Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Soap Trading Cards & Merchandise

It was announced earlier today that new series of trading cards picturing American Idol judges and contestants will be issued on April 21 by show producer FremantleMedia and trading card publisher Upper Deck. The series will feature 138 cards of past and current contestants, with five cards in each pack.

This made me think about the soap opera trading cards developed by Jim Warren that were around in the early 90s. I don't know if there is a market for such things today but I do believe there are a number of merchandising opportunities out there not be used.

The obvious one is classic soaps on DVD. With such a huge collection of episodes (what remains that is), a company like P&G should be finding ways to make money rather than leave the gone but not forgotten shows in deep storage. Another World is available at Hulu.com, but what about Texas or Search for Tomorrow or The Edge of Night? The P&G Classic Soaps Channel on AOL went away at the end of last year. How about a lower tier cable channel that does nothing but rerun these shows all day?

Individual storylines could be marketed to target audiences as well. Luke and Noah fans would certainly buy DVDs of their story, or pay for "extras" online. The same probably goes for a number of other couples like "Scrubs" or "Otalia" as well.

The key would always be to produce the merchandise in a low cast way that maximizes profits.

What type of merchandise do you think would be profitable for the soaps today?

Here's an old flashback article from 1990 about a fan who collected soap memorabilia including the trading cards.


Associated Press
November 5, 1990

If Marilyn Monroe were still alive, she'd be watching Days of our Lives. At least that's the contention of the owner of a Hollywood soap opera memorabilia shop.

Dick McInnes, proprietor of the "Bubble Boutique," stocks soap essentials, including paperbacks on the lives of daytime TV personalities, autographed photos, star pins, and a life- size cutout of Monroe wearing a Days of our Lives button.

"I want this place to be sort of a hangout," said McInnes, who opened the boutique on Hollywood Boulevard nine months ago and serves coffee next to a television tuned in to one of six hourlong soaps.

Most boutique items, which include T-shirts, posters and coffee cups with soap opera logos, range from $10 to $20.

Fans can also find soap opera trading cards, which list the actor's height, hair and eye color and such personal information as Santa Barbara star Robin Mattson's allergy to bee stings.

Not all of the items in the Bubble Boutique have a price tag.

For instance, an old photo of the General Hospital cast featuring star-crossed lovers Luke and Laura won't ever be on sale, McInnes said.

"My eventual dream is to make a soap opera museum," he said.

McInnes said he's also working on a memorial bulletin board for Patch, the recently murdered Days of our Lives character, portrayed by Stephen Nichols. The board will feature several photos and say R.I.P.

Soap opera stars are known to make occasional visits to the store to give autographs, he said.

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