A typical advert from a comic at the time of this breakfast cereal promotion — in this case, "Tiger and Scorcher", 17th June 1978. This half-page ad appeared in at least a dozen comics between 24th May & 24th June 1978.
The promotion consisted of two parts: the "battlescapes" on the packet backs (& sides!) on which to apply the transfers, & of course the transfers themselves — which you can see at the bottom of this page.
I'm showing Scene 4 first, because thanks to Craig Spivey we have this nice scan of a whole cereal packet. This packet is the 10oz. size; there was also a 15oz. size, which with four different battlescapes means eight different boxes.
I find the narrow strip of artwork along the left-hand edge tab (above) particularly revealing, because it belongs to the left-hand edge of Scene 1 — giving us an insight into how the cereal packets were laid out for printing!
But before you go & check that for yourself, here's the Scene 4 Battlescape again, but as it would appear if cut out of the packet. The left-hand tab comes from the right-hand side of the packet, & hopefully remains glued on from when the printed card was assembled into a box at the factory.
(If you find it hard to follow any of that, get your Mummy to explain it to you.)
Thanks to Craig Spivey for these transfer sheet scans.
This is Darren Simpson's uncut sheet. He says:
"Have not too much information on it, got it from a guy that got it back in the day from an aunt who used to bring them home from her work/factory for him and his brother to play with and apply to stuff. I asked her if this would have been Letraset factory but he didn’t know. I kinda figure he may remember popular brands like this so wonder if it was a small factory that the work was sub contracted out to… the seller was in Dover and I understand Letraset factory was in Ashford so definitely a close connection…"
Although Letraset only owned a litho press once they had bought Sodecor in Italy, for a year or so previously they had been printing litho transfers at BKT in Tonbridge, under the supervision of John Kingsland. Some of the Wall's Sausages/Look-In Magazine transfers were printed there. But this sheet was definitely printed at Ashford, since it is gravure — not litho. You can most easily tell by the thickness of the plastic; thin, brittle plastic means Ashford!
This business of workers taking home uncut sheets from the Ashford factory is very common. They would all have been taken from the bin, where they ended up because of some printing flaw or other, such as mis-registered inks.
The other point is that by counting up the different numbers of transfers on the sheet, you can see see Nabisco's marketing strategy:
So the transfers featuring Darth Vader brandishing his magic wand would have been quite difficult to collect. Unless, of course, there was another uncut sheet…
Picture Credit: the SPLAT Scan Archives, with thanks to Craig Spivey, Nick Symes, Darren Simpson & StellarX
© Tom Vinelott 2023