Just a random thought after another disappointing box...
What would it take to make an average collector feel better about breaking a box that does not contain great "hits"? We have been conditioned to think of a box as 2-4 desirable cards (why we buy the box...for the hits) and a bunch of "worthless" base/inserts/parallels that end up in a box or worse. How can the companies make the non-hits more desirable? They cannot simply add lots of low-numbered cards to each box...the number of boxes produced won't allow it. But what if there was a way to make inserts more valuable without any added cost to the company?
2011 Product A has a 10-card insert set, star players, each one numbered to 100. (1000 cards total)
A collector who collects all 10 inserts can send them in to be redeemed for some sort of appropriate prize (autograph).
After a set amount of time, the redemption period ends, and the company announces how many 10 card sets were redeemed. Lets say that 25 sets were redeemed. That means that in theory, there are only 75 of each card now left either in collections or unopened.
Now here is where it gets good:
2012 Product A adds 10 more cards to the insert set. The redemption contest re-opens, with 2 options. Turn in all 10 of the 2012 set for a prize similar to last year, OR turn in all 20 (from 2011 and 2012) for a better prize. The 2011 inserts are now more valuable and more scarce.
Sure, it is a complicated concept and there are a lot of problems I am sure. But, what if this concept was applied in a different way???
Let's say Company A put out crappy Product A in 2009. They cannot sell what they have left in stock, and the stores/online retailers have it on sale but nobody is buying. Company A announces a redemption contest just like above for a random insert set in that 2009 product. Now all of a sudden, your junk box of inserts is worth a look through because you might have one, the online stores/shops see a bit more interest, and the company can reduce inventory of something that otherwise would not sell.
This is similar to what happens naturally if a player becomes a big star and their rookie product jumps in price, but in this case the company can CONTROL which products will increase in value.