Baseball Cards & Advertising

4 09 2009

This morning, I was flipping through the pages of an early-90’s X-Men comic book. While getting into the storyline I was hit with not one but two different advertisements for baseball cards. The first was a 1992 Score full page ad in the middle of the book and the final was an Upper Deck glossy ad on the back cover.

Since my return to collecting, I have not seen a single ad for baseball cards in anything other than a Beckett magazine. While Beckett is a proven method of attracting collectors, one would think that by now the practice would be discontinued with the rise of the Internet and company websites.

Doing a little research on the topic I discovered that at least one company had spent some major advertising dollars promoting their brand in both ESPN Magazine and Sports Illustrated. Upper Deck has in the past spent major advertising dollars in those publications but has seen minimal return on investment.

No wonder Beckett and the card companies are so intertwined. A back cover ad in a Sports Illustrated magazine costs nearly $400,000 thousand. Full page ads in ESPN Magazine are cheaper but not by much despite the fact that those things are practically given away these days.

You can see what Beckett charges for advertising HERE.

(thumbnail leads to full-size scans)

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10 responses

4 09 2009
Slette

I know it’s not a print ad, but didn’t Topps run commercials during the World Series a couple years ago? 2006 maybe?

4 09 2009
toriihunter

That’s interesting, it seems like they should be advertising more, as I got into the hobby because I was looking for something to do and I loved baseball, and I remembered back when I was a kid those pretty, shiny upper deck cards while topps was a boring piece of old cardboard. Now it is a little different, but I have only ever purchased one box of topps and that is topps opening day 2002, which I kinda liked as a kid.

4 09 2009
toriihunter

If only cards could be about the “action” again, that would be cool.

4 09 2009
James

It’s hard to judge ROI for a magazine ad unless you’re doing some special offer or code with the magazine – something to track it.

Another reason you see more web ads is because of the tracking and ad codes. The companies can see where they user came from, how far in their web site they went, and if they eventually purchased or downloaded anything.

IMO: Magazine ads are almost more of a build awareness campaign or tease something on the web.

4 09 2009
162games

Brand Recognition is very very valuable

4 09 2009
VOTÇ

A couple weeks ago I posted a full page Upper Deck ad from Vine Line thr Official Magazine of the Chiacago Cubs.

James is correct, as someone who sells both print and electronic advertsing, one of the biggest challenges I have is getting old scool marketers to understand that today, print advertising has 2 functions; Branding and Product Awareness/Education.

Marketing to the sports fan in a print publication accomplishes both but you’ll never be able to determine who purchased, because the ad had no direct call to action with a coupon code or anything.

4 09 2009
Chris

Topps does market in many major league ballparks – I know the Washington Nationals (for example) use Topps “cards” as the way of showing the day’s lineup before the game starts in the main concourse area. It seems that is a much better way of target people who are almost guaranteed to be interested in the product you are pitching.

4 09 2009
Justin G.

I saw an ad for topps on the mlb network the other day. Not surprising given the news of topps exclusive deal starting next year, but surprising in the fact that there was an add on tv for baseball cards…

11 09 2009
Streky

162games i agree with you 🙂

16 09 2009
interadmedia

@162 games:
It’s true when people tend to be loyal to one brand which they first get used to

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