Personally I think new blood in the hobby will come from older people. Many young people don't 'collect' anything these days, not even Panini cards, unless it is Apps on their smartphones or pads. No, the target audience should be anywhere from 25 upwards, but especially the over 50s, even if they don't get as much opportunity as a few years ago for early retirement and hours of time to fill.
So what are we to make of Animail, Royal Mail's latest attempt to attract the attention of children?
Edit: This is what Royal Mail wrote about them (and I apologise for not including this earlier, or at least providing a link to where it was on our website.)
"We have tried to have some fun with this stamp issue, designing stamps and stamp products that are particularly children-friendly and reminiscent of the highly popular Fun Fruit and Veg stamps issued by Royal Mail in 2003. Featuring six endearing animal characters that will wrap around an envelope or cling on to a postcard, these are perfect for adorning a piece of mail and making someone smile before they have even open the envelope.
"Andrew Osborne, who designed the stamps, was challenged to devise interactive stamps that particularly appealed to children and encouraged them to brighten up their letters and cards. He wanted to ‘push the envelope’ whilst working within the constraints of the technical requirements around postage stamps including the need for them to be easily read by Royal Mail’s sorting machines. Inspired by a character from Aardman Animations he came up with the idea of engaging, friendly and fun animal characters that could ‘cling’ to the top or side of envelopes. He wanted to create a variety of shapes and colours to generate interest but was mindful that each character had to sit comfortably alongside each other and have a degree of consistency so that they clearly looked like they were part of a set."
Self-adhesive, with a mix of values paying for 1st class inland, 20g Europe/10g Worldwide and 100g European letters, each stamp is marked with a line which, it is suggested (in instructions on the reverse of the sheet), should be placed at the edge of the envelope, with the smaller part folded over to the back. Thus the snake, chimpanzee, bat and orang-utan would hang from the top of the letter, and the koala and woodpecker would cling onto the side. So that reduces the chances of getting collectable stamps in kiloware, even if you could soak them off the paper!
Few young people will use them: even the use of email is being overtaken by things like WhatsApp and Skype.
In my opinion, whatever the intention, it isn't going to work, and this will go down as another one of Royal Mail Stamps and Collectibles' desperate failures.