As mentioned above,individual survivors are scarce.
But finding a group like the ones photographed is probably going to be a one-off.
The quality of the pics,together with the telltale camera icon in the bottom right corners,reveal that these images were indeed rescued from an ebay auction,where they were sold as one lot in September 2006.
Sale price ? 102 pounds.
Good value or bonkers ? You decide.
Either way,the buyer turned out to be a dentist in the U.S.A. And,no,I'm not joking. It really was !
Suffice to say that if they ever find their way home at some stage I'll probably be at the front of the queue.
And I say that as the 2nd highest bidder last time around,who regretted not going the extra mile to keep them in the UK. And I'm not joking about that either.
Although,on reflection,even I have to admit it's funny what you covet sometimes !
Here are all the print ads currently known to exist. (there was no TV campaign)
The first 4 ads.....all featured in women's magazines in the autumn of 1971.
The next 3.....all featured in children's comics during 1972.The first one specifically publicises the Letraset promotion that features on the 2 of the boxes pictured above.And whilst I'm not sure exactly how long it ran for,I do know that you got a sheet of transfers and a printed backdrop of Camberwick to put them on -which I presume was on the inside of the box,although I've not been able to confirm that as yet.
Unfortunately,the last ad had damage to the bottom left hand corner,and some of the text has been lost.So I'm hoping to find a better example in due course.
The last one.....is the latest that I currently know about,and featured in a pantomime programme at the end of 1975.
Arguably among the most iconic bits of Trumptonshire merchandise produced.
It's amazing how many people seem to remember these particular items.
Or maybe I'm only "amazed" because they completely passed me by at the time.Which was a very uncharacteristic faux pas by my mum in an otherwise unblemished career !
No surprise that they're very hard to find now though.Because despite the character branding that encouraged you to collect them,they were still fundementally use-and-bin items in an age where recyclers were strange men in beards & sandals,and eBay sounded like something out of Joe 90.
All the survivors I've seen carry a 1970 copyright mark.
But the official launch took place on the 17th of August,1971,at the Savoy Hotel in London.
The Getty Images archive has 3 very similar still photos taken at the event,featuring 3 young children -2 boys and a girl.
The girl is named as 3 year old Nicola Burrage,but both boys are un-creditied. sample pic
Maybe they can shed some light on the apparent incongruity between the venue and the rather amateurish set-up.
With the Getty pics failing to show any noticeable branding,in what was supposed to be a photo opportunity for the press.(even the tube in the boy's hand is largely obscured).
And the kids are using an ordinary washing-up bowl on a bare table.Which seems completely at odds with the setting, and a bit like turning up to a full-blown church wedding dressed in dungarees and flip-flops.
But photographs rarely tell the whole story of course,so maybe we shouldn't jump to conclusions........
Even though I'm about to do just that by speculating that the budget only stretched as far as hiring the Savoy to ensure the attendance of the London press,and not much else.Apart from a sizeable contingency to cover their drinks bill of course. (Stereotype apology to any teetotal 70's hacks !)
Either way,these sorts of launches are only ever noteworthy in retrospect if the product goes on to bomb spectacularly. And I'm very glad to report that didn't happen here.
The style of the imagery is unmistakeably late 60's/early 70's,with particular reference to messrs. Snort and Grout on the end.
And even dear old Mrs.Cobbit seems to be doing her best to fan the dying embers of the flower power movement,as well as doing her usual bit for InterFlora.
The manufacturer was Wright,Layman & Umney,who also brought out similar branded toiletries for other kids tv shows.
And we've got 8 characters here,with 3 different flavours -"Cherry" ,"Minty",and "Fruity".
There was also a "Cola" version (presumably all sugar-free !) And whilst I can't be 100% sure that all of the characters are shown here,I do know that there were no Trumpton or Chigley examples produced. (Cola example shown here)
Bright,iconic packaging meant good shelf visibility.And this was matched by a suitably colourful ad campaign in Women's mags and kid's comics.All underpinned by Camberwick's continued tv presence through a relentless succession of repeats
So the building blocks for commercial success were all in place.And whilst it's yet to be established when they actually disappeared from the shelves,there's evidence of a print ad that came out as late as the winter of 1975.So they obviously did well enough to last at least 4 years.Which is pretty impressive when set against the vast majority of other tv spin-off products. Because the longevity achieved by mega brands like Snoopy and The Simpsons etc is truely exceptional.
If you're a "glass-half-empty" sort of person,the 2 obvious "yes,but...." questions that spring to mind are :-
1) Why were no Trumpton characters produced when the product had such a decent run ?
2) How much extra commercial impact would a 1966 launch have had ?
Answers on a postcard please (or by email !) .Although the answer to the 2nd is probably "quite a bit".
The photos are sufficiently large that all the text should be fully legible.
If not,your browser has probably automatically downsized the pic to fit the window.
Are the 2 children in ad no.4 the same as those in the Savoy launch photo,above ?
I don't think they are,but I've always been hopeless with faces and I'd probably be the stuff of nightmares for any police sketch artist !
So,as ever,your thoughts are welcomed.