The “Masters of Missed Opportunity” Strike Again
Imagine creating the world’s most popular toy; an iconic action-figure line enjoyed by millions of boys and girls around the world. Now imagine refusing to allow a major Hollywood film company the rights to use the name of your toy in a movie (thereby giving up millions of dollars worth of free advertising), SIMPLY because the storyline indicates that the toy will be blown up with a firecracker by one of the characters in the film.
Now—imagine, many years later, your toy is being portrayed as the heroic star of yet another top-notch Hollywood production. But because you STILL refuse to allow the filmmakers to use the toy’s name, you (still) get ZERO credit for having created it, and for its heroic portrayal in the new film. D’oh!
What a HUGE missed opportunity! By now, your publicists, PR people, and advertising execs must all be pulling their hair out in frustration. Who are we talking about? Why, the “Masters of Missed Opportunity” themselves, of course—Hasbro. Would someone PLEASE stop the insanity?! The toy company’s board members must all be kicking each other’s backsides for what has to be one of the biggest “bonehead” corporate decisions of all time. How (and why) the suits at Hasbro repeatedly backhand such easy opportunities to promote GIjOE (and recruit a whole new generation of fans for their venerable toy brand) simply boggles the imagination.
“Combat Carl Never Gives Up.
Combat Carl FINDS a Way!”
In stark contrast to Hasbro’s lackadaisical handling of the GIjOE brand, Disney’s new “Toy Story of Terror” (TSOT), was a masterstroke of media manipulation and branding reinforcement. The latest in the beloved Toy Story canon, TSOT was a blissful return to American television of yore. For 30-minutes, fans could put their feet up, share the couch with loved ones of ALL ages, and enjoy a top-notch quality program—together—as a family.
The resulting “feel good” emotional impact of the show was immediate and powerful. No matter what your age, it made you want to get up, run out to a store, and BUY SOME TOYS! It’s a shame that most parents were probably hearing, “Mommy, can I get a Combat Carl?” instead of “Can I get a GIjOE?” If Hasbro isn’t careful, Disney’s “Combat Carl” brand could someday usurp Hasbro’s hard-won “GIjOE” brand awareness in the minds of many children.
Taking Charge and Getting it Done
If you haven’t seen Toy Story of Terror, all of the original film’s stars reprise their roles, including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn and Joan Cusack. But this time around, the big news (for GIjOE and action-figure fans) is the addition of action-film superstar, Carl Weathers. You may remember Weathers as “Apollo Creed” from the Rocky film series, or as the treacherous CIA agent, “Dillon,” from the Schwarzenegger blockbuster, “Predator.” In Toy Story of Terror, Weathers absolutely steals the show by voicing the role of Combat Carl.
Yes, yes, we ALL know… Combat Carl is really a GIjOE. And as Joeheads remember (with a head-shake and an eye-roll), Pixar was originally going to call their Combat Carl character “GIjOE.” Can you imagine how great that would’ve been? It would’ve opened up a world of other opportunities for the filmmakers, such as the Mobile Support Vehicle, an ATV, etc. But sadly, Hasbro, in its short-sighted and limited wisdom, refused to grant Pixar permission. According to the official Pixar website:
“In the DVD commentary for Toy Story, John Lasseter mentions that he had actually wanted to use a G.I. Joe in the film, but Hasbro was upset that they were going to have Sid blow it up and wouldn’t let them use it.”
Bottom Line: It’s obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes that Combat Carl is GIjOE, 100%, through and through. From the tip of his Classic Collection “blockhead” noggin’, to the soles of his rubber boots, he represents a massive missed opportunity for infinite product and brand expansion. For Hasbro’s poor handling of GIjOE in this regard, we give them our lowest rating of ZERO diamonds. For Pixar’s handling of Combat Carl and the new Toy Story of Terror, we give them our highest, 5-diamond rating (♦♦♦♦♦). If you haven’t seen it, BUY IT when it becomes available. It’s worth every penny!