Ode to the Special Introductory Offer


Who cut out a piece of my magazine!?

As part of my “research” if you will, I’ve been buying up a lot of old magazines and books to look through. One of the neat oddities with many of these purchases is the random page you come across that has a nice square cut right out of it. There you are reading a good article, you turn the page, and then realize part of the article is gone. Several of my old personal magazines suffered the same fate though. So today’s post is in memory of those little cut out pieces of magazine, the “special introductory offer”.

It seemed most apparent around the early 1980’s, but long before there was an online presence or multitudes of specialty tackle shops, good old snail mail was the way you got things done. So if you were an advertiser wanting to get new product into some angler’s hands, you added an incentive into your magazine advertisement. It was the dashed cutout that you filled in and mailed direct to the manufacturer, and in return for some small bit of money, they’d send you a couple of the new lures to try in the hottest local colors, perhaps a patch and their newest catalog, and if you were really lucky, maybe even a hat or a T-shirt.

I’m guessing many a tacklebox was started or at least added to in this way, and it was a simple and fun endeavor that allowed you to try a new bait without much out of pocket expense. I myself filled my tackle boxes at the time with Knight’s Tube Worms, Strike King products of all sorts, Bomber Model ‘A’  and Long ‘A’s, and naturalized Rebel crankbaits to just name a few, all courtesy of the ‘special introductory offer.’ The bigger question is why did manufacturers stop this marketing tactic? With the advent of the Internet, mobile hand-held devices and social media, it would be easier than ever to have people sign up and wire you a few bucks via PayPal or some other such means in order to get your newest product. Perhaps it’s just my old nostalgia kicking in. Regardless, I do miss those low cost offers.

While I could fill a post up with hundreds of pics from most every manufacturer of note from the time period, I’ll just include a couple more pics of such offers that I snapped this morning from the pages of some 1980 Bassmaster back issues. I’m guessing I’m not the only angler who misses these once prolific pieces of marketing goodness.


Producto purple worms with rattle chamber direct to your door!

Most all the Strike King lures in my box came via special offer.

Most all the Strike King lures in my box came via special offer.

Take your pick of which size Fliptail worm you'd like in this offer.

Take your pick of which size Fliptail worm you’d like in this offer.

  • Paul Wallace

    I was on Cotton Cordells program where they sent me a new lure every couple months and I suppose I sent them money?? Got my first Cordell Spot [rattle trap] that way in the late 70’s. Didn’t learn how deadly it was for a few years though. I’m sure I still have some patches from those mail-in-deals too. Also can’t forget the Sea Monkey and X-Ray glasses you could get in the back of Sports Afield and Outdoor Life mags…lol..It’s great fun looking through the old advertisments..

  • fish_food

    I totally remember clipping the forms, sending off $3-5 and waiting in eager anticipation for a lure sample, patch, catalog and trucker’s cap to show up. It was around the 1979 to early 80s timeframe–I was twelve years old.

    Some of the lures were a Rebel crawfish, Bomber’s Smilin’ Minnow, Daredevle spoon and Mann’s Leroy Brown + Crawfish cranks. I wish I still had that blue Bomber trucker cap!