Wednesday 10 April 2013

Esso Collection of Football Club Badges - The Adverts

We might start calling this 'Discovery Week' on The Football Attic...

After Rich J recently discovered the true source for his free Winterthur Subbuteo team, I was today able to shed more light on a previous post of my own.

One of the most popular posts on our website is one of the most unexpected successes. Back in September 2012, I reviewed a largely overlooked piece of memorabilia called the Esso Collection of Football Club Badges. Coming from the same people that brought you the England World Cup Coin Collection, this was a set of football insignia (made from foil) available individually from Esso petrol stations whenever a tankful of fuel was purchased.

When I wrote the article well over six months ago, I'd barely heard of the Esso badge collection, yet as if to prove I wasn't alone, thousands of you have been visiting this website to find out more about those shiny club crests yourselves.

And if you count yourself as one of that band of loyal and inquisitive souls, you're in luck because just today I've unearthed further evidence as to how those badges were marketed back in 1971.

As you can see from the two adverts shown, Esso, 'The Action Station', made a good job of promoting their shiny embossed badges to an audience of kids who would have seen these ads in their weekly comics. All the information was there to feed the excited juvenile mind: 76 metallic badges available FREE, some illustrated in all their glory, with the opportunity to pick up a collector card to display them on as well - also FREE.

And if you were impatient at the thought of Dad only picking up one badge every fortnight (as was most likely the case), you could buy a special 'Starter Pack' of 26 badges for just 20p - around £2.60 in today's money.

But the cleverness of the marketing didn't end there. With all the nous of anyone that collected cigarette cards in their youth but failed to complete a set, the Esso ad men also reminded kids that they should look to their peers for help in completing theirs.

That's why this second print ad also appeared with the wonderfully cheesy cut-out-and-wear badge that invited other kids to 'Stop me & swop one'. By wearing the badge on your lapel, you'd have that assured feeling of someone that would soon be completing his Esso collection while also looking like a demented glam rock bus conductor.

The Esso Collection of Football Club Badges - a wonderful piece of football memorabilia, brilliantly marketed.

(Advert images reproduced by kind permission of combomphotos)


  1. I remember as a child all the common badges in my town were very rare where my cousin lived in the Scottish Highlands and vice versa to make it difficult to complete.Sharp practice and the starter packs were all identical so no point in opening loads of them !!

    1. That sounds like a devious plan on the part of Esso, Anonymous! I guess you'd have had to send off for quite a few badges to complete your collection back then?

  2. I'm sure you could buy them from the esso garage without buying petrol.
    They came in packs of two and i remember my mother going mad everytime i wanted money to go to buy some,which was every 3 or 4 hours

    1. Ha! Superb! Thanks again for your memories, Tony... :)

  3. I remember them well and managed to complete both the club and World Cup sets.