Trade cards as commercial promotional material.
Indeed, the use of trade cards, also named chromos, as commercial promotional material gained popularity in Paris around 1850. Aristide Boucicaut, the founder of the department store "Au Bon Marché," came up with the idea of attracting children by offering them colorful prints as promotional items. This concept proved to be highly successful. Soon, other Parisian department stores followed suit, and chromos were printed for various establishments such as "la belle jardinière" and "la galerie lafayette," as well as many smaller retail outlets.
As the industrial revolution progressed, new products emerged that required marketing and promotion. This included concentrated milk, chocolate, meat stock, soups, chicory, and a wide range of other goods. Chromos quickly became the preferred advertising material to promote these products. Retailers, both small and large, rewarded their loyal customers with chromos. These chromos would either directly depict the specific product, such as in the case of Suchard chocolate, or they would be publisher's chromos with a promotional mention on the back.
Chromos served as a form of advertising that appealed to both children and adults. They were collected, traded, and displayed, further increasing the visibility of the products and stores. The colorful and detailed chromos attracted attention and were considered valuable collectibles.
Overall, chromos played a significant role in the early development of commercial advertising and promotion. They helped create brand awareness and stimulated the sale of various products during a period of emerging consumer culture and expanding trade activities.