Saturday, January 21, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads: The Heddon River Runt Spook Part I (1933)

The River Runt Spook (part 1)
The following advertisement is from the April 1933 issue of Outdoor Life. It is a small ad for the new family of "Fish Flesh" baits. As we have mentioned before in this column, the term "Fish Flesh" was dropped a couple of years later in favor of the name "Spook" (seen here in smaller print) for Heddon's transparent plastic line of baits.

 What is remarkable about this ad is that one has to look very carefully for any mention of the River Runt Spook. It is obvious that this was not the bait that they expected to become the best selling bait in their line. The "New Products for 1933" brochure that was sent out to dealers in the fall of 1932 makes no mention of the River Runt Spook among their line of new plastic lures. One must search hard in the 1933 Heddon catalog to find mention of the River Runt Spook and you will find no illustration of the lure there. There is a notice that the bait was "perfected as we went to press" but it is not given any sort of a promotional build up. Only the standard sinking model is available. 
One sees this occasionally in older ads where a company expected great things from a "new" lure and little success followed, but they were taken completely by surprise by the success of a lure they felt would be an "also ran." Seldom has any company been as wrong as in this case. The River Runt Spook was slow to catch on but as we will see next week when success did come it was beyond all expectations! 

-- Bill Sonnett

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