A Grand, Master Plan Interrupted
In the early 1970s, there were BIG plans ahead for GIjOE. America’s “Movable Action Hero” was to remain the flagship toy line that promised to carry Hasbro FAR into the future, using the same “razor and blades” marketing concept that had made Mattel’s Barbie Doll so successful.
However, the Vietnam War dampened parental enthusiasm for “war toys,” and the decision was made to reinvent Joe as an Adventurer. A brilliant decision, that if successful would assure the success of the GIjOE line well into the future.
To launch their new marketing strategy, Hasbro aired this TV COMMERCIAL, announcing its ambitious “50 Adventures of GIjOE” concept for the first time. Three of the fifty proposed adventures were named in this spot, including “Sandstorm Survival,” the “Secret Mission to Spy Island” and the “Devil in the Deep.”
The commercial opens with a thrilling pan-over view of the GIjOE vehicle and equipment sets being introduced that year. What an exciting visual! It looked like the ultimate vintage AT Joe display. Sort of like a toy store with nothing but GIjOEs in it. Everything is on display, all set-up, and you could try out the various sets “hands on.” It would have been every little boy’s dream at that time, and Hasbro knew it. VERY powerful imagery.
Of course, we all know how this chapter of the GIjOE saga ended. An Arab Oil Embargo would reduce the size of plastic toys until Joe became a mere shadow of his former self. Plans for future “50” sets, like the exotic “Space-a-Matic” were shelved forever. Fate had played its hand and collectors lost. But whenever we take a moment to rewatch these old commercials, the “50 Adventures” concept can live again!