Category Archives: New Products

You’re Never Too Old———70 Year-Old Retired Man “Getting Over Bout of Cancer” By Creating 1:6 Scale Miniature Dioramas For Fun and Profit

Mini dorama and display stand creator, Joe Hodge, mans his booth at Joelanta 2014. A quick glance at his products reveals superb craftsmanship. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Mini diorama and display stand creator, Joe Hodge, mans his booth at Joelanta 2014. A quick glance at his products reveals surprising and superb craftsmanship with myriad details. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Joe Hodge (70), stood with his hands on his hips, squinting with an inquisitive eye as he studied the crowd milling around him. He was behind his dealer’s table at Joelanta 2014, manning a booth full of his expertly assembled, hand-crafted, hand-painted and “ready-to-use” 1:6 scale miniature diorama scenes, all the while watching, waiting and wondering about the fans passing by.

“Hmm…This is a strange crowd,” he mumbled, to no one in particular.

Hodge knows crowds. He can read them like a book. He’s had a lifetime of experience selling to all sorts and sizes, from all around the country. After a stint in the Marine Corps, he worked over 40 years as a professional jacket embroiderer, creating custom-embroidered “show jackets” for owners and fans of collector cars and hot rods. He’d travel from one car show to another on the nation’s busy “car show circuit,” setting up huge dealer tents displaying an array of colorful jackets and then busily embroider elaborate designs of cars, logos and custom names, all made “while you wait.”

Nowadays, Hodge is supposed to be fully retired. But on this weekend, he’d decided to travel from his home in Fountain End, SC to attend the world’s famous Joelanta GIjOE and action figure show in Atlanta, GA, hoping as he said, “to earn a little spending money.” Joe also had some more “personal” reasons for being there. According to Hodge:

“I getting over a bout of cancer. I decided to start making these miniature 1:6 diorama scenes to keep my hands busy. The hardest thing about making ‘em is finding a reliable source of materials. I’m always looking for good wood, styrofoam and other supplies. Sure, I’ll go to Hobby Lobby for the basics, and sometimes I find things at florists and hardware stores, but it’s a challenge! But all it is, is a hobby. I’m not getting rich doing this.”

As I was about to walk away, Joe stuffed his business card into my hand and said, "Here's how to reach me. I don't have a website, and I doubt I ever will!" (Photo: Mark Otnes)

As I was about to walk away, Joe stuffed his business card into my hand and said, “Here’s how to reach me. I don’t have a website, and I doubt I ever will!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Intrigued by his story, I studied Hodges “stands” for a while longer and realized that they were ideal for anyone wanting to set up a mini-diorama scene that didn’t require much space on a display table or shelf. Imagine working days or weeks on a custom figure. What do you do with it then? Box it up? Put it in your attic? No! Either PLAY with the blasted thing or DISPLAY it proudly on one of Hodge’s excellent mini-diorama stands! Clearly sensing my thoughts, Hodge lamented today’s fans, saying:

People and kids today don’t want to PLAY with their toys anymore. But let me tell you—I’ve been playing with toy soldiers ever since I was a child—and I STILL play with ‘em!” 

Bottom Line: Joe’s work is top-notch. And his personal example is very inspirational. We’re thrilled to see someone of his age still actively connected with the fun and creativity of the 1:6 scale hobby. Hopefully in the future, there will be thousands of similar “toy soldier” fans still playing with and customizing their 1:6 scale action figures—well into their 80s, 90s and beyond! Finally, if you’d like to contact Joe to place an order, remember that he doesn’t have a website, so you’ll need to pick up the telephone and call him on his old-fashioned “land line.” Remember those, buck-o?

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FLASH!——— Hallmark Announces Surprise October Release of a “50th Anniversary (Action Soldier) G.I. Joe” Keepsake Ornament For Christmas 2014

This closeup of the upcoming (limited-edition) "50th Anniversary GIjOE" keepsake ornament by Hallmark measures approximately 4.5"h. We assume the Action Soldier box graphics continue all the way around. FANTASTIC! (Photo: Hallmark)

This closeup of the upcoming (limited-quantity) “50th Anniversary GIjOE” keepsake ornament by Hallmark measures approximately 4.5″h and should be available in stores in time for Christmas 2014. Although it cannot be determined from this early photo, we assume the Action Soldier box graphics continue all the way around. HOO-ah! Happy 50th, GIjOE! (Photo: Hallmark)

Limited-Edition Ornament Is Not Listed in 2014 Keepsake Catalog

It may seem somewhat early to be thinking about Christmas 2014, but in this case, a little foreknowledge may not be a bad thing. As you’re probably well aware, Hallmark releases its annual Christmas tree ornament selection into stores well before the holidays, and also sells them from a printed catalog and variety of websites. However, what you may not know is that a handful of special ornaments are produced every year that are NOT advertised in the company’s catalog, greatly limiting their quantities and public awareness of their existence.

In addition, Christmas tree ornament collecting has developed into a growing hobby of its own, with a dedicated cadre of followers that—similar to GIjOE fans—belong to a variety of online fan clubs, forums, voluntary e-mail lists and other such enthusiast groups encouraged by Hallmark and other ornament manufacturers. Fortunately (for us Joeheads), one such “ornament enthusiast” also happens to be an ardent GIjOE fan and collector. She’s The Joe Report’s own “ace” Field Reporter, Raquel Castro, who generously filed the following EXCLUSIVE REPORT with our news bureau:

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“This year, Hallmark is releasing a 50th Anniversary GIjOE ornament on Saturday, October 4th, during its ‘Debut Weekend.’ Unfortunately, it is classified as a ‘limited-edition’ ornament, which means that there will only be about 6 ornaments available—per store. If your readers want one, they will have to be at a Hallmark store bright and early on that day! It costs $19.95 and is at the most 4.5″h.”

I am a Keepsake Ornament Club (KOC) member, so I can check Hallmark’s members-only website and receive special emails and newsletters about items like this. I also check yulelog.com which is a great resource for Hallmark collectors.” —Raquel Castro

Bottom Line: Once again, our ever-expanding web of Field Reporters has come through with some very juicy and exclusive GIjOE-related intel. Our sincerest thanks to Raquel Castro for this exciting and informative update. Finally, here are a few photos of some upcoming (mass-produced) Hallmark ornaments that may also be of interest to 1:6 scale customizers and diorama builders. Enjoy!

The "Pretty Pink Trike" keepsake ornament measures approximately 3"l x 2.5"h x 1.5"w and would make an ideal decor item for a 1:6 scale Christmas diorama. Love that chrome! And yes, the wheels turn. (Photo: Hallmark)

The “Pretty Pink Trike” keepsake ornament measures approximately 3″l x 2.5″h x 1.5″w and would make an ideal decor item for a 1:6 scale Christmas tree diorama. Love that chrome! And yes, its wheels turn too. (Photo: Hallmark)

Measuring almost 3" in diameter, this light-n-sound mini "Simon" game would look great sitting on a 1:6 scale table between two Joes. FUN! (Photo: Hallmark)

Measuring almost 3″ in diameter, this light-n-sound mini “Simon” game would look great sitting on a 1:6 scale table between two Joes. FUN! (Photo: Hallmark)

Here's another great "vintage" era background item that would add a lot of fun to any 1:6 diorama. This TV ornament plays the Brady Bunch (and ONLY the Brady Bunch) 24/7. HA! With lights and sound, it measures 2.75" h x 3"w. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! (Photo: Hallmark)

Here’s another great vintage or Adventure Team-era background item that would add a lot of fun to any 1:6 diorama. This TV ornament lights up, plays the Brady Bunch theme song, and measures 2.75″ h x 3″w. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! Good item for a mini Joe room, game room, or bedroom dio! (Photo: Hallmark)

This 1942 Harley-Davidson "Liberator" motorcycle would look AMAZING as a background (tabletop) model in any 1:6 scale diorama. It die-cast metal with wheels that turn, and measures 2"h x 4"l. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Hallmark)

This 1942 Harley-Davidson “Liberator” motorcycle would look AMAZING as a background (bookcase or floor) model in any 1:6 scale diorama. It’s made of die-cast metal with wheels that turn, and measures 2″h x 4″l. VRROOOM! (Photo: Hallmark)

G.I. Joe Cosplayers Creating “Girls of the Finest” 2015 Calendars to Benefit “Wounded Warriors”

The world's most beautiful GIjOE/Cobra cosplayers will soon combine their considerable talents in an all-new 2015 calendar called, "Girls of the Finest." All proceeds will benefit the "Wounded Warriors Project." (Photo: The Finest)

The world’s most beautiful GIjOE/Cobra cosplayers are combining their considerable talents to create a 2015 calendar called “Girls of the Finest” to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project. (Photo: The Finest)

Actress/model, Veronica Orosco, strikes a pose as "The Baroness" in her cosplayer costume. Orosco and other beautiful "femme fatales" will soon grace the pages of a new 2015 GIjOE/Cobra cosplay calendar, proceeds of which will go to benefit the "Wounded Warriors Project." (Photo: Veronica Orosco)

Actress/model, Veronica Orosco, strikes a pose as “The Baroness” in her cosplayer costume. Orosco and other beautiful “femme fatales” will soon grace the pages of a new 2015 GIjOE/Cobra cosplay calendar, proceeds of which will go to benefit the “Wounded Warriors Project.” (Photo: Veronica Orosco)

Another Example of  How “The Power of Joe” Extends Far Beyond Personal Collecting

It’s a simple plan. Perhaps that’s why it’s proving so successful. GIjOE cosplayers from around the world are recruiting the most beautiful of their costumed forces to create a sexy, new “Girls of the Finest” calendar for 2015. They plan to sell the instant collectible to fans and collectors (who will immediately hang them in their Joe Rooms) and then donate all of the proceeds to the Wounded Warriors Project, a highly reputable charity organization dedicated to assisting injured U.S. military service members. We first heard of this superb example of “Joe karma” from actress and model, Veronica Orosco, herself a longtime fan and GIjOE cosplayer:

“Hello Mark, My name is Veronica Orosco, aka ‘The Baroness’ of the GI Joe Fighting 788th. If you’re unaware, the 788th is a regional garrison of ‘The FINEST‘ (the premier GIjOE/Cobra costuming club in the world). In honor of the 50th anniversary of GIjOE, all the different cosplayer garrisons across the US have decided to put together a limited-edition “Girls of the Finest” Calendar with all of the proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warriors Project. We’re very excited about this, and are trying to spread the word to as many different fan pages, groups, etc., to help us raise funds to get these calendars out to GIjOE fans! I am GIjOE proud and am very honored to be a part of this amazing calendar to benefit our nation’s Wounded Warriors!

What a GREAT idea! We had never heard of “The Finest” before (see their website HERE), but quickly discovered that its members are well-organized and making full and capable use of the power of the internet; utilizing social media, YouTube, and popular fundraising websites to create awareness and interest in their project. Take a look at the enjoyable, professional and humorous video created for their page on the indiegogo website HERE.

51oLm3PgDIL._SY300_Orosco went on to point out that fans could also visit a new page on Facebook set up exclusively for the 2015 calendar HERE and that The Finest further described the Wounded Warriors GIjOE/Cobra calendar fundraising project in a press release, stating:

“If you’re reading this, you’re probably a big fan of GIjOE. So are we! We’re the women behind the Girls of The Finest 2015 calendar. The 50th anniversary of GIjOE is here, and we wanted to do something special to celebrate this milestone. Trust us, this is no ordinary ‘pin-up’ calendar. We are passionate about the characters we portray and we want to reflect the passion of the GIjOE fandom. All of your favorite female characters (plus a few twists on classic characters) will be portrayed here—12 months of our amazing female coplayers photographed exclusively for this calendar.”

This recently released image proudly announced that the upcoming calendar project has already been fully funded. In addition to proceeds from the sale of the calendars, all additional funds collected on the indiegogo website will also go directly to the "Wounded Warriors Project" charity. (Photo: The Finest)

This recently released image proudly announced that the upcoming calendar project has already been fully funded. In addition to proceeds from the sale of the calendars, all additional funds collected on the indiegogo website will also go directly to the “Wounded Warriors Project” charity. (Photo: The Finest)

Bottom Line: This is another great example of how “The Power of Joe” is extending beyond mere personal collecting, helping others in need. Already funded and underway, the idea for the Girls of the Finest calendar is clearly a popular one (especially among fans and collectors of the 1980s RAH/Cobra line) and we see no reason why this method of fundraising can’t be repeated over and over again for other purposes (Hello, Cody Lane Foundation?). If you’re interested in picking up a copy while simultaneously contributing to the Wounded Warriors Project, go HERE and… Go, JOE!

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“Lucky Shot Scale Leather” Creating 1:6 Holster Rigs and Related Accessories for 12-inch G.I. Joes

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Lt. Colonel Aaron Luck, US Army (above), attended Joelanta 2014 and provided passersby with the rare opportunity to observe him while working, as he created actual examples of his superb 1:6 scale holster rigs and related miniature leather goods. Luck even brought his sewing machine along to stitch his tiny creations together as fans looked on in amazement. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This elaborate 4-gun rig really caught our eye. Look at all the perfect stitch work and complex assembly. Absolutely perfect! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This elaborate 4-gun rig really caught our eye. Look at all the perfect stitchwork and complex assembly. Absolutely perfect, Aaron! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Active-Duty Army Officer Stuns Joelanta Attendees With Live Sewing and Assembly Demonstrations

“Even I can do better than THAT!” —Aaron Luck

The more customizers we meet in this hobby, the more diversity we discover among their talents and creative use of materials and techniques. Indeed, if you search the “customizers” category here on The Joe Report, you’ll be rewarded with numerous articles on talented individuals, including a few dubbed as “masters of metal,” a “3D printing pioneer,” various traditional modelers working in styrene plastics, molds and resins, and even one amazing man working exclusively with wood and other “found” materials.

You may think we’ve covered them all. But as Yoda would say… “No. There is… ANOTHER.” Meet Lt. Col. Aaron Luck (active-duty, US Army). Aaron’s impressive military resume is about a mile long, but in brief (according to the LinkedIn website) Luck is currently serving as the “Deputy Chief of Combat Operations Division at Joint Space Operations Center,” and was educated at the “Naval Postgraduate School (and) United States Military Academy at West Point.” It’s not mentioned in his resume, but Luck also happens to be an avid GIjOE fan and collector, and in his spare time, enjoys creating 1:6 scale miniature leather goods—out of real leather—for use with 12-inch GIjOEs and related action figures. HOOah!

When he's not creating accessories for use with GIjOE and other 1:6 scale action figures, Luck is busy defending the United States of America. Here, Luck wears his "class A" US Army uniform during a ceremony held recently at the Joint Space Operations Command at Vandenberg AFB near Lompoc, CA. (Photo: Chad Miller)

As a real-life “GIjOE,” Luck proudly serves his country as an officer in the United States Army. Here, he’s shown wearing the Army’s impressive “class A” dress uniform at a ceremony held at the Joint Space Operations Command at Vandenberg AFB near Lompoc, CA. (Photo: Chad Miller)

A giant "Men of Honor" action figure customized into an oversized Air Commander (humorously) holds up a poster showing various gun rigs and other 1:6 creations offered from Aaron's "Lucky Shot Scale Leather." (Photo: Mark Otnes)

A giant “Men of Honor” action figure customized into an over-sized Air Adventurer (humorously) holds up a poster showing various gun rigs and other 1:6 creations offered by “Lucky Shot Scale Leather.” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

As I walked up to Luck’s dealer table at Joelanta 2014, he struck me as focused and methodical. At first, I thought he was repairing something, but then I learned he was busy CREATING something instead—a miniature 2-gun holster rig! Transfixed, I was soon joined by other fans, and we all continued to watch in rapt admiration as Aaron worked. I eventually saw that each tiny piece of (real) leather is cut out (by HAND), then carefully and skillfully stitched together using Aaron’s trusty, old-fashioned sewing machine. Finally, to finish each rig off properly, Luck carefully attaches tiny metal buckles and rings until the final 1:6 scale product looks completely realistic.

This unusual black double-rig is for a 1:6 scale "Jango Fett" Star Wars action figure. Luck created this outstanding accessory (from scratch)—during the first day of the show—in just under 4 hours. WOW!!!! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Luck created this unusual “Jango Fett” black double-rig (from scratch) during the first morning of Joelanta 2014. That’s EVERYTHING, cut, sewn, and buckled—in under FOUR hours! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

I asked Luck to comment on how he became interested in creating 1:6 holster rigs and he told me:

“About a year and a half ago, I was looking at that shoulder rig that came with the Mademoiselle Marie figure. While “serviceable,” it was bad enough that I immediately thought, ‘Even I can do better than THAT.’ So, I started making some of my own, posting pictures of the results on various GIjOE forums and Facebook. Other collectors liked what they saw and told me, ‘Hey those are great. Make me one!’ It spread from there. I just want to help other fans finish their figures!”

All of Luck's creations all completely handmade. Look at that unusual 4-gun righ on the leather-clad female spy in the foreground. And check out Bruce Willis' extended side-holster. AMAZING work! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Luck’s creations are all meticulously handmade and VERY correct. From left to right, a “cross-over’ 2-gun rig, another intricate 4-gun rig and Bruce Willis’ “Mare’s Laig” side-holster. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: How cool is this? In what other hobby can you get something hand-created for you by the Deputy Chief of Combat Operations Division at the Joint Space Operations Center? Just think about THAT, my fellow Joeheads! If you need to “finish a figure” and would like more information on Lucky Shot Scale Leather, you can contact Aaron directly via email HERE, visit his website HERE, or “like” him on Facebook HERE. We’d “like” to offer our own sincerest thanks and gratitude to Luck for his lengthy and illustrious military service and to his recent (and outstanding) contributions to the 1:6 scale collecting hobby. OOHrah! Go, Army! Go, Aaron!

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“Auto World” Slashes Prices on Captain Action

A recent press release from Auto World touts their current "Extreme Sale" on all things Captain Action. (Photo: Auto World)

An Auto World press release touting their current “Extreme Sale” on all things Captain Action.

Who wants to be a Superhero? No one more than ol' Captain Action himself, obviously! And one lucky superhero and action figure fan will have a chance to win the exact figure shown in the photo above. According to online 1:6 scale dealer, Patches of Pride, the company has recently announced that it is giving away the brand-new figure (over on its Facebook page) to celebrate an upcoming celebrity interview article to be published soon here on The Joe Report. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Who wants to be a Superhero? No one more than ol’ Captain Action himself! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Calling All Captain Action Fans!

You never know where the next great 1:6 scale deal will come from. This week, a bunch of them have popped up over at Auto World (see website HERE). Auto World continues to expand its inventory and reputation beyond selling simply die-cast cars and slot cars and has moved most recently into offering model kits, clothing, and yes, even action figures!

Normally, their pricing isn’t all that special, but for the moment, they’ve got our attention. All of the (new-ish) Round 2 Captain Action figures and uniform sets have been slashed in price during an aptly named, “Extreme Sale.” And while the prices are not “Walmart clearance cheap,” the deals they’re offering are very tempting. Take the deluxe CA figure, for example. It’s been marked down from $39.99 to $19.99! Anytime you can save $20 off a figure is a good deal in our book.

Bottom Line: If you haven’t “gotten your feet wet” collecting the new CA figures or costume sets yet, Auto World’s “Extreme Sale” may be just the money-saving opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Speaking from experience of ownership, we can heartily recommend ALL of the “deluxe” versions of Captain Action, Dr. Evil, Spiderman, Thor, Captain America and Loki. After that, the quality slips a bit, but put these costumes and masks on some of your unused GIjOE bodies and you have instant Marvel FUN. Excelsior! Let Justice be Done!

New “2-Minute Product Review” Video Provides a Hands-On, Closeup Examination of the Work of Filipino “Master of Metal,” Jonathan De Guzman

If you have a 1:6 scale cannabilistic serial killer you need to transport, what better way than with one of Jonathan's outstanding, all-metal human "dollies?" Don't forget the fava beans! (Photo: Jonathan De Guzman)

If you have a 1:6 scale cannibalistic serial killer you need to transport, what better way than with one of Jonathan’s outstanding, all-metal “Hand Trucks?” (Photo: Jonathan De Guzman)

At a time when Hasbro has decided to cease production of 1:6 scale GIjOEs, vehicles and related equipment, fans and collectors are increasingly turning to outside manufacturers, customizers, and other 1:6 scale-related businesses to satisfy their needs. At the top of anyone’s list of the “world’s greatest customizers” would have to be Jonathan De Guzman of the Philippines. De Guzman’s miniature metal works of art have quickly become the “gold-standard” against which all others are struggling to compare (see our in-depth profile on De Guzman HERE).

Remember, Jonathan’s work is 100% handmade, so his prices can seem high to a fandom used to the vacuum-formed plastic, mass-produced in China, economic scale of toy production. However, with less and less 1:6 scale product available, a growing number of collectors have shown they are willing to wait and save ($) for the undeniable honor of owning “a De Guzman Original.”

Bottom Line: The main problem for fans who are still “on the fence” about the cost, is that Jonathan doesn’t have a sophisticated website or catalog. Fortunately, a new “2-Minute Product Review” video recently produced by Patches of Pride provides collectors with a unique opportunity for a closeup “hands-on” look of one of De Guzman’s recent works, a 1:6 scale “Hand Truck.” After seeing the video, any concerns about the worth and quality of De Guzman’s custom creations are quickly laid to rest. Our rating of this product: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5 diamonds out of 5).

“G.I. Joe Coffee Company” Attempts Fundraiser on Indiegogo Website; Badly Mishandled Effort Fails

Talk about "mixed messages;" for some reason, the GIjOE Coffee Company felt "autographed photos" of unknown models in sexy costumes was an appropriate inducement for a recent fundraising effort. For a business that is purported to exist to help disabled veterans, the offers of clothing, sexy posters, and vacations surely confuses many. (Photo: GIjOE Coffee Company)

Sure, they’re pretty, but talk about sending “mixed messages” to your target market. WOW. For some reason, the GIjOE Coffee Company believed photographs, autographed by three unknown models (dressed in sexy, military-esque costumes) would be an effective and appropriate inducement for their recent fundraiser on the Indiegogo website. What the…? For a business that is purported to exist to help disabled veterans, incentive offers of clothing, posters, and even 4-day vacations to Costa Rica surely must’ve confused—and even deterred— many potential backers. (Photo: GIjOE Coffee Company)

This screenshot of GIjOE Coffee's fundraising "progress bar" reveals how far (sadly) the company fell short of its goal on the indiegogo website.

This screenshot of the GIjOE Coffee Company’s fundraising “progress bar” reveals it received pledges for only $610 of its $100,000 goal. OUCH! (Graphic: Indiegogo)

For Unknown Reasons, Company Still Failing to Reach Out to GIjOE Fans and Collectors

An online fundraising effort conducted by the GIjOE Coffee Company (GCC) fell predominantly onto deaf ears recently, largely due to the fact that the fledgling business completely misjudged its target market and demonstrated a stunning lack of common-sense during the campaign’s execution. In fact, the campaign was so poorly handled (see HERE) that the company’s goal of $100,000 fell embarrassingly short—with only $610 pledged!

One of the more appropriate message graphics utilized during GCC's recent fundraiser on Indiegogo. (Photo: The GIjOE Coffee Company)

One of the more appropriate message graphics utilized during GCC’s recent fundraiser on Indiegogo. (Photo: The GIjOE Coffee Company)

We’re not sure who advised the GCC on this particular promotion/fundraising boondoggle, but we do think they should seek out more experienced PR counsel before attempting such an event again. The negative publicity and potential public backlash created from such mishandled promotions is too great to risk happening again. Let’s examine specifically what went wrong, beginning with…

Ignoring Built-In Supporters Makes No “Cents”

For reasons known only to the GCC, the company continues to fail to reach out to the vast, worldwide fan-base and community of GIjOE, Action Man, and Geyperman collectors. Hello? We’re right HERE! And there are literally thousands of GIjOE-related websites, fan forums and blogs that the GCC should be communicating with on a daily basis, leaving posts, placing ads, etc.

This unique 180-degree "panorama" image of the dealer showroom of JoeCon 2013, shows the convention at its peak attendance. However, the picture does not clearly show how few dealers there were. While quality of goods was high, quantity was LOW. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

This unique 180-degree “panorama” image of the dealer showroom of JoeCon 2013, shows the convention at its peak attendance. Obviously, a business called “The GIjOE Coffee Company” should have a booth that is FRONT and CENTER during such an event! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Question: Can anyone explain why a company with “GIjOE” in its name would ignore such an obvious and automatic base of supporters? Any marketing or public-relations person worth his or her salt should be advising the GCC to “zero-in” on GIjOE fans and collectors. Company reps should be attending ALL of the GIjOE shows, giving out free samples, and raising awareness of their products and charitable goals. Why the GCC continues to ignore “Joeheads” remains (for them) a nonsensical and unprofitable mystery. Someone stop the Madness!

As this screenshot shows, some of the pricier incentives were downright weird. Anyone with any knowledge of the high cost of travel for a "4-night stay at a luxury resort" can compute that once this trip is fully paid for, there would be little left of the original contribution to apply toward's the company. Whatever the numerical realities, it's obvious why backers were hesitant to contribute. But oh, look at that..."Shipping is FREE!" (Huh?) (Graphic: GCC)

As this screenshot reveals, some of the pricier incentives seemed completely over the top. Anyone with a basic working knowledge of the high cost of travel for a “4-night stay at a luxury resort” can compute that once this trip has been paid for, there would be little left of the original contribution to apply towards much else. But whatever the financial realities may be, it’s obvious why the public became reluctant to contribute. (Graphic: GCC)

Straying From Your “Core Message” Is Risky

This is all very basic, “Public Relations 101″ sort of stuff, but we’ll quickly recap it for those of you who are outside of the field. It’s very simple. Stay focused on achieving your stated goals and objectives. Target your market carefully. Switching marketing strategies in mid-stream serves only to muddle a company’s message and confuse its customers. The GIjOE Coffee Company made exactly those mistakes and blurred their message from one of compassion and support for disabled veterans, to promises of sexy girly posters and 4-day vacations. Such prurient tactics may work when trying to get 18-24 year-old males to buy a new brand of beer or an “irresistible” body spray, but a business hoping to support disabled veterans requires a more tactful approach; one that demonstrates a genuine desire to “give something back” out of respect and gratitude.

Offers of merchandise and vacations in exchange for financial contributions sent conflicting signals to potential buyers and supporters of GIjOE Coffee, resulting in confusion, hesitation, and low response. (Photo: GIjOE Coffee Company)

Offers of merchandise and vacations in exchange for financial contributions sent conflicting signals to potential buyers and supporters of GIjOE Coffee, resulting in very low response. (Photo: GCC)

Bottom Line: We love vacations and pretty girls as much as anyone (maybe more so!), but hopefully, the GIjOE Coffee Company has learned some important lessons from their recent fundraising flop. In our opinion, the best way to gain customers, supporters and contributors for their new coffee business, is not by targeting the libidos of young men, but by appealing to the hearts and minds of GIjOE fans, military families, and American citizens everywhere. Go, GCC!

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