This week with 2012 Topps Five-Star baseball, Topps has rolled out the details and the application process for their “Five-Star Club”. This club is reserved for those collectors who like to spend their money on Topps products and support Topps in their mission of producing great football and baseball cards. There is no fee to join and you must fill out an application here.
Here are some of the perks:
- Exclusive Five-Star football and baseball parallels
- VIP access to Topps events
- Quarterly phone calls with Topps staff
- Exclusive autographs
- A membership card
First, there is no fee to apply and join this exclusive club. However, you must spend at least $10,000 on Topps products in a given year. That is enough to disqualify 99% of applicants. I understand they want these people to be loyal to Topps, but with one of the perks especially, it may just all be lip service.
That 1% of people (you’ll see why I call them people in a moment) comes from mainly two different categories. Extreme collectors and resellers. There is also a small amount of people that do crossover. For instance, there are people out there who buy 30+ cases of a product to break and resell on eBay for profit. They are in it strictly for monetary reasons and run it like a business. Some have no interest in collecting cards today. Why do those people have the requirements fulfilled to at least apply for membership while great collectors with great ideas like some of the bloggers I’ve come across don’t meet the requirements because they can’t afford it? If anything, it’s the passionate collectors that should be talking to Topps about what they like and don’t like on a more personal level.
On the other hand, extreme collectors of Topps products may also create issues, although they are more in tune then those strictly reselling. Extreme collectors of Topps products can at times be blinded by what is going on. Their brand loyalty is admirable, but they have lost some ability to criticize a product that needs to be criticized. For instance, there are some hardcore collectors out there that loved 2011 Topps Gridiron Legends football. Most collectors out there saw what it was and deemed it a failure on Topps part. It is what it is.
Topps is allowing vital information that could help the hobby, and their company, to go towards those sympathetic to their cause or with ulterior motives.
And speaking on giving vital information, if you are member of Five-Star Club, you must present Topps in a positive light under any circumstances. Since Topps is owned by Disney, everything they do must be magic.
I thought the Five-Star Club would be more than this. It would be an opportunity for even the casual collectors to get involved in helping shape the cardboard industry. Instead, it is something for Topps to show their appreciation for those who pay large amounts of money for their products. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either, but the format is just a little less to be desired.
And I already know Topps response to this. “Collectors can help the industry and the brand by speaking up in various forms of social media with Topps representatives like on Twitter and Facebook. This program is just to show appreciation for the big spenders.”
But how do we know we are even heard by those that really matter? (No offense personally to their Twitter guy, he seems like a nice guy.)
For the record, I feel pretty much the same about the Upper Deck Diamond Club which is essentially the same thing.