To coincide with the Christmas season, Australia Post has launched a new 'Video Stamp' initiative that allows customers to send 15-second video messages along with their parcels. Australia Post is proudly calling its invention a "world's first" -- but in a world with Skype and other free communication tools, is there actually any value in the gimmick?
"Christmas is a time when people want to be with their loved ones but more and more friends and family are scattered across the country and around the globe," Australia Post explains in a statement.
"This year we are doing more than ever to eliminate the tyranny of distance. The Video Stamp lets you send a little piece of yourself with your gift this Christmas."
Now before you get all excited, this isn't a new form of sorcery involving tiny LCD screens. Instead, messages are recorded and accessed via a smartphone app for Android and iOS (the "video stamp" simply contains a barcode which the recipient scans to receive their message.)
To be honest, it sounds like too much effort on both ends for what basically amounts to a 15-second platitude. Elderly relatives would probably appreciate the gesture, but they're going to need a smartphone with a QR code reader and a modicum of tech-smarts to access the message.
Recipients can also access the message online via a unique log in sent with your stamp -- but again, we're not sure whether a 15 second message warrants the hassle. It's the video equivalent of having to log in every time you wanted to see a Twitter message.
But perhaps we're just being Scrooges. There could be some limited fun here, such as dropping cryptic clues about the gift inside the parcel, or attaching a hilariously inappropriate video for shits and giggles. The Video Stamps remain active for 90 days after recording and once received, can be shared via social media or email.
The Video Stamp is being distributed free with Express Post and Express Courier International products between now and Christmas. You can download the Video Stamp app for iOS and Android here and here, respectively.