Beatle Booster Button
Updated: Mar 27
On December 23, 1963, Paul Russell, National Album Merchandising Manager for Capitol Records, sent out a memo for sales managers and regional managers. He outlined the promotional aspect of the initial "Beatles Campaign" idea. One part of the campaign was the distribution of Beatles' "booster buttons."
Capitol Records had authorized Kenmar Sales Inc. out of Los Angeles to manufacture these buttons, using a design from Snapix, another button manufacturer out of Hollywood, CA.
The memo read: "'BE A BEATLE BOOSTER" BUTTONS' - Shortly after the first of the year, you'll have bulk quantities of a unique see-through plastic pin-on button. Inserted in each button is a shot of the Beatles, with each boy identified. What to do with the buttons? First, have all of your sales staff wear one. Second, offer them to clerks and jocks. Third, arrange for radio station give-always of the buttons. Fourth, keep some in reserve for the requirement which will be listed below under 'Tabloid.'"
A few weeks later, on February 21, 1964, Green Duck Metal Stamping Company was granted a license by Seltaeb (the U.S. Beatles merchandising company) to make official Beatles buttons in the U.S.
Worried about legal issues, Capitol stopped the distribution of their Kenmar buttons but shunned marketing Green Duck's button.
Snapix tested the license manufacturing rights and continued with the Capitol button design by manufacturing their own Beatle button, using a different image on their celluloid piece. They advertised these buttons in Spring 1964 in various teen magazines.
As expected, the Green Duck Company threatened legal action. Snapix stopped their Beatles button campaign, defending their action by noting (from their own research) that because their market license was so limited, "it was not worth the effort to obtain a license."