When dr. Anthony Fauci Throw first pitch On July 24 in National Park in Washington, DC, it was a moment to make headlines about how baseball rises and not just because their toss was wildly forgotten. Seovial Hive also debuted the baseball season, which was postponed for months due to concerns over Kovid-19 (well-established people, granted) Subsequent outbreak In many clubhouses).
But when it actually got people talking, when trading-card company Topps announced that a limited-run, one-off card was capturing Fauci’s moment on the mound, which was actually sold overnight, A record-breaking run of 51,512 units In a 24-hour window.
You will be forgiven thinking, “Do people still collect print trading cards?” But as Topps has come to know over the past several years, there is not only a market for century-plus-old pastime, but it has become more sophisticated and competitive among a select group of consumers who like the Venn diagram, where sports , Apathy and street fashion intersection.
Dr. Fauci (L) and Willie Mayes have not made chances in the Topps’ limited-run series
Fauci’s card was part of the electric bottle Tops now The series, which – as its name suggests – is based on memorable valor past and present, with the eyelid-eyed-you-miss-emem memorial card. (A snapshot of Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux reaching a team milestone Still cheapBut save your money for those Derek Jeter threw back.) The brand has sneaked into the digital space, not only with sports leagues but also by leveraging partnerships entertainment Powerhouses like Marvel and WWE in the market Many applications and virtual products.
Still, baseball tops have bread and butter, and the company executed the most cutting-edge game to date with the Project 2020 line, commissioning 20 classic artists and designers to put a contemporary spin on 20 Classic Tops baseball cards. Gone. The limited-edition set includes the addition of Tyson Beck 1955 image of Roberto Clemente, Fantasy animation of Ermsy Dwight Gooden 1985 issue And reducing Blame Jamieson’s redundancy Mike Trout’s crook ran.
“Project 2020 put baseball cards back on the map in a major way,” says Jamison from New York City Studios. “In the 80s and 90s, which was actually when I was collecting cards, all the companies were just printing hundreds and thousands of cards, and so nothing was really rare. That shut down a lot of people Gone, because if everyone can own every card, it’s not really as much fun as a card that none of your friends can get. ”
He describes the experience of participating in Project 2020 as something of a mutual appreciation: “It’s really fun seeing all these different interpretations and each artist pushing themselves and the limits of trading cards . ”
Artist and designer Blake Jamison in his NYC studio.
Image Credit: Brian Cerda
Clay Lureschi, Tops’ vice president of product development, had a big hand in making Project 2020 – and second, the above campaign – a reality. He recently caught up with us by phone from his home in New Jersey about how Topps managed to preserve his legacy by remaining more relevant – and profitable – than ever before.
Try, try and try again
“Having a mass presence online allows us to get our innovations to a lot of different collectors and fans, and the innovations don’t always hit the first time,” Lurachi said. “You can have an idea, then you can take it back and tweak it. Sometimes it doesn’t even come for a few years. With Topps.com and our director-to-consumer business , We can print things on demand.
We don’t necessarily have to take a position on a product, put it in a warehouse and hope it sells at some point. Project 2020 and other projects like a product Also where you have an idea, but you’re not 100 percent sure how it’s going to perform, because it’s so different, [the site] Allows you to put an idea in there and see how people respond.
Refine your core
“At its heart, we pop Chronicle culture, “Provides Lurachi.” Any property that has ever been out there – be it a film, a television show, or anything – we’ve probably made a business card out of it, and that’s what we do. In this case, with Project 2020, we make a trading card of it and then we put a twist on it.
The team that put it together has always been fond of art, and I think the idea of art, its meaning and culture has been made available to everyone in this time because social media And internet. So much influence is coming from outside in our building, and instead of just saying, ‘We’re just going to do things a certain way,’ we’re inviting those effects and saying, ‘How do we see it Can? How can we view trading cards differently? ”
You have what you don’t
“Whenever you can take advantage of your history, which a lot of companies can’t, you should,” Luresachi advises. “You should always stay ahead, but [Project 2020] There is a way to look back and forth at the same time.
And for me, this is the chemistry for success. If you can use both of those things at the same time, like if you can take an artist who is completely cutting-edge and who you think does everything contrary to what a traditional artist does, and then Takes this old business card from the 1950s and signs it again, this is a perfect example of taking something old and new and getting something great. ”
Tap on your customer story
“I’m 46,” Lureschi begins. “I was a huge veteran fan. You show me 1986 Top’s tracked Will Clarke card, And I can talk about it for hours, because just looking at that card basically makes up my childhood story.
And that’s one thing that we don’t have other companies: I’m sure you can tell stories about a can of food, but that’s only it. Such deep connections people have with our cards. Ninety-nine percent of its connection is with your consumer’s brand. How deep is that relationship? ”
Be smart and stay fresh
“Whenever we hire someone, their repertoire and skills are better,” Lursachi says. “A lot of people coming into the workforce are now thinking because of the mediums they use and have grown up. They are constantly talking about social media platforms, which is hot, so they are already Only come up with a natural.
Tilt towards those ideas. I’m Topps for 20 years, and I’ve always been pushing myself to think, ‘Okay, what’s new?’ If you don’t, what’s the point? My expectation is that whether you’ve been on the team for a month or 25 years, we stay on top of trends that are not only going inside our building, but our Even outside the building. ”