#GenuineHeroes: How Upper Deck is Honoring Frontline Workers During the Pandemic

Chris Carlin, head, customer experience, Upper Deck, talks with License Global about the trading card company’s #GenuineHeroes program.
James Dohnert

April 23, 2020


Everyday citizens are being asked to take on new challenges for their community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. From grocery store workers to nurses and community activists, millions of Americans have genuinely become essential to maintaining the health and safety of their neighbors. In a bid to honor the people at the forefront of the pandemic, Upper Deck has released a collection of COVID-19 Genuine Heroes cards aimed at highlighting the brave efforts of workers across the vocational spectrum.

The new collection comes as an extension of Upper Deck’s annual Genuine Heroes trading card sets that started in the Goodwin Champions product back in 2018. In the past, Upper Deck has spotlighted individuals in the military and public service sectors. In the face of the pandemic and the disruption it has caused to traditional sports, the trading card company decided to pivot the program to the individuals helping their communities today.

When this pandemic hit, we pivoted knowing sports would

be on pause for a bit, and we wanted to shine a light on those making a difference in the midst of this crisis, the everyday heroes,” says Chris Carlin, head, customer experience, Upper Deck


 “We have been really excited about the response, and those we are honoring have been very humbled.”

Upper Deck is currently accepting submissions as part of the series. The company asks that the public nominates COVID-19 heroes by sharing a high-resolution image of the hero on social media and tagging Upper Deck on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #GenuineHeroes.

Once submitted, Upper Deck will go through the nominations and create digital cards of the heroes that can be shared across social media channels. Each of the recipients will also receive an oversized version of their card for personal use. Upper Deck is considering a potential physical launch of the decks with a charitable aspect as well.

“We are still exploring if a mainstream release makes sense, but if we did that, we would want to make sure thatproceeds go to a charity tied to those affected by the disease,” adds Carlin. “We continue to look at what would be best with this regard each day.”

Overall, the initial response to the campaign has been strong, with cards being shared across social channels. Upper Deck and Carlin say they are glad that the program is spreading hope and positivity during these uncertain times.

There is so much doom and gloom out there, I’m really happy this story has been able to provide hope and inspiration to our fans,” says Carlin. “And again, those who we are profiling are really humbled. They don’t feel they deserve the honor, but they are always blown away to see themselves on an Upper Deck trading card.”

If you would like to nominate someone for the Genuine Heroes collection, share a high-resolution image of a nominee on social media by tagging Upper Deck on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #GenuineHeroes.

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