As Upper Deck’s Customer Care Manager, it is my goal to help educate our collectors and fans so they can have a better experience with our collectible products. I’ll routinely post updates about what we hear on the phones and through e-mails from customers in segments called Ask UD. I hope you find this information relevant and interesting. If you have questions yourself, please feel free to leave a comment and “Ask UD!”
Here are some of the questions we’ve received recently in Customer Care:
Ask Upper Deck: Both Upper Deck and Panini have released information on video trading cards recently. What is the difference between your video card and their video card?
Nick Leslie: “Good question. Based on the information both companies have released there are three clear differences between both products that I would like to go through.
“Number one, they have a concept, we have a card. That is VERY important. We didn’t share anything about the Upper Deck EVOLUTION cards until we had the actual cards in-house to show off. The reason why is because these are not easy to make. What Panini has shared is a concept for what they think their video card will be along with a mock-up. They have not shared an actual card. We could mock-up a flying trading card, that doesn’t mean we have one ready to go. From concept to final product is a long distance. Upper Deck EVOLUTION cards are done and are now packing out in 2011 Upper Deck Football on April 12. Panini on the other hand is not even far enough along to share what product their video cards will appear in. Quite frankly we could be on the second or third generation of EVOLUTION cards by the time they get their first card to market.
“Number two, EVOLUTION is a trading card first, while their product looks like a video player. We have done some technology-based cards before and while they were popular and definitely had a niche fan base, they weren’t very popular with the hobby. The reason why is because they didn’t look like trading cards. Throughout our extensive development process, one thing we felt was paramount to the success of the project was that these look like trading cards first with a compelling design, player images and the video adds to the trading card. When I saw the mock-up of the Panini card, it looked to me like a video player, not a trading card. What do you see when the card isn’t playing for the Panini card? It would just be a blank black screen. That is not a very compelling collectible and certainly doesn’t make you think ‘trading card.’ We all know that trading card companies cannot compete with Sony and Panasonic, so what Upper Deck chose to do is focus on what we do best. We made a compelling new trading card utilizing existing booklet card features and incorporated video, not a video player we tried to pass off as a trading card.
“Number three is that they are launching with the NBA and we are launching with college football. This is a HUGE difference potentially for fans. Why? Both sports have rabid fan bases, but if their video trading card may not release until next season, you have to ask yourself, “Will there even be a NBA season next year?” Collector interest in Upper Deck CLC products seems to be at an all-time high with many of our 2010 cards outperforming NFL licensed releases. We believe we are starting this product in the right sport with a tech-savvy fan base looking to gobble items like this up.
“More differences may become clear as they share more about what they intend to do or changes they plan on making to their card. Upper Deck’s EVOLUTION cards will already be out there in the market for collectors to enjoy and experience. We’ve had a lot of mainstream media by this week to see the cards and I saw them myself as well. I can say without a doubt that collectors are really going to enjoy the EVOLUTION!”
Ask Upper Deck: Is it better to call in my redemptions or redeem them online?
Nick Leslie: “Well first you may want to check with your local hobby shop to see if they can redeem the cards for you. Most shops frequently offer that service to their customers. They will let you know when they come back in or work directly with us if there are issues. Otherwise, the best option is definitely to redeem the card online by scratching off the code on the card and entering it here. By redeeming the cards online, you’ll be able to check their status and find out if the athlete has signed and approximately when the cards shipped. Redeeming the cards over the phone is a practice more for those who don’t have internet access.”
Ask Upper Deck: What is a NPN? I hear people talking about it, but I don’t know where it is on your site or how to get involved.
Nick Leslie: “NPN stands for ‘No Purchase Necessary’ and it is a program we have been doing for a number of years now where fans can enter a drawing for an insert card from new Upper Deck products. We allocate a small amount of each product to offer up to fans through these NPN drawings. Entries are limited to one entry, per person, per household. To take part, just click here and only winners will be contacted through mail with the insert card they won.”
Ask Upper Deck: Where can I find the most up to date release dates for new Upper Deck products?
Nick Leslie: “We are in the process of revamping our website and we are hoping to launch the updated version in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we can quickly and easily update release dates on the Upper Deck Facebook page located here.”