This is one of my favourite promotions, on account of its beautiful design.
Although tea card collectors are all over the Internet, hardly any of them deign to mention any Free Gifts other than the 'traditional' tea cards. And at the time of writing, none of them seem to be aware of this promotion. Well… they're missing a trick!
In your box of PG Tips tea you would find one of these paper envelopes:
Taking out the card from the envelope, you find a piece of paper folded in half:
And turning over the paper, you see a sheet of transfers & the backing on which to apply them.
Photo courtesy of Paul Hart
At the moment I only have four of the six unused. From the top — "TV Chimps", "Camping", "Brass Band" & "Pop Group":
And here are the transfer sheets:
Those of you with eagle eyes will soon find your discrimination rewarded!
Meanwhile, here's a photo to give you an idea of the missing "Tea Party":
Original photo courtesy of promus5
Did you spot the visual clues I was hinting at? By looking for the serial number & trim marks (in black ink, just as shown here) at the edges of the transfer sheets, you can deduce precisely how the whole uncut sheet would have been put together:
Go back & look again at the transfer sheets, to see for yourself! Like all Magic tricks, it seems obvious when it's been pointed out how it's done — but I can assure you I was pretty pleased with myself when I deduced the serial number from "Pop Group" (the only sheet I had back then), & then had all my further deductions borne out by incoming evidence — one by one.
For several years, it looked as if this series comprised only four sets; then one day, "TV Chimps" showed up out of the blue. The tantalising aspect of all this was that at that point, there was still an empty slot on the half-crown uncut sheet; was there a sixth set? Would it turn up sooner or later? — OH, THE SUSPENSE!
Suspense abated. The mystery sixth set has turned up at last, albeit used. Er… twice. So here is "Golfing":
Stay tuned for more exciting news, as we uncover one or both of the two recalcitrant sets in unused condition.
Brooke Bond only used transfers as Free Gifts once more, as far as I'm aware; this second promotion, which according to one source dates from 1994, is rather late for us, & it doesn't hold a candle to the stylishness of the Magic Chimps Games.
However, here it is. There is one feature of this promotion which seems to be unique in my experience: you could get the same sheet of transfers either as dry rub-downs or as skin tattoos!
Not knowing much about this promotion at first, I couldn't tell you if you had to choose between them, were randomly assigned one or the other type, or received both at once. I naturally assumed (wrongly, as it turns out) that these transfers came in boxes or packets of tea, in which case: how was the selection of transfer type determined? I've only got the dry rub-down sheet (thanks to Tony of tonystrading.co.uk), but it's clear that the artwork really is identical; just the transfer method & the instructions are different.
Skin Tattoos instructions courtesy of pkb9
Skin Tattoos courtesy of pkb9
There's a more than sporting chance that Acorn were responsible for these transfers.
Hi Tom — As far as I know they were not issued in packets or boxes, they came with the MEET THE TIPPS FAMILY ACTIVITY BOOK. This was a colouring book with poster and transfers/tattoos. Best Regards Val — attic-curios
Thanks, Val. So it would make sense to include both versions — one for rubbing down in the activity book (a venerable tradition), & one for 'personal use' on your arms or wherever.
After a certain amount of rummaging, I did find a copy of the twelve-page activity book, & it vindicated this hypothesis; the front cover & relevant page are shown:
Photo courtesy of westampy
Photo courtesy of westampy
"Use your rub down transfers to complete these scenes."
Although the cover says "Issue 1", I'm pretty sure there were never any subsequent issues. It reminds me of Peter Archer's red Action Transfers series, each title of the twelve headed "No.1" — which confuses people to this day, trying to work out which one of them is actually first — but when the yellow series came out the next year, although the categories were retained, none of them were "No.2". I wonder how many Peter originally envisaged in each of the twelve categories; what would he have come up with for "Invasion No.12"?
I regret not thinking to ask him to sketch them out for us when I had the chance!
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives — Paul Hart — promus5 — pkb9 — westampy
© Tom Vinelott 2021