Monthly Archives: August 2016

UK Division of eBay Releases “The Battle of the Red Claw;” a New Commercial Starring 1:6 Scale (Vintage 1960s) British Army Action Man Figure

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Retired From Heroism?— What happens to Action Man when you store him away in the attic? According to this screenshot from a clever new eBay UK commercial, such forgotten heroes don aprons, catch up on ironing, listen to sad songs on the radio and…sip coffee. <sigh> (Photo: eBay UK) Click to enlarge.

In yet another sterling example of a corporation mining the worldwide, nostalgic appeal of vintage 12-inch action figures, eBay’s savvy marketing arm recently released an online commercial touting the “local” use of its UK site (HERE) by “enlisting the service” of Britain’s favorite 1:6 scale soldier—Action Man (AM). Fortunately for all AM fans, the new commercial is actually an extended-length mini-adventure. It unspools at a full 1 minute and 42 seconds long, and features fanciful, expertly executed, stop-motion animation that creatively brings to life the story of a British Army AM soldier who’s now facing an uncertain future—stored away in his owner’s attic.

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The Adventure That Never Was— But could be…if only some child or adult would come along and “create it” in his or her imagination. (Really now kids, would that be so hard? Just put down your dang cellphones and PLAY again!) This screenshot reveals a jigsaw puzzle based on a non-existent “Battle of the Red Claw” AM adventure set. Despite being a fantasy product, AM fans will delight in noting that eBay UK went to the trouble (and expense) to (re)create a box that perfectly emulates the original artwork styles utilized on ’70s AM packaging. Out-STANDING job! (Photo: eBay UK) Click to enlarge.

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Coolest Bad Guy That Never Existed Until eBay Made Him Up— The “Red Claw” as depicted in eBay UK’s new commercial is not a lady in red spandex. Rather, he’s an expertly made, custom Action Man figure with a unique, chrome-domed, scar-eyed, headsculpt and a superbly detailed metal claw for a hand. OUCH! Where do we buy one? Collectors will want to know! (Photo: eBay UK) Click to enlarge.

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Not the Same Red Claw— The only other “Red Claw” we’re aware of is the scarlet tights-wearing femme fatale from the animated Batman TV series. (Art: DawidARTe)

If you’ll recall, Pixar’s Toy Story III told us a similar story, whereupon, after years of happy childhood play, toys are routinely sold off, donated, and/or relegated by their clueless owners (adults) to long-term storage in boxes, basements and attics. EBay’s answer to this sad scenario, is (of course) that Britishers should sell their old toys and collectibles on the “local” UK version of the eBay website. That way, items such as the spot’s forgotten AM figure will easily find new and loving homes, and that their 1:6 scale adventures will continue on, well into the future. Plus, eBay gets a percentage, ‘natch!

Bottom Line: EBay’s latest spot directly targets the growing use of non-fee (i.e. FREE) community-centric “local” sites such as Craigslist UK. Sites such as Craigslist UK continue to take an ever-bigger bite out of eBay’s market dominance (and financial bottom line). The well-established use of GIjOE and/or Action Man figures to promote other companies’ products and services remains a sound business practice—and for Hasbro/Palitoy, thanks to their hefty licensing fees—a very lucrative one. Imagine selling thin air for millions of dollars or pounds. Yeah, it’s like that.

It’s undeniable too, that the combined emotional “heft” of the fond memories held by so many Action Man fans and collectors remains very strong. Common-sense dictates then, that tugging at all of those collective heartstrings (through advertisements such as this one) is bound to open up a fair amount of wallets—or so eBay hopes. Regardless, we know you’ll love this commercial. So…Watch. Rewind. And then watch it again. Go, ACTION MAN!

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Stunner! Rare (2002) “Rosie the Riveter” Action Figures Discovered in Gift Shop of the National Museum of the USAF, Near Wright-Patterson AFB

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Bravery and Beauty— Valor Inc.’s outstanding (2002) “Rosie the Riveter” action figure had (and still has) a fantastic headsculpt that collectors continue to clamor for, 14 years after its debut. Likewise, Rosie’s denim coveralls, perfectly painted and detailed “Higgin’s Boats” helmet, rivet welder’s mask and superbly fitted headscarf were ALL excellent detail items not available with any other figure. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Unsold, NMIB, 12-inch (1:6 scale) “Rosies” Reappear at Retail—14 Years After Initial Release

We had just finished touring the four massive buildings of the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio and were headed towards the exit (via the museum’s strategically located gift shop, ‘natch), when what did our weary eyes behold? Nothing but a shiny stack of NMIB (2002-vintage) “Rosie the Riveter” 12″ action figures. Holy Recovered Treasures!

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Let Me Out, Big Boy!— This beautiful (2002) “Rosie the Riveter” action figure by Valor, Inc., has never been removed from its minty-fresh window-display box. But c’mon guys and gals… FREE HER NOW. Those B-17s won’t build themselves. USA! USA! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

You may recall that these 12″ scarlet-scarfed heroines were originally produced waaaay back in 2002 by the now-defunct toy manufacturer “Valor, USA Inc.,” as part of an exclusive fund-raising figure line created to benefit the DDay Museum (later renamed the National WWII Museum) down in New Orleans, LA. Apparently however, an undetermined number of these “homefront heroines” went unsold and were later resold and shipped up to the national USAF museum near Dayton, Ohio—ultimately to reappear for sale once again (at full retail) over 14+ years later. What the…?

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Raising Money With Rosie— The back of Rosie’s box still bears the original logo of the DDay Museum which stood to benefit from the sale of all ” Americans of Valor” figures. The front of the package confirmed that fact, proudly stating: “A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this item will be donated to the National D-Day Museum.” Those days of financial contribution to the DDay Museum may be over now, but sales of these newly discovered NOS (new old stock) Rosie figures will continue to benefit the National Museum of the USAF—another outstanding organization! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

If you’re curious, the “full retail price” for a Rosie the Riveter figure at the USAF museum rings up at exactly $30 + tax. And while we were there, the figures were placed proudly atop the pinnacle of a multi-level table full of other Rosie souvenirs. I didn’t count the remaining figures, but my best “guesstimate” is about 6-8 visible figures up on the table and about another case down below.

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Details to Spare— As this closeup reveals, Rosie’s scarf is a perfect, snug fit, and her helmet sports absolutely superb Higgin’s Boats graphics. You GO, girl! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: As of yesterday (Monday, August 15th, 2016) there was still a very high “pyramid of pulchritude” for 1:6 Rosie fans to purchase. Remember, admission to the USAF museum is FREE, so if you can make a quick trip (up, down, over) to the Dayton area, take a moment to stop in at the USAF museum, enjoy all of its wonderful aircraft displays and pick up an increasingly rare Rosie the Riveter action figure. As Rosie would say—We Can Do It!

 

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G.I. Joe Adventurer Stars in New TV Commercial For Subaru Motors’ “Levorg” (Yes, That’s a Car)

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Return to the Sandbox— In a scene that should be all too familiar to GIjOE fans and collectors around the world, Subaru’s Adventurer Joe keeps his binocs trained on his owner’s family (and their dog) while playing in a sandbox in a park, somewhere in Australia. Do YOU remember cleaning sand out of your Joe’s hair and all his uniforms? Oh, yeah. We KNOW you do! (Photo: Subaru)

Mining Our Emotions—Once again, nostalgic GIjOE fans have (somehow ) found their way into the creative boardrooms of Subaru’s advertising agency and inserted their (and our!) favorite 1:6 scale action hero toy into a new TV commercial. Using a trite (but serviceable) tagline, “Do Something Out of the Box,” the creators of this new spot clearly hope Joe’s worldwide appeal will help them “move some iron” off of Subaru’s lots during the 2016-2017 sales season. Will Joe’s mission succeed?

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New “Singing” Land Adventurer— The real star of the Subaru spot isn’t the car. It’s GIjOE! He first appears in his custom (gray?) “Land Adventurer” box—and he’s singing! Wha..? We knew Joe could “speak” and bark out commands, but sing? That’s something his legions of fans have never seen him do before. Out-STANDING. He could win American Idol—if only it were for toys! (Photo: Subaru)

In this latest, most INCREDIBLE of “Joe Sightings,” a vintage 1970s Adventurer GIjOE appears redressed in multiple uniforms and iterations to provide both comedic relief and emotional gravitas to a much larger inanimate object—the 2017 Subaru “Levorg.” Yes, that what’s it’s called. And no, we don’t know why. We looked up Levorg (so you wouldn’t have to) and learned that it’s a nonsense word which (according to Subaru) is “a portmanteau of 3 words, LEgacy, reVOlution, and touRinG.”

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Nice ROUND Tones, Joe— As the camera zooms in, viewers are treated to some wonderful CGI demonstrating Joe’s new-found singing prowess is largely due to his surprising ability to make nice, round mouth shapes. The special-effects utilized in this spot are VERY well-executed. (Photo: Subaru)

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Silvery Shades— As the family goes for a ride to the park, Joe continues singing while looking out a window, sporting custom mirrored shades. Now you can call him “Joe Cool!” (Photo: Subaru)

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Let’s Get it On— Arriving at the park, Joe jumps out of the car, determined to complete his mission to have FUN with his beloved family. Yes, that’s a Subaru behind him (yay). (Photo: Subaru)

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Joe Remebers How to PLAY— The kid has nothing on GIjOE, who expertly shows him how to use the famous Adventure Team zip line. Look out BELOWWWW! (Photo: Subaru)

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He’s a Lumberjack and He’s OK— He sleeps all night and he works all day. Go, JOE! (Photo: Subaru)

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Hai KARATE— Joe prepares to face off against his giant nemesis…the family dog! (Photo: Subaru)

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Ride ’em Cowboy— Having tamed the wild beast with his Karate, Joe trains the canine behemoth in the wild and wooly ways of western “dogback” riding. Yee-HAW! (Photo: Subaru)

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Spooky Spelunker— Joe also explores a mysterious cavern. Look out for guano, Joe! (Photo: Subaru)

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No Shirt, No Problem— Joe ends the commercial taking a spin around the park’s pond on his yellow jet ski. VRROOMMM!!! Remember, this is a CAR commercial. (Photo: Subaru)

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Confused? Angry?— This closeup shows another great use of CGI, giving Joe a fiercely determined (and/or puzzled) expression. Imagine all the exciting adventures Joe could enjoy if he was regularly provided with expert animation assistance such as this. WOW! (Photo: Subaru)

Bottom Line: You’d think that if Subaru was going to build an entire ad campaign around the use of GIjOEs, they’d at least try to have the car’s name tie-in somehow (i.e. “Hero” or “Adventurer,” or…well, ANYTHING but “Levorg”). But no matter, longtime Joeheads “get” why it’s a solid strategy to connect a ’70s Land Adventurer with Subaru. According to Born Licensing director, David Born:

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“G.I. Joe adds a great deal of value to the campaign on a number of levels, it creates a sense of nostalgia amongst their target demographic, tapping into the existing positive feelings consumers have about the brand. It also makes the campaign more likely to be talked about, shared and related to by their target audience.” —David Born, Born Licensing

And of course, if Hasbro had it’s corporate head on straight, buyers of Subaru vehicles would also receive a FREE Land Adventurer GIjOE with every purchase. Hoo-YEAH! But, will they? Sadly, no. That’s just another missed (and to us—obvious) product tie-in opportunity that Hasbro is missing out on. Imagine all the fun little Johnny or Jane could have playing with a new Joe in the backseat of their new Levorg during a real-life drive to the park—just like on TV! (See Commercial Below)

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