Ever since tobacco companies used them as collectible package stiffeners for fragile boxes of cigarettes, baseball cards have been inserted into consumer products. They’ve been in smokes, soda, snack cakes and razor blades–just to name a few. Sometimes, though, the promotion went between their traditional home inside bubble gum card packs and the food products that were part of the grocery shopping experience.
We recently ran across a couple of interesting ads from decades ago that show standard wax packs of bubble gum cards were used as an incentive to get mom or dad to buy certain products.
In July of 1951, a Rhode Island newspaper ad shouted the proverbial “Hey Kids!” and detailed an offer where a six-card pack of baseball cards would be handed out to those who brought home a two-pack of Giusti’s Bread.
With the mention of six cards and bubble gum, we can only assume they were talking about Bowman’s 1951 packs. If the promotion lasted long enough, we wonder if someone might have pulled a Mantle or Mays rookie card from one of those free packs.
Six years later, it appears a Dayton, OH grocery store opted to make 1957 Topps football cards part of a hot dog promotion. At the time, Topps was looking to convince youngsters to buy into their horizontally-designed, split screen style NFL football cards. The large ad shows a photo of one half of a card along with the offer of a free pack with every purchase of Sucher’s “all meat frankfurters and cheesefurters.”
The player pictured, by the way, is Ray Renfro of the Cleveland Browns, the only Ohio-based pro team in 1957.
We’re not sure, but we’d suspect the packs of cards were probably kept in a box by the cash register for such promotions. It was probably a nice surprise when mom brought home the paper bags full of groceries and then dished out the pack to an appreciative youngster who couldn’t believe mom sprung for bubble gum cards.
Can you remember another promotion when full packs of Topps or Bowman cards were handed out in exchange for buying something else in the store?