Subbuteo Tribute Website.
Catalogues and Price Lists: Part 3.
Companion Games and Advertising Brochures.
This page looks at all the pieces
of Subbuteo marketing material that don't fit nicely into the range shown on the
A big thank you goes to Norman Walker and Ashley Hemming who provided many of the items shown here.
The Companion Catalogues.
The companion games series started with the card game "Soccer Market" in 1948, whilst cricket (January 1949) and Fivesides (1949-50) were added soon after. These games were sold in a separate brochure to the standard football price list, and the October 1952 version is illustrated above. Like the football price lists of the time, this was a simple A5 leaflet. Later in the 1950s, the catalogue added a further fold-out page, which advertised the rolling version of rugby on one side, and Speedway on the other. The Speedway page shown above is from the November 1957 issue. However, the front page was unchanged, with only the original three games listed.
The companion games catalogues continued well into the 1960s, and two different versions are shown here. The plain black and white version is from December 1967, and is still dated along the top of the first page, as the Companion games catalogues had been since the beginning. The other two scans are of a slightly more colourful leaflet. This one is not dated on the front, but the printers date is 1968. Is this more colourful catalogue showing a Waddingtons influence? Both these catalogues have the same three companion games, fivesides, cricket and rugby. Whilst the new OO scale version of cricket was now advertised, table rugby was still the primitive old rolling version. To be honest, I was surprised to find this game still being offered at this late a date.
Brochures/Box Set Flyers.
This is the earliest advertising brochure that I have seen. Experienced Subbuteo collectors will recognise the style/colour a match with the 1949-50 catalogue. The brochure was designed to be folded up and sent through the post to prospective buyers and although undated, the version shown here is post-marked 25th February 1949. The leaflet was three double-sided A5 pages in size, and had two pages of comments from owners ("I have never had such a thrilling game as this" - etc.) It is mostly text, and I've shown the most exciting pages above.
This was a more straightforward double-sided A5 leaflet from the early 1950s, showing the three "presentations" as Peter Adolph called them. The Assembly outfit was still shown with the 1949-50 style of box lid.
Using a similar format to the football flyer, Peter Adolph also issued this cricket flyer, with the three editions laid out within in. At this time, the "Super Assembled" set was "Specially manufactured for export, youth clubs, cricket clubs, school and other Educational purposes. And those who prefer the best."
This one was a mid-1950s brochure. Although it is essentially a retread of the previous brochures, it is important because it includes the "Super Seniors" set. This edition (not illustrated) was a deluxe set featuring most of the accessories of the day, as well as the standard Super Assembled set contents. This edition never featured in the catalogues, and possibly made its only appearance in this leaflet.
It is also worth noting that the standard box sets are updated on this brochure. The Assembly Outfit has become The Standard Outfit, and all the boxes have the later blue lids. This means that the Combination Edition is now in the larger box.
This leaflet, with a familiar 1960s cover picture, came from the first ever "Continental" box set, and so is dated circa 1961. The list of editions within had just the solitary OO scale edition, which was the original "Floodlighting Set". This was priced at 89/6d, compared with 49/6d for the Super Assembled Set, and 10/6d for the Assembly Outfit.
Two years later, and this simple one page 1963-64 poster/flyer had a trio of Continental sets available, with the Floodlighting set topping the lot at 89/6d. However, the cardboard teams of the Popular Outfit was still offered at 10/6d. The illustration is simple, but does show the appeal of the red fence surround and floodlights. Interestingly, the contents of both the Floodlighting, and Club edition included the red fence at this date (explaining why bagged fences are often found in these early editions).
This mid 1960s brochure had an attractive front page, but the rest was a bit dull. A pull out three-page A5 leaflet once more, it featured pictures of the six editions of the mid 1960s, although on the copy I own they had also added the International Edition to the descriptions page (this cost a massive 119/6d). The three pages in the middle of the fold out consisted of some widely spaced quotes from letters received from Subbuteo players (impressively aged from 9 to 61).There are even two quotes from the same writer.
World Cup 1966 Leaflet.
It goes without saying that the 1966 World Cup bought interest in football in England to new levels, and Subbuteo sales obviously climbed off the back of this tournament. Although Peter Adolph was originally unconvinced, his sales manager set about capitalising on this national event.
Subbuteo's 1966 World Cup leaflet was actually a very simple four sided affair, advertising the named teams produced for the 1966 World Cup. Inside, there was a colour picture advertising the full range of continental equipment of that time (C100-C112). A slightly different version of this picture was included in the 1969 catalogue (shown here on the right, for comparison). Still, this was probably the first ever full colour illustration of Subbuteo products outside of the box sets.
This was a late 1960s leaflet in a smaller size. It was a narrow format, but much more colourful than usual. The blurb repeated some of the best quotes from the mid-1960s box set flyer. The International Edition had increased in price to 128/-, but the World Cup edition was yet to appear, so I guess this one is circa 1968-70.
World Cup 1970 leaflet.
After the success of the 1966 World Cup, Subbuteo were obviously keen to use the next tournament in the same way. This simple two-colour flyer was both a chart for customers to follow the World Cup, and to fill in the results, and a sales leaflet to advertise Subbuteo's World Cup range. It stressed that the World Cup sides were available as both teams and statuettes, and also advertised the expensive World Cup edition for the first time. A "stop press" item on the back page listed a number of new teams to be added to the range. This was the first really big increase in team colours, and saw teams 62 to 74 added.
This attractive flyer continued the full colour illustrated design of the previous leaflet, but returned to A5 size. The extra space was needed too, as the range of games had suddenly increased. Matching to the range on the 1970-71 price list, this new flyer featured the football sets, the cricket, the new rugby international edition, the Subbuteo dicer, and the legendary Subbuteo Angling board game. There were actually two versions of this flyer, in old and new money. My own copy has Subbuteo Angling priced at 49/11, whereas the one illustrated here has it priced at £2.70.
Starting with 1972-73, the annual Subbuteo price list became a full catalogue, with illustrations of accessories and box sets. This made the separate brochures less necessary. I am not sure there were any produced between 1973 and 1975. That said, Ashley Hemming has now provided me with copies of two brochures advertising the "new stadium series", which date to the end of this period, so perhaps other shop literature of the period will come to light.
Both these leaflets are the cover size of the poster catalogues of the 1972-77 period (i.e. the size of the catalogues when folded). It's a strange size really, between A4 and A5. The "green sheet" is the oldest, dating to 1976. There's a list of accessories on the back of the sheet running to C138, and still including some lettered accessories, rosettes, EPNS cups, medals and plaques. The front offered the three new accessories of the period C139 Bench Set, C140 the Grandstand, and C141 the spectator set. It is also one of the few Subbuteo items to use the Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells address.
The "Stadium Series" sheet is a single-sided poster, and has the later Chiddingstone Causeway address. This advertised the new three tier Stadium Edition in all its glory, and added the terrace and corner terrace to the accessories shown on the "green sheet". "Start collecting today" it states optimistically.
In 1978, the big Subbuteo World catalogues were launched. These were placed in the accessory range (C155), and needed to be purchased (for 10p). This meant that the small sales brochure made a bit of a comeback. The one shown here is from 1978, and featured all the box sets available when I was first playing. The early version of the Stadium Edition looked very tempting in this one. Having the boxes of the editions open was a lovely idea, and actually shows a period of changeover, with the old 1974 World Cup layers and contents under the new lid; and the final rugby lid on an orange card inner (with proper small case lettering). The reverse of the leaflet showed some accessories, and had a coupon to send to receive the full catalogue (stamps/postal order for 17p required).
Another leaflet encouraging customers to send off for the full catalogue, this one had the attractive picture from the 1979 catalogue on the front (first showing of the lightweight figures), and various pictures from that publication inside. The duplication of catalogue pictures makes this one less exciting than the 1978 version. Oddly, the Stadium Edition is in the new box here, but the rugby set is back in the old box (hence the version I owned as a kid with the old lid, and a polystyrene inner).
Into the 1980s, and these leaflets were the larger A4 size, and could also be used as display material by shops. These sheets were produced for the final two years in the Subbuteo World era (1980 and 1981), and simply featured some of the new items and accessories produced in each year. The "1982 World Cup" flyer has the 1981 price list on the reverse.
This flyer from 1981 is slightly different to the others on this page, in that it was designed by Waddingtons International Ltd. As such, the blurb was written in five languages (including English). Like the 1979 flyer, the full catalogue cover is part of the design, but here there is a random (and unnumbered) page of teams to show the selection of colours on offer, as well as the usual focus on accessories. The Club Edition, and the licensed FIFA World Cup Edition are the box sets to feature, perhaps indicating where the range was going in the 1980s.
From 1982, the Subbuteo World catalogues were no more, and again a free poster/catalogue was produced. Like the mid 1970s, this seems to have stopped the need for separate flyers.
Late 1960s Cricket Flyers.
A one sided flyer advertising the new OO scale cricket, which could be displayed at retailers. The early version (on the left) only offers the Club and Display Editions, while the later version also offered the Test Match Edition.
The 1960s football had a combined catalogue/price list, so when the cricket and rugby games were introduced they had to have their own versions. Shown here are the two sides of the 1968-69 cricket price list, and one side of a very early rugby price list (circa 1970). The side shown lists the accessories available, while the other side lists the 25 teams available at that time.
In the 1970s the football catalogues change to a poster format which illustrates all the football teams, but also has room to list all the accessories for all the games. However, the inflation of the 1970s stopped prices being published in the catalogues, so separate price lists were printed to accompany them. The final illustration above is the April 1976 price list, and this is the standard format of these lists. The football and rugby accessories are listed on the front, while the cricket accessories are on the back, together with an unpriced list of the box sets available.
No look at catalogues would be complete without these tiny flyers which were included with every team and accessory of the early 1990s. They are nearly identical, except that the second version had the new floodlights, a new picture of the Italia 90 balls, and replaced the Italia 90 pitch with a normal one. They are well illustrated, and the first one you own will probably prove useful. However, by the time you reach double figures, you will be getting a little sick of them....
...as you may be getting sick of this list of catalogues. Never mind, as you've reached the end. Follow the links to something else that takes your fancy, or return to the main page for the full index.