BAYKO Advertising History

It's easy to forget that advertising isn't a 21st century invention, it goes back centuries, and BAYKO, like every other product, in the middle third of the 20th century, needed to be advertised.
Unusually, the first advert mentioning BAYKO was actually a joint trade advert with BRITISH BAKELITE, the firm which originally supplied raw materials to Plimpton Engineering…
Extending the theme into the 1950s, a similar arrangement was made with BRITISH RESIN PRODUCTS, suppliers, to Plimpton, of STYRON, the [then] modern material to which they had switched…
This actually says much about BAYKO's innovative leadership status, and the high regard in which it was held across the British toy industry.
The first 'pure' BAYKO advertisement [right] was a half page affair in 'Games and Toys', which was the leading publication supporting the U.K. toy trade.
Photo of the first ever BAYKO advert in the February edition of Games and Toys
The advert appeared in the February, 1935 edition, as Plimpton pushed for nationwide coverage.
The February edition was the key issue every year as toy manufacturers sought to generate interest for the B.I.F. [the British Industry Fair] in which there was a large toy section.
The B.I.F., in its turn, was a major vehicle for the British toy industry to show the toy retailers what was available as both sides of the trade [not forgetting exporters] prepared for Christmas!
As is clearly visible in the middle, the advert was placed by Berwick's Toy Company Limited, BAYKO's first distributor. The use of such distributors by new companies was the norm at the time, and can still be seen today.
As is still common practice today, the advert was supported, on page 170 of the same edition, by a short 'puff' - a short article introducing toy retailers to the merits of BAYKO.
Further adverts appeared in 'Games and Toys', again in the February issue, in 1936, 1937 and 1938. I believe, but can't actually prove, that the timing was to align with the dates of the subsequent British Industries Fairs.
The first BAYKO advert in the MECCANO MAGAZINE which appeared in the September, 1935 issue.
As far as I have been able to establish, Berwick's, on Plimpton's behalf, began their marketing campaign to the wider British public with a BAYKO advert in the 'MECCANO Magazine'.
The advert [left] appeared in the 'MECCANO Magazine' in the September, 1935 issue, in the toy trade's preparation run up to Christmas.
That year's campaign continued with three further adverts, running BAYKO's awareness campaign right through to the to December issue.
Berwick's campaign continued, though a little less intensely, for the next two years, with further half-page BAYKO adverts appearing in the 'MECCANO Magazine', in both the November and December issues, 1936, and full pages in the same two months in 1937.
Perhaps a little surprisingly, these were the last adverts BAYKO adverts to appear in the 'MECCANO Magazine' before the war, though there was 'forget-me-not' advertising during the war.
Fred Rogerson of Berwick's persuaded C.B. Plimpton to bring BAYKO's marketing in house and was himself recruited some time during 1938.
Berwick break announcement, Games and Toys, May, 1939.
The final break with Berwick's was heralded in 'Games and Toys' in the 1939, May and June editions in…
This, perhaps, precipitated the announcement in the last of those adverts, that Berwick's would not be attending the B.I.F. next year! Eventually young Adolph pre-empted this decision!!!
I can only assume that Fred used his budget, now presumably fatter without Berwick's fees, fairly aggressively as the frequency of BAYKO advertising gradually increased after this, with further adverts in 1939, September and October and May, June and September, 1940.
Rather surprisingly, from June, 1941 onwards, 'Games and Toys' was graced with a BAYKO advert every month - classified advert sized - throughout the war…
…got to keep the BAYKO name up there!
One of the few mid-war adverts in Games and Toys - December, 1941
Wartime shortages affected printing in terms of shortage of both paper and printing plates, resulting in long term contracts for classified ad sized adverts from June, 1941. This approach lasted until well beyond the end of the war.
The first large, postwar advert in Games and Toys, May, 1947.
There were exceptions to this pattern, perhaps offered by 'Games and Toys' on some form of rotation system, when additional larger adverts also appeared…
…the first of these was in 2 colours in December, 1941.
Another large advert appeared in May, 1942, informing frustrated retailers of the day that BAYKO will be supplied to them “as soon as victory is won”.
Again, in July, 1943, another large advert appeared, though this time with the slightly less gung ho message that BAYKO will be in normal supply after the war”.
The first large post-war advert appeared in 'Games and Toys' in May, 1947 [right], presumably as raw material shortages began to slacken…
…unfortunately it gave no product details, which is a shame, when you consider just how rapidly BAYKO was developing at that time.
BAYKO also regularly advertised in two other toy trade publications : -
The BAYKO relaunch in MECCANO MAGAZINE, May, 1949
Regular post-war advertising to the general public in the 'MECCANO Magazine' only began as late as May, 1949 [left], fully 2 years after the trade was given the message.
The first, post-war, full page advert in MECCANO MAGAZINE
It may well be that Plimpton could sell everything the restricted supply of raw materials allowed them to make before that.
The association with the 'MECCANO Magazine' subsequently survived, pretty well unbroken, right through to the MECCANO takeover and, surprisingly less enthusiastically, up to the start of BAYKO's death throes in early 1964.
Initially adverts were a mere quarter page…
…until January, 1951 when the size was doubled…
…BAYKO then went full page size in 1953 [right].
Subsequently, BAYKO's declining sales led to a temporary reduction back to half page adverts in January, 1959.
Immediately before the MECCANO takeover there was an interesting departure, with Plimpton arranging joint adverts with British Resin Products, a key raw material supplier…
Almost the last of the Plimpton era adverts in MECCANO MAGAZINE, April, 1960
The first MECCANO era advert in the MECCANO MAGAZINE, September, 1960
The death throes of Plimpton, and the trauma of the MECCANO takeover, were reflected in the absence of any adverts 'MECCANO Magazine' for the first three months of 1960. This strikes me as being another example of Mr MECCANO's myopia!
The final advertisements which utilised Plimpton era artwork appeared in April [left] and May, 1960, though, cryptically, in both cases, there was no mention of either Plimpton or MECCANO in these adverts.
This confusion was further reflected in a confused BAYKO Flier, and a similarly confused Brochure, from the same period : -
MECCANO finally advertised their ownership of BAYKO and launched their remodelled product in September, 1960 with the advert seen to the right here.
MECCANO, rather belatedly, began to demonstrate their 'good intentions' towards BAYKO by two interesting 'MECCANO Magazine' initiatives.
First page of 'The TOYMAN' article from the November, 1961 edition of the MECCANO MAGAZINE
These are not actually adverts, but were never-the-less clearly intended to boost awareness of the merits of BAYKO.
Architect article from MECCANO MAGAZINE, September, 1963
Firstly - the ‘Toyman’ articles : -
These often featured BAYKO buildings, drawing children's minds to the wider play possibilities of BAYKO models beyond the construction phase.
Left, is an example from November, 1961
Secondly the ‘Architect’ articles : -
These began 6 months before BAYKO's death throes, running from July, 1963 to May, 1964 - the last being a month or so after all marketing had stopped! An example can be seen to the right.
During BAYKO's heyday in the 1950s the advertising onslaught was broadened beyond the exclusively hobby based press.
Adverts, many of which were produced by C. Vernon & Sons of Rodney Street, Liverpool, appeared in various children's comics. So far I have found no less than seven sources of adverts : -
My first EAGLE BAYKO advert, it's from an undated Christmas advertising supplement
The first advert from GIRL comic, from the November 12th, 1960 issue
Parents were subjected to more than the pester power pressure from above, but were directly targeted through local and regional newspapers.
BAYKO advert from the Liverpool Echo, Friday, December 9th, 1955 - page 6
So far I've drawn a blank with national newspapers and the only English regional paper I've found adverts in is BAYKO's home town paper, 'The Liverpool Echo'.
BAYKO advert from the Macclesfield Times and Courier, Wednesday, November 26th, 1952 - page 6
By contrast, Local Rags - perhaps slightly more respectfully referred to as small town newspapers - seem to be a much happier hunting ground for BAYKO adverts, or, more frequently, adverts for local toy shops which have the good sense to mention BAYKO as part of their offering! Sometimes, strategically, these were coordinated.
If you can't find adverts from newspapers which are local to you…
…perhaps you could help swell the ranks of BAYKO adverts?
You never know what other local trivia [or diamonds?] you may unearth in the bowels of the archives, and, who knows, you might even enjoy the experience! As long as it doesn't tempt you away from the one true [toy] religion!
The more observant among you may well have noticed that, thus far, all the above references have been restricted to English papers.
BAYKO advert and associated classified adverts from the Daily Record on November 27th, 1959
Geography, and environmental constraints, inevitably mean that my opportunities to unearth BAYKO newspaper adverts elsewhere are limited…
General MECCANO advert, which includes BAYKO, from the December 7th, 1962 issue of the Glasgow Evening Times
…can you help?…
…but a visit to the Mitchell Library in Glasgow has provided me with several Scottish examples.
I have been able to discover BAYKO adverts - or toy shop adverts which specifically mention the world's finest construction toy - in two Scottish publications…
…The 'Daily Record', [left] which is a national newspaper north of the border…
…and the 'Glasgow Evening Times', [right] a local evening paper.
Not surprisingly Scottish BAYKO adverts were similar to their English counterparts, as was the policy of tagging classified sized adverts for local BAYKO distributors - toy shops or department store toy departments - below, or alongside, the main BAYKO advert.
I've now visited Wrexham, so that Wales is included…
So come on Belfast, Douglas, Hugh Town, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Llangefni, Saint Anne, Saint Hellier, Saint Mary's, Saint Peter Port, Stornoway…
…why not help broaden the coverage.
I have been reliably informed that there were also BAYKO adverts shown in slots on the [then] newly launched commercial TV in the 1950s, though, unfortunately, nothing has survived - or do you know better?
If you've more info on BAYKO adverts, in whatever medium or area, I really would love to hear from you…
I've now also got evidence of BAYKO Cinema Advertising - at least in Australia…
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.

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Latest update - August 10, 2022
The BAYKO name and Logo are the Registered Trade Mark of Transport of Delight.