Promotional Smurfs are probably the most interesting smurfs to collect. Promotional Smurfs were made to promote a company or organisation. Some were licensed and some were not but that is what makes them so interesting to collect.
Regular Smurfs, Super Smurfs and Smurfs on pedestals have all been used as Promotional Smurfs. However it has been prominently been regular Smurfs.
Companies that have had Promotional Smurfs made for them include BP, McDonalds, Omo, Merkur Bank, Colgate, Schimmel Pianos, Schonwald Smurfs on pedestals and others.
Organisations that have had also used Promotional Smurfs made for them include Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (German Red Cross), ASB – Arbeiter Samariter Bund (Workers Samaritan Federation) and others.
Quite often a Promotional Smurf was made using an existing mould and sometimes by adding a colour variation or adding different attachment to promote the company/organisation. This was particularly the case in the ones made in the 1980’s. Also generally these were released individually.
In the 1990’s fewer Promotional Smurfs were made, though for some of these new moulds were made. Also in the 1990’s we saw whole sets of Promotional Smurfs released.
Probably the most well known ones released in the 1990’s were produced by McDonalds in 1996 and 1998 upon where each smurf had a “M” symbol embossed onto the back of their head.
The good thing Promotional Smurfs are still being made today. However not to the same degree as in the 1980’s when Promotional Smurfs were at their peak.
Last year Schleich released three smurfs, to celebrate the 2014 World Cup Soccer. Two are based on New Soccer Smurf (20454) painted in the colours of Belgium and Holland also a Devil Smurf (20213).
There has always been some debate about some Promotional Smurfs and whether they are authorised or unauthorised. The lack of official records also adds to the confusion. However with the release of collector books and online forums/shops have helped overcome this as best as they can.
For me one of the things that makes Promotional Smurfs interesting is learning about the company or organisation. This always creates a point of interest and conversation for those who are not familiar with smurfs.
Some collectors also find that by specialising in only collecting Promotional Smurfs can be very satisfying and in a way of having a collection within a collection.
Another reason why Promotional Smurfs have always been highly collectible is that for some there were only limited numbers produced or were only released in a particular country. This can result in pushing up the prices and creating some very sought after smurfs.
There are many different promotional Smurfs to collect, a few of them are listed here.
Keep on Smurfin