As Wrenn started to market their new Formula 152 Model Motor Racing products during 1960, some simple typeset pre-launch advertisements started to appear in the modelling press, initially these featured in the ‘Railway Modeller’ monthly magazine. These appeared in the April to August issues, so please use the link www.wrennrailways.org.uk to a website for details of them. Then Wrenn had their first Formula 152 launch adverts designed which appeared in both the ‘Railway Modeller’ and the ‘Model Maker’ magazines from September onwards, in the run up to Christmas. Wrenn took the decision to have their own full and half-page adverts designed with new artworks and in the UK Wrenn originally launched with full page adverts in both of these two magazines. In fact Wrenn placed almost continual adverts in the ‘Model Maker’ and the subsequent ‘Model Maker & Model Cars’ magazines from September 1960 until the January 1964 issue, seemingly only missing the June 1962 issue in this run, for some unknown reason.
An interesting point to note about Wrenn’s own advertisement artworks is that originally the adverts included the circular central part of the roundel badge, with the single racing car. A later addition to the adverts was the inclusion of the original Wrenn ‘W’ logo, which was composed of two railway track points and obviously designed for their model railway products. Then after April 1962, Wrenn updated the roundel to include the ‘Wrenn formula 152′ text and the ‘laurel leaves’ within the circular band to complete the badge as was used on their Formula 152 literature and cartons.
When the ‘Model Roads and Racing’ magazine was launched, in October 1963, Wrenn also placed regular adverts right up to the final issue in December 1964, when the magazine was re-launched as ‘Miniature Autoworld’ in January 1965. Wrenn did not advertise at all within this magazine nor surprisingly either in the new ‘Model Cars’ magazine that was launched with the April 1964 issue.
Gradually model shops started to include Wrenn 152 as a featured product in their advertisements and The Model Shop in Harrow was the first retailer to include Wrenn 152. They actually took out a full page advert in the January 1961 issue of the ‘Model Maker’ magazine listing all of their new slot racing sets and products with comparative prices. The new Wrenn Formula 152 was featured alongside Scalextric, SRM, Playcraft and the 1/32 scale cars from MRRC and HO ones from Aurora. They also stated that they would be attending the 2nd Annual Racing Car Show with all of the above listed products and Wrenn actually took a full page advertisement in this event’s programme. So that would have been a great boost to Wrenn’s launch marketing prior to the up-and-coming Brighton Toy Fair.
Finisters of Coventry quickly followed with advertising featuring Wrenn 152 and they were certainly privileged to have been given access to a photo of one of the large factory-built portable layouts for insertion within their trade advertisements. Unfortunately they did reverse this photo in some advertisements which the more eagle-eyed viewers could see. More and more model and hobby shops started to stock and advertise Wrenn 152 in the modelling press but it is probably impossible to attempt to collate a comprehensive list that includes all of them.
Wrenn also decided to advertise in some selected motor racing periodicals of the time, such as the monthly ‘Motor Sport’ and weekly ‘The Motor’ magazines, in order to broaden their market place. These adverts ranged from half page to quarter page inserts, probably due to the higher cost constraints. Wrenn did continue to place regular advertisements in the modelling press up to the end of 1964 when the December issue of ‘Model Roads and Racing’ featured the last Wrenn 152 advert until two isolated ones appeared around Christmas time 1966. Wrenn even advertised sporadically in the ‘Meccano Magazine’.
By 1965 it is interesting to see the gradual decline of Wrenn 152 in the modelling press and their appearance in retailer’s adverts reduced. Using Beatties of London as an example, who did stock all of Wrenn’s products at the beginning of the year, by mid-year they then just stocked ‘cars and spares’, finishing the year without any mention of Wrenn at all. By 1966 there were only two mentions of Wrenn in dealer’s adverts (The Model Shop – Stockport and Eddy & Sons – Helston) but these were probably their ‘standard’ adverts which had been used for a number of previous months or even years so cannot really be relied upon, although they may well have still carried some stock on their shelves.
The final advert that Wrenn placed for their Formula 152 products appeared in the November 1966 issue of ‘Model Cars’ and was repeated in the January 1967 issue of the ‘Miniature Auto’ magazine. This was a half page advert, tucked away at the back of the magazine, with an ‘introductory offer’ advertising the last three special, discounted sets and with that, Wrenn Formula 152 ceased to be advertised.