The Phantom Movie trading cards were released by ‘The Laughing Cow’ cheese company in Sweden in 1996.
In 1865, Jules Bel began his cheese company in the Jura region of France. His son, Leon Bel took over the business in 1904 and in 1921 trademarked the company – The Laughing Cow.
In 1929 the company expanded to England; Belgium in 1933, then in 1970 ‘The Bel Group’ purchased the Avalon Cheese plant in Leitchfield, Kentucky USA. In 1974 the Leitchfield, KY plant began making the famous Laughing Cow soft cheese wedges.
The Laughing Cow markets it’s cheeses in more than 130 countries, has 32 worldwide production sites and 12,600 employees. In 2017, 6 million servings of The Laughing Cow cheese were produced and 19 billion in 2018. It serves over 450 million consumers per year and in 2018 its retail sales were 3.3 billion Euros. The Bel Group’s Corporate Headquarters is now in Chicago, ILL, USA.
The Laughing Cow trading card set contains 12 cards, depicting images from the 1996 Phantom movie (featuring Billy Zane and Kristy Swanson) and also Fantomen comic book cover art. Two cards were found per cheese pack with the companies logo present on the front of each card.
We also see the Phantom’s image on the container lid housing the cheese wedges within and 2 complimentary Phantom trading cards.
The Laughing Cow/The Bel Group, known as ‘Den Skrattande Kon’ in Sweden or ‘La Vache Qui Rit’ in France, began a very successful marketing strategy throughout Europe in the early to mid-1990’s. It’s packaged cheese wedges offered a free gift in the form of a range of collectible trading cards.
Each container lid advertised the specific series and the number of cards to collect. One or two paper trading cards, measuring 2.75” x 2” came per package. These collectible card series ranged from Batman to Disney, Star Wars to Spiderman, Olympics to the Phantom in 1996; tying in with the release of the Paramount movie. We see a sample of these lids below.
Today, collectors throughout Europe are constantly chasing particular lids, unused labels and/or card sets. We see 2 examples of these sets below, DC’s Batman and Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Thank you Christopher Smith for assisting with images and information.