Monday, February 21, 2022

Nintendo Grab the Blocks campaign (1970s)

I recently added an interesting promotional item to my collection of vintage Nintendo games and toys.

The item I am talking about, is the cardboard box shown here. It measures 32 by 32 by 42 centimeters and dates from the early 1970s.

All sides of the box are printed, with opposite sides showing the same image.

The text around the hole in the top says "GRAB THE BLOCKS" (ブロックのつかみどり) BOX.

If we peek inside the box, we spot a pile of N&B Blocks, Nintendo's LEGO inspired building block system. (For an introduction to N&B Block, see this earlier post).

The text on the red sides explains what this is all about: for each 1000 yen spent on Nintendo games and toys, a handful of blocks may be grabbed from the box for free (任天堂のゲーム・トイ1000円お買上げごとに1回!!).

To prevent any misunderstanding, it even states that if one spends 3000 yen, three grabs are allowed (3000円なら3回つかめます).

This box was most likely provided to participating toy shops, as a sales promotion tool for the expanding range of products offered by Nintendo in the early 1970s.

Free stuff has always been popular, so this undoubtably will have attracted extra buyers, especially those already into Nintendo's block system, launched around five years earlier.

The promotion is aimed at Nintendo's newer toys and games, as indicated by the small print, which states that Nintendo's more traditional products like playing cards, hanafuda, go and shogi are excluded (ただしトランプ、花札、マージャン、碁、将棋をお買上げの場合はそのかぎりではありません).

To make the grabbing extra exciting and prevent selective picking, the grab hole presumably contained a construction on the inside of the top lid that allowed an arm to enter, while limiting the view inside. Unfortunately this part is missing, but glue remains can still be seen.

But wait, that's not all! The yellow sides advertise that there is a chance of winning a "double present" (ダブルプレセント).

You are to keep all Nintendo N&B blocks that you grab (1 N&Bブロックつかみどり!つかんだ全部をフレゼント).

And if you are lucky enough to grab one or more of the silver coloured blocks, you are additionally rewarded a Nintendo Jumbo Pen (銀色のブロックをつかむと・・・さらにジャンボベンかもらえます。).

Nintendo had recently expanded their office supply range - that already included the Copylas copier and Unirack storage system - with so-called non-dry pens, and they grabbed (excuse the pun) this opportunity to promote these pens as part of this campaign. A promotion within a promotion, so to speak.

The Nintendo Jumbo Pen is shown at actual size (原 寸) on the box side. It is quite big, hence the name, measuring 27 centimeters. Sadly, the box did not come with any of these pens.

In the pile of blocks still in the box, around fifteen or so silver blocks were included, so there was a fair chance of getting the pen as well as the blocks.

If you want to find out more about N&B Blocks, check out this post. Another Nintendo campaign from this period is described in this post.

1 comment:

  1. woah, never knew about the jumbo pens. Nintendo's office supplies and baby products fascinate me, learning that nintendo made a photo copier or a baby pram is super interesting. It's a shame these smaller ventures weren't as successful meaning there's very limited information about them online, at least in English.