Alright, NO value might be a bit harsh but the title creates the mental connotation I'm going for in this post. Also, consider this more of a thinking out loud about the issue post than a full blown opinionated statement.
We, as collectors, are entering our second year with The Topps Company holding the baseball card tri-opoly (MLB, USA, MiLB) and a potentially disturbing trend is emerging. Multiple Topps products will be created with some sort of perceived value added component.
Last year we saw the Million Card Giveaway, Topps and Bowman Chrome wrapper redemption programs and this year we already have the Diamond Anniversary thing-a-ma-jig and the announcement today that 30 Albert Pujols rookie cards will be inserted into Topps Tribute.
There is a fine line between value added and giving back to collectors and feeling the need to incorporate some sort of mechanism that will drive sales. The subject has been something I have been thinking about for the last several months and was perfectly summed up in this exchange on Twitter today.
Collector A: Is it sad that what's going to sucker me into buying more 2011 Topps is the Diamond Giveaway redemption?
Collector B: Why's that sad? I can't remember the last time I had fun buying baseball cards. It seemed like a chore until Topps went and ran the MCG and now TDG (promotions)
Collector A: Dunno. Just seems like I should be buying them for the actual cards.
However, as a marketing person, I truly appreciate the buzz Topps has created both in The Hobby and mainstream media. The Valentine's Day engagement ring giveaway, while obviously a complete and total PR stunt, certainly worked as the Topps logo was branded all over a Today Show segment carried by NBC local affiliates around the country.
I don't know. Buybacks have been used a lot in various products by various manufacturers for years but something seems wrong about a once great brand like Topps Tribute needing to be pumped up with a buyback card chase of none other than Albert Pujols. It just seems to me that if you, as a product developer, can't make that brand successful standing on its own merits, maybe you have bigger issues to deal with.
What says you?