Hobby Musings: Upper Deck primed to offer special cards for Singles Day – Upper Deck has been well known for their National Hockey Card Day promotion among other initiatives. Aimed to help card shops and provide an extra card treat for collectors, the programs have proven to be immensely popular. In that vein, Upper Deck will be sponsoring its Singles Day promotion this weekend. For more on what UD is offering with it, I had the chance to catch up with Chris Carlin. The following interview was conducted via email.
KS: Chris, Upper Deck’s winter promo set last year was later in the month to tie in with Small Business Saturday. Why did you make the decision to hold Singles Day earlier in November this year?
CC: Singles Day is an international holiday similar to Black Friday, but when we think of “singles,” we think of trading cards. Our president wanted to plant our flag on that day and come up with a promotion where fans can use singles to complete sets and score awesome prizes.
KS: How do you think Singles Day stands out from other promotions that Upper Deck has done?
CC: I think Singles Day is different than any trading card promotion any manufacturer has done, because it really is all about set collecting and Upper Deck is the only company to support that through our Bounty program. Fans who have chased Upper Deck Bounty programs in the past have probably seen that they are hard to do within the time frame required.
This will be a relatively easy set to put together with just 15 cards in them and no short-prints. There are bounty codes on the back of every base card, so fans can use that to redeem their sets at www.UpperDeckBounty.com and score really cool achievements. The first 99 collectors will get a Winter Green parallel set numbered to 99 copies of all 15 cards. After that, fans who redeemed their set can also score a limited-edition autograph card of Ben Simmons, Wayne Gretzky, Shohei Ohtani or Connor McDavid.
The four-color set collector boxes are also a really cool new twist for a promotion like this. Fans who bring in complete sets of 2018-19 NHL O-Pee-Chee, 2018 Goodwin Champions or 2018-19 NHL Upper Deck Series One can be entered into a drawing to score these unique boxes. I think these will be VERY desirable with set collectors.
The last piece is really a thank you to those who have served in the US and Canada with the Museum Collection Veteran cards. We know collecting is a hobby that is very popular in the military community so to honor two vets on Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans Day in the USA is really special. Any active duty military member, veteran or military enthusiast can score of these special cards for free from participating retailers.
KS: Usually, your promos seem tied in large part to the collector bases in the United States and Canada. However, on the site’s page promoting the program, there is a nod to China with the Bounty Program time. Why the inclusion for China with this specific promotion?
CC: Through our experiences at the NHL China Games and with the global reach of collecting through Upper Deck e-Pack, we are developing fans there. A promotion like Singles Day is perfect for China because the holiday really took off there and we want to continue to grow the card collecting community in that country.
KS: Beyond the base sets and parallels, collectors also have the chance to potentially score a cool autograph from one of UD’s spokesmen. How did Upper Deck decide on which autograph subjects to include, as well as the subjects in the base set?
CC: We were really looking for the best players to include in the base set and the autograph cards that would have the most “wow” factor with collectors. McDavid, Simmons, Gretzky and Ohtani autograph cards have been a huge draw with collectors recently. We partner with the best and wanted to show off our top athletes with collectors through the base set and achievements.
KS: Any chance you can reveal how many autographs of each player is available?
CC: Not everyone is going to get one if that’s what you’re asking. We like to stay relatively tight lipped about print runs. This is the first year we are running this program so there are not a lot available, but based on what we see from how many fans get involved with the bounty program this season, we may bump that number up in future years. Long story short though, if you have the opportunity to grab one of these at a rational price, do it. And if you are lucky enough to score one on the Bounty program, hang on to it for a while as I think many will go quickly into private collections.
KS: Overall, how much time and effort goes into putting a program like this together for hobby shops and collectors?
CC: We have been working on this program since we announced it at the 2018 Certified Diamond Dealer Conference in January last year. There are a lot of totally new elements to this program, so we’ve all been working very hard on bringing it to life.
KS: How important is it for a card company like Upper Deck to put together promotions like this, especially around the holiday season?
CC: This promotion is really geared to support the Certified Diamond Dealers we work with and I hope more and more get involved with it every year going forward. Having traffic in the shop during the holiday buying time is a huge benefit to them. With 2018-19 NHL Upper Deck Series One releasing just a couple days before this promotion kicks off on Saturday, November 10th, should make for a busy weekend for shops which is good for the industry.
KS: Are there any late details or tips you can offer collectors know about Singles Day?
CC: There will be a lot of dealers with kits at the Fall Expo, so make sure to find out who will be offering packs on Saturday at that event. Try to put your set together by the time the bounty programs kick off (details here: http://www.upperdeck.com/singlesday/) so you can be one of the first to redeem them on the Upper Deck Bounty website.
KS: Besides Singles Day, what else does Upper Deck have coming in the pipeline for releases and special programs?
CC: The next big one is National Hockey Card Day coming on Saturday, February 23, 2019 for collectors. For dealers the next big thing to hit is our 2019 Certified Diamond Dealer Conference in January (more details here: https://upperdeckstore.com/cddc). Oh, and obviously we have a bit of a birthday coming up in 2019, so look for details on a very cool anniversary program around the same time as our CDD Conference.
For more Hobby Musings from Kelsey Schroyer, follow him on Twitter @KelSchroy75.
Hobby Musings: Upper Deck primed to offer special cards for Singles Day – More Resources
- Upper Deck Singles Day Program Boasts Incredible Bounty Achievement Reward Parallel & Autograph Cards
- Upper Deck Offers FREE Trading Cards to Veterans for Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans Day in the USA
- Singles Day Images on Upper Deck’s Facebook