05 March 2012

Silk screened in brilliant gold

A momentous issue, Dragon #50 appeared in June 1981. Because of the weird publishing schedule of the first several issues, this was Dragon's fifth anniversary. As you can imagine, there are many editorials reflecting on the success of the magazine and the state of the hobby. The future was so bright then, they probably needed to wear to some of protective eye gear.

What's interesting about this ad, which appears toward the back of the issue, is it again reminds me powerfully of the pre-Internet era. This is an ad for a t-shirt. There is one design, some tricked out dragon. You get two choices: shirt size and color (blue or black). That's it! The vendor also probably bought a bunch of t-shirts already to meet the anticipated demand.

Do you kids even recognize the abbreviation in the corner, s.a.s.e? That's Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. These days, we just expect to see the catalogs of vendors instantly online for free.

Heck, if a site takes longer than 15 seconds to load, I am gone, baby.

However, customers were a lot more patient then. In those days, vendors would have to send you printed colateral. And that costs money! I think that by asking customers to send their own stamped and addressed envelope, vendors were connecting with people who are really interested in their product.

Dare I say that this was a primative spam prevention mechanism in the postal days?

I would love to know the success rate of these early advertisers.