BBC "Junk Mail" Programme Short on Facts
Last night's BBC programme That's Britain was another disappointing attack on the unaddressed mail industry, yet again misinformed, confused and unbalanced. No distinction was made between Royal Mail's delivery of addressed advertising material and the delivery of unaddressed items by the dozens of independent operators across the country, while use of the term "junk mail" seemed obligatory. Contrary to the claim that more and more items are being delivered, the latest research by the DMA (2010) indicates that the volume of door drop items has actually fallen significantly in the past 5 years through a combination of better targetting and the economic climate. Furthermore, the industry's environmental credentials are impressive, with recycling rates having gone up from 29% in 2005 to 76% in 2009.
The impression that people generally are against unaddressed material is also not borne out by the research. For example, research by the Royal Mail earlier this year concluded that nine in ten people are happy to regularly receive unaddressed mail from retailers and 45% of householders keep leaflets on a pinboard or in a drawer.
While householders are free to sign up to the opt out scheme promoted by the programme, it failed to point out that, as well as missing out on such offers from local and other businesses, by signing up householders may well miss out on free community magazines, informative newsletters from local authorities and a host of other informative publications. The reality is that leaflet distribution remains an effective and largely welcome form of marketing which, as Nick Knowles grudgingly conceded, is one of the few affordable forms of marketing for the local businesses that we rely on in order to help recover from the current economic situation.