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National Benzole Smurf Campaign

1978-1982

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1977

The negotiations for the license of the smurfs started in 20th of September 1977 with
BP Netherlands( Customer), Peyo( Creator) and Schleich ( manufacturer).

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The person giving this story is Dorothy Selby-Boothroyd, editor at BP Shield for a while.
Here is a proof that she worked with the smurfs in London at that time.

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A pilot was run at 7 National Service Stations in the London Area between
November 1977 and February 1978. Cost for each figurine was 0.36p.

 

1978

Smurf Day was set to 20th of May 1978.

Launchpack sent out in April.

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So when they started they sold 10 different smurfs the large house in UK box and
also the garden playset. Then it had no number 1 on the front. You can also read
that the footballing smurf were in production and he was added during summer 1978.

Here is a picture of how it could look on the shelves on the launch day.

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I made a large closeup because you can see that the new Schleich Smurfette
made in 1977 was also sold in UK. Gardener, Mechanic, Guitar, Normal, Spy,
Drummer, Smurfette, Astro and Brainy on the mid shelf. Papa was also sold.

Names used by National is on the pictures above. Soccer got the name Striker.

For the holiday( July) 1978 they got new figurines. Striker was already added then.

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In summer 1978 you could also buy a "Showdrome" for the special price £29.50.

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For the winter new items were possible to get. Orders were possible in end of october.

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So at the end of 1978 you could have a display with all smurfs sold looking like this.

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One thing you could notice is that 30 smurfs had been released but only 29 are on the shelf.
This is because the Gardening smurf was removed when he bacame a Super Gardener Smurf instead.

Also both yellow scarf on Chimney and Sledder was made in late 1978. Probably sold
like that from the beginning. Notice also that the Postman with the Christmas envelope was the
first version in the UK.

 

1979

The year 1979 starts with the Valentine smurf. It is the Postman with a heart on the envelope.

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March gives you National Attendant with pump.

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March 1979 advert. Notice the attendant and valentine.

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April gave us the 6 UK Strikers made for the FA Cup 1979.

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May

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June

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July was Angeling Smurf for the course fishing season.

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The Super Motoring Smurf was sold in August.

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So in the end of Summer 1979 the poster looked like this.

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Here is a picture with all smurfs on the poster except swimmer and motoring smurf.

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In summer 1979 you could also get a lot of other smurf items.

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First time Brainy with yellow glasses is shown. :)

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Red Ball Striker

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Closeup on shop.

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Lots of other smurf items in this catalogue, but will continue with the PVC smurfs. :)

Some store pictures in closeup so not the best quality.

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Second half of 1979 gave us these smurfs.

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1980

Before 1980 only no smurfs made of Bully molds were sold in the UK.
All smurfs made for the UK were made by Schleich.

Here is an article from early 1980 when they had around 40 figurines for sale.

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National promissed 21 new smurfs for 1980 including the 10 sport supersmurfs for the Oilympics.

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Here is how the plan was for 1980.

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January gave us the Doctor.

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This also came in Spring 1980.

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And before the summer the oilympic sportsmurfs and torchbearer was sold.

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Here the oilympicstadium in colour. Not 100% correct boxes and smurfs though. :)

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Only one more supersmurf was added in 1980. Hobby Horse in Octorber.

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Only one more regular smurf was added in summer 1980. It was Cricket Smurf. Record says April?

Could be correct with April. Found this picture stored. :)

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Here is a poster for late 1980. 40 regular smurfs were possible to get.
This is the only poster I have seen with UK emblem Torch. Or Olympic as National called him.

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Last 5 though were sold in January 1981. And these were the supers on that poster.

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1981

During 1981 the smurfs made from Bullymolds got to the UK.

In January the Five Nation Rugby Smurfs were made for the start of the Rugby season. And these 3.

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Pierre sent me a picture of the Rugby Poster. Super nice. :)

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We still do not know exactly which teams were sold in this campaign until we find the advertisment. :(

Should be these 6, the All Black was also sold in UK.

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In Spring 1981 thirteen new smurfs were added to the smurf line.

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4 new super smurfs were sold during 1981.
Windsurfer( Spring), Photographer, Fireman( Summer) and Go-Kart( Autumn).

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After the 12 new regular smurfs sold during Spring 1981, another 12 new ones were sold.

First 6 during the summer and last 6 in Autumn( the OCT ones).

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So by the end of 1981 you could buy all these smurfs.

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1982

These could have been very late 1981 smurfs but most likely the first ones sold in 1982.

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New ones for April

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Advertisment for these.

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In June 1982 Coronet took over the distribution of smurf figurines from Schleich in the UK.
Already after the Oilympics in 1980 they had been involved in the Schleich smurfs.
And you can see their name on the leaflets from 1980 on.

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In summer 1982 these came.

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These were the last smurfs sold under the BP license and in the BP boxes.

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After these smurfs were sold Coronet took over and BP And National Benzole
had nothing to do with the smurf license anymore afaik.

Note that Coronet had been appointed sole distributor of smurf figurines and Schleich items!!

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You can also read that Coronet supplied the new Smurf and Super Smurf
Collectors Centres. Same as W Berrie used in the US.

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1983

After 1982 Schleich made no special BP boxes anymore. Coronet basicly sold everything that
was in the Schleich catalogues, as other countries, to the toystores.

In 1984 they made these great cards with the old large Smurf on the front.
Almost like the BP boxes. Maureen has one of these cards. Not sure if the pictures
are from the auction or from Maureen. Thanks anyway Maureen!! :)

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The only UK National Super Smurfs in boxes you can get are these.

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