Al Kaline/Alkaline: Duracell’s Missed Marketing Opportunity

This holiday season the chances are fairly high that many of you will receive high-tech gadgets which will require batteries.  For the most part, I’ve always been an Energizer guy.  Those Ultimate Lithium batteries seem to last forever in my stuff.

My mind continues to be blown away when I see the different types of card sets certain companies made for promotional purposes.  Cards have been used as promos since the dawn of time, but during the 80’s and 90’s it got really junky.  Throughout 1993, Duracell ran a promotion for their customers.  The whole master set of 1993 Duracell Power Players consists of (48) cards.  It was split up between Series 1 and Series 2.  Each has (24) cards a piece.  When it comes to the design, there really isn’t anything earth shattering to talk about.  The card’s front features an action shot of a star from the time.  Probably the biggest thing to standout is the Duracell battery on the top.  On the back you’ll find the normal stats, closeup picture of the player, and a facsimile signature.  None of the cards have team logos.  They’ve all been airbrushed out.  But they were allowed to use the official team names.

If you bought a Duracell Saver Pack one of these packs could’ve been yours.  Duracell also offered them to customers who bought other products and could supply a proof of purchase.  This is one set most collectors have forgotten about.  It doesn’t contain any rookies, and is mass produced.  Duracell should have figured out a way to include Al Kaline in this set.  His name sounds just like the type of batteries they sell – Al Kaline/Alkaline.  The only difference is the space between the two words.  How did their marketing people miss that one?

Flashback Product of the Week: 1977-80 Pro Sports Marketing NFL Action Team Mates

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Given that its the holiday season, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the past sports toys that I’m sure Santa left under the tree for many of you.

Lets start off with 1977-80 Pro Sports Marketing NFL Action Team Mates.  These 7.5″ tall NFL-themed action figures came with two sets of interchangeable numbers, removable helmet, football, play book, and display stand.  They were sold exclusively through the JCPenney and Sears catalogs.  This is probably why complete examples can be worth huge amounts of money.  They don’t even need to be mint in box to be worth a lot either, but it does help.  For some reason the African American figures seem to be in higher demand as they command insane prices.  An African American Bengals action figure recently sold for over $700.00.  I’m betting not as many African American figures were sold when you could buy them through the catalogs.

Compared to the figures they make today, these look quite crude.  They’re very generic looking and aren’t highly detailed.  You have to remember, this is the way most sports action figures looked at the time.  We were still years away from the first Starting Lineup set.  Its not that unheard of to find mint figures still in their original box with a few limbs that have fallen off.  The limbs are all held together with tiny rubber bands which can easily break over time.  They also made a field and benches for the figures, but these are very difficult to find.

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A Look At Ryan O’Hara: Topps Gets A Social Media Upgrade

Yesterday, Topps announced that Ryan O’Hara would become its new CEO.  Departing is Scott Silverstein who has been with Topps since 1993 and will stay on the Topps board.

O’Hara holds a BA in Economics from Stanford University and a Masters of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.  This guy has spent so much time in school, he probably hasn’t opened a single pack of trading cards in his life…… just joking 🙂  O’Hara is coming over from TV Guide and TVGuide.com and in the past has worked for Nestle and Fox Sports.  Having worked for Nestle could possibly help Topps out with their candy business and working for Fox Sports means that he’s not totally lost when it comes to sports.

One area that I’d like to see O’Hara succeed in at Topps is their social media division.  O’Hara is one person that truly embraces social media and marketing.  This is one place that Topps drastically needs to make some improvements in.  Topps does send some products out to a few websites other than Beckett, but other than that, they really fall short of what some of the other manufacturers are doing.  They do have Topps Town and that iPhone card flipping app, but other than a few Tweets every now and then they don’t do anything too spectacular.  Don’t even get me started on the augmented reality stuff your suppose to do with a webcam.

On March 1, O’Hara will start as the CEO of Topps, and it will be interesting to see what changes he can bring with him.

What type of changes would you like to see at Topps?  For one thing, cover up the redemption codes so people can’t use them and then place the redemptions up for sale!

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Schlotzsky’s Mailday!

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The other day I received a wooden bat holder in the mail from The Cooperstown Bat Company and at first I had no clue why it was sent to me.  Then it all started to come together.  About a week ago I was contacted by Matrixx Pictures, which is a marketing firm out in California, and they wanted to know if they could send me something.  Little did I know that was the first part.  Matrixx Pictures is doing a promotional campaign for Schlotzsky’s, which is a restaurant franchise.  Today in the mail I received another package containing three different colored baseball cards.  Once I take a photo of these cards and upload them next week to their website, if I am one of the first 1,000 people I could win a personalized mini-bat.  I thinks that cool!  

When I started Sports Card Info, I never thought I would sponsored by Press Pass and have marketing companies like Matrixx Pictures want me to take part in a massive marketing campaign.  I love cards and blogging 🙂

By the way, you should check out the Schlotzsky’s Big League Club website.  They have a very addicting baseball game you can play for free.

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