him 1941

Jan Le Witt and George Him 1942

Davies 1946

Frederic Henri Kay Henrion c.1950

John Rowland Barker, AKA Kraber c.1951

Artwork for a poster designed for use in shop windows by T. Davis c.1952

Artwork for a poster, artist unknown c.1956

Peter Huveneers 1957

The Postal Museum houses over 6,000 posters, as well as original poster artwork. Dating from the 1930s, the collection continues to grow with new posters advertising services arriving regularly. Discover other striking designs you can buy online.

Will you be posting your Christmas cards early this year? Check the last posting dates here.

– The Postal Museum Team

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