Thursday, 29 July 2010

Baseball card advertisments 90's style

It falls upon us every year, when we realise that we have just too much 'stuff'. The 'stuff' is usually mine and when I talk about 'we', I mean my wife she thinks that I have too much stuff. I'm not sure it is actually possible to have too much, maybe the wrong sort, but not too much.
The upshot is that some of it has to go. While clearing out the loft, I stumbled across a cardboard box full of comic books. I thought I had cleared them all out quite a way back but it looks as if I had squirreled away some for a rainy afternoon (or several looking at the size of the box). I must have been picky as I only kept the Batmans, some Dark Horse, a few John Byrnes and the complete set of a series that I loved called 'The Nam'(all 87 issues). Clearing stuff had to wait while I carefully removed each comic from its Mylar sleeping bag and read through in the peace and relative darkness of my loft. Buy issue 10 of 'The Nam', the realisation had dawned that I was AWOL, by issue 20 I decided to bring the whole box down and read them all again.
I started to become a little fascinated by the changing face of advertising. Issue #1 of 'The Nam' series was published in December 1986, the advertisements consisted of M&M's, Laser Tag, chocolate bars and Dungeons and Dragons. Issue #10 in late 1987, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was being advertised and what a sweet thing it was too. By Issue 20 (July 1988) game technology was the staple of comic advertising, Konami games in particular.
By Issue 30(April 1989) technology was still the big advertiser; Quickshot joysticks, Pacman and F.I.S.T fantasy role play via a touchtone telephone. By Issue 40 (January 1990)there was nothing other than Konami hand held games and Nintendo games such as Double Dragon II. However Gameboy made an appearance in July 1990 and in September 1990, the Sega Genesis!. By Issue 50 (November 1990) technology had made way for cardboard, NBA Hoops and Collect-a-Books NFL cards were advertised regularly.
Then in April 1991 (issue #55) -Fleer 1990

"hard hitting, non-stop action packed photographs. The most radical cards
ever! Logo stickers in every pack. Awesome. Bam, Zoom ,Pow. These cards will
blow you away!"

You cannot fault Fleer's optimistic approach.
Score advertised in the same comic, but they were not as eager to sell their product as Fleer was. Hoping that 'Being the best in baseball' and 'Mickey Mantle' would do the talking for them. They also claimed to be the official card of the 1990's. Not to be outdone, in the next issue, Upper Deck went for a full double page spread. Extolling the virtues of 2500 Nolan Ryan signed cards inserted randomly into tamper proof packs. "Just buy one pack and you'll discover why Upper Deck is called 'The Collectors Choice'."

By Issue #60 (September 1991) baseball cards were no longer being advertised leaving space for Super Heroes, Star Trek and Terminator cards all produced by the Impel brand. Football and Hockey cards produced by Fleer and Score continued to feature however.
Topps didn't advertise once in these Marvel publications presumably they saw little threat in these young upstarts with their fancy gimmicks and never ending supply of inserts.
Years of experience and patience were Topps virtue, as all these brands will have gone the way of the Do-do in another 10 years or so. Ahh Topps you wonderful monopoly.
Just the Dark Horse Presents to plough through now.

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