(Information: Captain Cook Newsletter & New Zealand Post)

by David Cox

Customised Advertising Labels (CAL) give businesses the opportunity to personalise their marketing campaigns, invitations and everyday mail with an image they chose to represent their business identity. They are similar to the popular personalised stamps offered by New Zealand Post.

The first CAL released was for the 2004 Wellington Arts Festival. I understand it featured a bird, but I have not seen it, so cannot confirm this.

As the early CAL issues were not produced by the philatelic side of New Zealand Post (NZ Post), they did not publicise them or make them available to collectors. Thus the hunt was on to find information and track down examples for the collection.

Somewhat belatedly NZ Post announced that a CAL pack would be made available in 2007, which would contain issues from December 2004 and 2006. At that stage, the only CALs generally known to have been produced during that period were for the Kiwipex 2006, NZ2005 and Northland 2007 stamp exhibitions. These CALs were already available as they had been sold to supporters/collectors as part of their fund raising.

When a collector demand became evident NZ Post changed its agreement with CAL customers to allow it to print extra CAL stamps for future philatelic sales, sufficient to produce 1000 CAL packs for collectors. Demands were greater than expected and it is understood a further 3000 sets of CAL stamps were printed. Whe the first CAL pack was released it sold for $6.30, the face value of 14 stamps (it did not contain the first three issues); soon afterwards some sold on ‘Trade Me’ for $100!

CALs are not viewed as stamps by NZ Post according to their general manager Mr Masters. They don’t carry the unique fern identifier or the words ‘New Zealand’ and they are not easily available to all New Zealanders. Therefore they do not meet UPU regulations.

The style of the CAL stamp is standardised; they carry an image supplied by the customer with a vertical panel on the right side containing the value of the stamp and the NZ Post Button logo. Initially this panel was in a grey colour, but this has now changed to red. There is no way of knowing how many CAL stamps will be issued each year, the only way to obtain them is to purchase of an annual pack.

I show here some of the latest CALs issued by Tarapex 2008 and one of a set of Maxi Cards, all sold to raise funds towards the cost of the philatelic exhibition.

Each collector must make his own decision about these Customised Advertising Labels. Personally I am happy to collect the bird issues. UPU regulations do not worry me and, after all, these stamps are used for actual postage.

Years ago I collected anything and everything with a bird connection. Today I am more selective and use the maxim “if I like it, then I purchase it”.

Customised Advertising Labels - Update

David Miner, of Sydney Australia, has reacted to David Cox’s reference to the CAL issued for the 2004 Wellington Arts Festival by sending this image of the label.

David Cox has written about it as follows:

“In my article in FLIGHT Vol. 24/1 (and on the website CAL feature) I mentioned the existence of this ‘CAL’ issued by Wellington Arts Festival 2004. I did see a picture of one of those a few months ago when one was offered for sale by auction. It had an estimate of $2,500 (NZ). This was the first CAL and is supposedly a kiwi; of course it’s a hand made kiwi, as the Wellington Arts Festival suggests.

The problem with these CALs is there is no way of knowing what or when one is issued, as N.Z. Post does not announce this. Because so many collectors wanted them, N.Z. Post now print more than the sponsor/advertiser requires and sell them in an annual pack at the end of the year, i.e., one of each CAL issued for the year.”

Roger Chapman (Website Editor)

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