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Die-cut Trade Cards

Because companies strove for brand recognition through their advertising, they often emphasized packaging on trade cards. Making a whole card resemble the package of a product, including die-cutting it to mimic the outline of the container’s shape, was the ultimate way of accomplishing this goal.

When potential customers held the card, they essentially held the product; they could easily examine the packaging, and they were likely to remember it when they saw the real version at the grocery store. To guarantee that this happened, Church and Company not only made their trade card for baking soda into a replica of its box but also reminded viewers “to buy it in ‘pound or half pound packages’ which bear our name and trademark as inferior goods are sometimes substituted for the ‘Arm & Hammer’ brand when bought in bulk.”

Church & Co. (New York), Arm & Hammer Brand Soda, after 1885.
Chromolithographed trade card, (4 7/8 x 4 in).

Heinz also wanted consumers to know what to look for when shopping. Their card resembled “our regular family packing … in neat and attractive stone crocks.” They cautioned potential buyers to “see that our trade mark is on the package and then you know that it is safe to buy.” Viewers had no chance of forgetting Heinz’s horizontal green pickle—the logo was reproduced on the front and back of the trade card four times.


H. J. Heinz Co. (Pittsburgh, PA), Preserved Fruits, c. 1900.
Chromolithographed trade card, (3 ¼ x 2 7/8 in).



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