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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Simples Rewards

Not too long ago, I was blogging about those great mail-away offers from my youth.  I'm talking about the things like flag points on the back of G.I. Joe toys, where you'd collect the points, send them off with a cheque for $3.99 shipping and handling, and you get an exclusive action figure.  In that blog entry, I was lamenting that there doesn't seem to be anything similar these days for grown-ups.  But then, I kind of realized that there is something similar out there, in the form of all those corporate rewards programs. 

If you listen to my podcast, then you'll know that in the past few episodes, I've been fondly reminiscing about the near-forgotten early-80s Disney superhero film Condorman.  It all came about because Condorman made a very surprising cameo in the Pixar short film Small Fry.  As my mind goes back to this classic from my childhood, we eventually come to a conundrum.  I want to get it on DVD.

Turns out that's quite a problem.  Back in the late-1990s, when DVD was new and exciting, Disney actually farmed out some of their late-70s/early-80s films to a DVD company called Anchor Bay.  However, when it turned out that DVD was going to become a thing and became the fastest-growing home media format ever, Disney reclaimed a lot of their titles.  So, the Anchor Bay edition of Condorman has been out-of-print for around 10 years and goes for big money on eBay.  I'd like to see the film, but I don't want to pay big money.  So, I started googling to find my other options.

In my search, I discovered that Disney has a movie club, much like Columbia House of old.  You can buy all kinds of Disney DVDs direct from the company.  Now, what really sweetened the pot was that the Disney Movie Club has a whole bunch of exclusives...DVDs that they only sell through their movie club.  Perusing their movie club exclusives, I found several titles where I was amazed that they would limit their distribution like this.  I found films like:


Now, as tempting as it was to sign up for the Disney Movie Club, get my 6 DVDs for 99¢ and finally have Condorman, the truth was I went through a Columbia House phase in my teens and I'm wary to go back.  I still remember how their whole "negative billing" thing works, and before you know it, I forget to send back the little card, and now I'm stuck with several dozen Good Luck Charlie DVDs.  So Disney Movie Club is out.

As I continued my online search, I eventually found that Disney has a rewards program in place, Disney Movie Rewards.  I had been familiar with this for a while.  Every Disney DVD and Blu-Ray comes with a code.  You punch in the code at the website, you get points, and you then redeem the points for merch.  Fairly basic rewards program.  So I started taking a look at all the various knick-knacks you can redeem your points for.  They've have the usual stuff, and they have DVDs...and they have a few Disney Movie Club exclusive DVDs available.

Including Condorman.  Bing!

I could get Condorman for free!  So, I grabbed all my Disney DVDs off the shelves, started punching in all that Disney Movie Rewards codes I could find, and lo and behold, I had enough for Condorman.  So my order has been placed and Condorman should be arriving in 6 to 8 weeks.

And there you have it.  Turns out all those great mail-away exclusives of my childhood still exist, they've just grown up and gotten themselves a fancy name like a rewards program.  I can still redeem my flag points and get my exclusives, just like I did when I was 8.  I don't have to grow up at all!

But maybe a little growing up wouldn't hurt.  I also learned from this that I probably have more Disney DVDs than a single guy approaching middle age should probably have.   

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