Category Archives: GIjOE “Sightings” in TV & Movies

It’s Up to Zemeckis— How Much Will Hollywood Director Choose to Reveal About Film’s Real-Life Hero in His Upcoming Film, “Welcome to Marwen?”

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High on His Heels— Artist/Photographer, Mark Hogancamp, makes no secret about his fandom for feminine footwear, as this portrait of him in stilettos “pointedly” reveals. (Photo: NYT) Click to enlarge.

The Truth is Already Out There—But Will its Inclusion Hurt Box Office Receipts?

This is all public knowledge, but please stick with us. If you’ve seen 2010’s fantasy-documentary, Marwencol, or read the 2016 hardcover book, Welcome to Marwencol, then you undoubtedly already know that real-life artist-photographer, Mark Hogancamp—the lead character depicted in Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming motion picture, Welcome to Marwen (played by actor Steve Carell)—enjoys wearing women’s high-heel shoes and stockings. There. We’ve said it. Hogancamp’s “most shocking” true-life personality “spoiler” has now been re-revealed.

What isn’t known to many however, is whether Zemeckis feels that Hogancamp’s cross-dressing is “script-worthy” enough to be included in his latest release. Would such intimate insight detract from the film’s main storyline—a man struggles with PTSD after a brutal beating by creating fantasy photo-stories with 1:6 scale action figures and dolls—or enhance it? Is cross-dressing simply too “racy” a topic for the holidays, only to end up on the cutting room floor? Time—as they say, will tell.

For those who are unaware of the differences between “cross-dressing” and the better  known term, “transvestism,” we consulted that oracle of all knowledge and things online—Wikipedia—which (rightly or wrongly) defines the two (oft-misunderstood) terms thusly:

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“Transvestism is the practice of dressing and acting in a style or manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex. In some cultures, transvestism is practiced for religious, traditional or ceremonial reasons.”

“Crossdressing is the act of wearing items of clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society. Cross-dressing has been used for purposes of disguise, comfort, and self-expression in modern times and throughout history.”

Okay, that cleared it up (right?) Regardless, questions with serious financial implications remain— Will audiences harbor negative feelings about Hogancamp’s cross-dressing? And IF the topic is included in the film (we still don’t know if it will be) and “word gets out,” will that affect ticket-buying, movie-going audiences who DO harbor negative feelings about the subject and thereby cause them to stay home? You can bet the entire entertainment industry will be paying VERY close attention to this film when it premieres in theaters across the country on December 21st.

Fortunately for Zemeckis and his film

A cross-dressing dance act dubbed Junior New System (JNS) has just come to the rescue. This all-male, high-heeled dance troupe from the Philippines, recently broke onto the U.S. national scene during a series of high-energy (and high-heeled) appearances on NBC TV’s ratings-smash hit, America’s Got Talent. Their success appears to have made men-wearing-women’s-shoes a little less “offensive” in many viewer’s eyes, and much more “publicly palatable” as well. During their aggressive, athletic performances, the JNS men routinely and effortlessly switch between wearing traditional high-top sneakers to high-heel stilettos. Then, to everyone’s surprise, they proceed to perform powerful BACK-FLIPS, landing solidly on their traditionally unsteady and pointy “pumps,” without suffering any apparent missteps or twisted ankles. It has to be SEEN to be believed!

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It CAN be done!— Members of the Filipino dance group, Junior New System, proved that grown men can successfully perform backflips while wearing high-heeled, stiletto shoes. Here, they pose backstage with judge and media-mogul, Simon Cowell, during a taping of America’s Got Talent. (Photo: JNS)

As we stated at the outset, the subject of Hogancamp’s cross-dressing is largely “old news” to (most) 1:6 scalers, and has had little—to ZERO—bearing on the 1:6 community’s admiration and regard for the man’s artistic talents. His skills as an artist, photographer and customizer are obvious and beyond question. But how will non-hobbyist ticket-buyers react? That remains to be seen.

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Hogancamp’s Heroes Help Him HealMark Hogancamp, the creator of the imaginary and 1:6 scale town of “Marwencol” holds up his original, self-representational action figure—the “star” of Mark’s ongoing—and AMAZING—photo-adventures. (Photo: Mark Hogancamp) Click to enlarge.

Finally, other media outlets are also discussing this subject, largely reflecting the opinion that Hogancamp’s cross-dressing SHOULD be included in the film’s final script. The New York Times discussed it in an article HERE, and we found an overseas article about it in the UK’s The Telegraph, HERE. Clear “rumblings” of social expectation could be heard. Here’s one such quote:

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“The real truth behind Mark’s near-fatal attack is not something you’ll find in the trailer – he was set upon after admitting in the bar that he was a cross-dresser. When the film’s first American trailer landed, there was enough social-media kerfuffle to suggest that eliding this part of the story may well cause significant controversy.” —The Telegraph, UK

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Robert Zemeckis, Director of Welcome to Marwen (Photo: Hollywood Reporter)

Bottom Line: If the official Welcome to Marwen trailers are any indication of its final content, then it appears Mr. Hogancamp’s propensity for feminine footwear will NOT be made into much of an issue for the film. But, if you search the ‘net for further clues provided by Zemeckis himself, you CAN find short, inconclusive snippets about its inclusion (or exclusion) from the script. Make of the following quote what you will (especially the last line), but here’s his most telling —yet noncommittal—comment so far:

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“We can’t give everything away. There’s a lot more story than we were able to include. You’ve got to let the audience see something that they don’t know about.” —Robert Zemeckis, director, Welcome to Marwen

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Mark Your Calendars!— The Release Date for Robert Zemeckis’ New 1:6 Scale Motion Picture, “Welcome to Marwen” Has Been Confirmed

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Battle Scar— Mark Hogancamp (as portrayed by actor Steve Carell, off-camera) puts the finishing touches on his new mini-me “Cap’n Hogie” action figure, painting a scar on his right cheek a la GIjOE. During his real-life beating, the right side of Hogancamp’s face DID receive the greatest amount of damage and required extensive reconstructive surgeries. (Screenshot: Universal) Click to enlarge.

U.S. premiere of eagerly anticipated film delayed by 1 month

Finally. we have a date! It’s December 21st, 2018— a day that will forever LIVE in 1:6 scale GLORY. That is now the OFFICIAL release date for the new Robert Zemeckis-Steve Carell action-drama-fantasy, “Welcome to Marwen,” which will be opening in theaters all across the country. Just a short while ago, the film’s release date was still being touted as “sometime in November,” but according to a blurb article just spied in the August 17, 2018 issue of Entertainment Weekly (see below), the new, OFFICIAL premiere date has been moved back a month and is now slated for “12.21.”

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It’s now in PRINT— So it must be true, right? No explanation is given for why its premiere was delayed by one month, but according to this article in the August 17, 2018 issue of Entertainment Weekly, the release date for “Welcome to Marwen” is now December 21st. SO EXCITING! Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: This official confirmation in the press means that fans will have until that time to make their plans for the premiere. Will you be dressing up as a character? Will you be organizing a GIjOE club mass-viewing? Will you be taking along an action figure—or two—to watch the film with you? Remember, according to Amazon, the DVD is not yet even available for pre-order, so until the film is re-released on say, Netflix, fans who miss it in the theaters will have to wait even longer to enjoy it in all of its (freeze-framed) 1:6 scale GLORY at home. Let’s get ready to go to the movies!

 

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UPDATE!— New (Extended) Trailer for “Welcome to Marwen” Released—Plus—New Close-Ups of Main Characters and More Patches of Pride “Sightings”

Okay, this just got even more “REAL”— In an all-new, extended-length trailer for the upcoming Robert Zemeckis film, “Welcome to Marwen,” numerous additional scenes clearly show products that were produced by longtime 1:6 scale patch company, Patches of Pride (PoP). As PoP remains the sole official sponsor of The Joe Report, we here in the “TJR Newsroom” are understandably excited whenever we see their work being enthusiastically embraced by esteemed customizers or—as in this case—Hollywood filmmakers—projected right up there on the big screen for all to see!

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Look fast, PoPstersIn this somewhat grainy “screen grab” from the new trailer, you can quickly see one of Patches of Pride’s full-color version Master Sergeant chevrons (found HERE) on the sleeve of one of the female figures. Note too, that the studio’s prop makers have blackened out the edges of the patch (to eliminate white fabric from showing) as recommended in the installation instructions included with every PoP patch order. Out-STANDING work prop-people! (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

While the majority of scenes in this new trailer show CGI action figures, it’s obvious the patches depicted were based on PoP’s real-life miniatures. And whenever the film cuts back to moments of reality and utilizes real actors, then the patches being shown onscreen are clearly PoP’s products. It’s truly exciting too, to see (real) actor, Steve Carell, handling the figures and to realize that PoP had a small part in their “finishing details.” Here are some Universal publicity stills provided today—

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YOU can make this Other than the custom Steve Carell headsculpt, this would be a fairly easy figure for most customizers of 1:6 scale to recreate. Most of the elements are commonly available and that Flying Tigers patch is available from Patches of Pride HERE. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Howdy, SARGEAptly named, “G.I. Julie,” this character totes a Thompson machine gun and sports one of PoP’s full-color sergeant chevron patches on her left sleeve. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Peace, Baby— Clearly more of a “flower child” peacenik than a war-monger, this “Nicol” character promises to be quite interesting. But—a Purple Heart recipient? (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Rock it, Roberta— Toting a BAR, this figure also wears an impressive bandolier around her chest and a bayonet strapped onto her right leg. Look out, you nasty Nazis! (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Muy Caliente— If you need someone to fire a .50 cal, THIS is the your woman. She’s clearly got the required ammo belt—plus one grenade. Mama-SITA! (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Tovarich in a Tutu— Looks like only half of a Russian uniform was available. But who cares? Heck, all I know is that I WANT one of these! Is that an oven mitt on her hand? (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Viva la France— Sex appeal in a slit skirt—what else do you need? (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Pain and Pleasure— The PAIN is evident in Steve Carell’s scarred, action figure face. The PLEASURE is sure to come to audiences who go to see this film, November, 2018. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

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Poster Perfect— With this line-up, the Nazi’s don’t stand a chance. (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: The more we see of this film, the more we WANT to see. Keep it comin’, Universal!

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Official “Welcome to Marwen” Trailer Released

Bottom Line: They say “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Well, a day after we “complained” here on The Joe Report about the lack of any studio trailer or promotional materials for Universal Picture’s upcoming 1:6 scale film, “Welcome to Marwen,” wouldn’t you know it—an official trailer was almost immediately posted over on YouTube—and it looks simply AMAZING. Of course we’ll analyze it frame-by-frame and in super slow-mo for any signs of the aforementioned Patches of Pride products, but until we’ve had sufficient time to do that, take a look yourself—and ENJOY!


UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take us long. After reviewing the trailer, only 2 scenes appears to clearly shows PoP’s patches. All of the rest of the closeup shots were CGI (i.e. special effects) renderings. It appears the filmmakers used PoP’s patches for some of the “live-action” scenes and also utilized them as “models” for the CGI’d versions as well. Still…all in all, VERY cool!

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Tiny patches on a BIG SCREEN— Two of the tiny patches on the pilot figure’s bomber jacket were created by 1:6 scale patch creator Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride. The nametag appears to be hand-lettered and is not a PoP product. (Screenshot: Universal Pictures) Click to enlarge.

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PoP’s Patches— This closeup reveals a great look at the 1:6 scale “Flying Tigers” patch created for Universal’s costumers by Patches of Pride. The studio’s costumers were VERY specific about this patch, requesting that it be created to an EXACT size so that it would fit within a tiny leather circle (as shown in the photo). What a PERFECT FIT! (Photo: Universal Pictures) Click to enlarge.

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Hollywood Came-a-Calling—Creator of 1:6 Scale Accessories Asked to Produce Miniature Props for Use in Upcoming 2018 Film, “The Women of Marwen”

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Meet Steve’s “Little Women”— Actor Steve Carell sits on a park bench in Vancouver, Canada, while taking a break from shooting his upcoming (Nov. 2018) film, “The Women of Marwen.” Alongside him sits a “Jeep-full” of miniature female co-stars, some (possibly) sporting tiny 1:6 scale patches or other accessories created by Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride, (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

Steve Carell Pic to Feature Products Produced by 1:6 Company, “Patches of Pride”

This isn’t a “big story” by any means, but here it is, nonetheless: Patches of Pride (PoP), the well-known and respected producer of 1:6 scale miniature products (typically utilized by collectors and customizers of GIjOE action figures), has recently received (and shipped out) several mass orders of patches, armbands and other related accessories to various film industry costuming businesses in both Canada and Hollywood. Normally, that would be “non-news” to the public; the sort of boring, internal sales information typically only of interest to the businesses and individuals involved.

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Actor and toy collector, Steve Carell (Photo: Universal Pictures)

But in this case— the film industry costumers in question happened to be working on a new movie project that should hold GREAT interest for fans of 1:6 scale. In fact, the Canadian and LA costumers we’re talking about have been tasked with creating miniature 1:6 scale uniforms that will be utilized in an upcoming Universal production entitled, “The Women of Marwen” (aka “TWOM” see HERE). From what we can gather online, TWOM is being directed by “Back to the Future” auteur, Robert Zemeckis and stars actor, comedian, and action figure fan, Steve Carell, of “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” fame. The products ordered from Patches of Pride would be used to accessorize miniature costumes and military uniforms worn by some of the film’s “smaller stars.” We tracked down PoP’s head honcho, Mark Otnes, and asked him how he felt about undertaking this exciting new foray into movie prop production. He replied:

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“Well, I think it’s overstating it a bit to say that Patches of Pride has moved into ‘movie prop production.’ Yes, it is exciting to think that something we’ve created may appear ‘up there on the big screen,’ but this was probably just a one-time deal for us—unless they do a sequel. I’m a HUGE fan of both Zemeckis and Carell. Just knowing that they’re working on a film project together with 1:6 scale action figures is VERY cool news. And I LOVED Carell’s take on the societal pressures and ‘trials and tribulations’ faced by action figure collectors in ‘The 40 Year-Old Virgin.’ You could FEEL his pain at the thought of selling his beloved collectibles. Hilarious!

As to my business’ involvement with this new film, ‘The Women of Marwen,’ I simply filled a number of orders that came in from new customers located in Canada and Los Angeles. That’s it. At the time, they were very nice and notified me that the patches and other products they were ordering were for something they called, ‘an untitled Robert Zemeckis project.’ I knew who Mr. Zemeckis was, but I didn’t know that this so-called ‘untitled project’ was going to be a film. I just learned that fact recently, myself! I’d thought it was going to be a TV documentary on WWII or something like that. But hey, a Steve Carell movie sounds a WHOLE lot cooler!

And keep in mind that I also don’t know if anything I made for them will actually appear on-screen in the movie, or if PoP will get any sort of credit. Most likely not. You know how unpredictable filmmaking can be. Our products may just be used in test shots or scenes that end up on the ‘cutting room floor.’ However it all works out, you can bet that I’ll be watching the movie VERY closely for any signs of my work. Everything we sell at Patches of Pride comes from original art files that I’ve created. That way, I can easily recognize my work whenever and wherever I see it. If someone uses ANY of our products on their custom figures or vehicles, I can tell. I know ALL of the (thousands) of PoP products by heart—AND by sight.”

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Bottom Line: This sounds like it’ll be a really cool flick and a wonderful opportunity for Zemeckis, Carell and Patches of Pride as well. We wish all concerned with this project the very best of luck. “The Women of Marwen” is scheduled for a November 2018 release. If any further information becomes available before that time, we’ll be sure to share it with you here on The Joe Report ASAP. Will any of Otnes’ 1:6 scale products actually end up on screen? Stay tuned!

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Dance, Action Man, Dance—New Commercial for UK’s “Money Super Market” is Absolutely “EPIC!”

In yet another superb “sighting” of GIjOE and Action Man in the “mainstream media,” UK’s “MoneySuperMarket” website has just aired a brand-new TV commercial for its business—starring—the many and varied heroes of the vintage Action Man toy line-up. There’s even a ’60s Barbie “Action Girl” thrown in for good measure. According to an article over on the Campaign website:

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“The latest ad in MoneySuperMarket.com’s epic campaign stars Action Man. The Hasbro action figure is so overcome by his savings from Moneysupermarket that he rallies the troops to dance in the desert, even stripping down to his blue underpants. The ad is set to ‘90s classic ‘Finally’ by CeCe Peniston. It was created by Mother, the brand’s outgoing agency – and the joyful creativity of the spot makes it even more bittersweet that the two are parting ways.”  

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Jazz Hands!— Instead of a “Kung-Fu Grip,” this Action Man soldier shows viewers what his computer-animated “jazz hands” can do, while striking a pose on the main contents page of the UK “MoneySuperMarket” website. Out-STANDING! (Photo: MSM) Click to enlarge.

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“I’ll put you right through, sir!”—Characters from the TV commercial also appear throughout the MoneySuperMarket website, such as British Barbie (shown above) fielding incoming messages from prospective customers. Blimey, how great is THIS? (Photo: MSM) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: This new commercial is without a doubt the most advanced combination of stop-motion and computer animation since GIjOE’s last appearance in a superb (2016) TV commercial for Subaru (see HERE). Who knew Action Man was so good at dance choreography? It’s time to get out some of your figures and “Pump up the JAMS!” Enjoy!

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New Toy Series Premieres on Netflix—But the Question is: Will Fans Want to PAY to See it?

There’s a New Show All About Toys—But Is It Worth The Cost?

A new Netflix series (clumsily) titled, “The Toys That Made Us” is currently airing online (available to paid Netflix subscribers only), and (as you might expect) the show’s episodes each focus primarily on iconic brands such as GIjOE, Barbie, Star Wars, etc. Predictably too, the approximately 45 minutes of airtime each installment consumes is largely comprised of (familiar) video clips taken from OLD television commercials, OLD Saturday morning cartoons, and OLD comic book ads and/or catalogs (feeling OLD yet?). Sprinkle in assorted sound bites from “expert” talking-heads and uber-collectors, then tie it all together with “fluff” narration, and you have what amounts to a not-all-too-unpleasant way to spend the better part of an hour.

Bottom Line: Since these new Netflix episodes are largely targeted to today’s attention-deficited, iPhone-obsessed viewing public, their video clips tend to be short and rather quickly cut. That can become VERY frustrating to diehard (i.e. older) toy fans who prefer to SEE all these vintage goodies for more than just a couple of seconds apiece. Similarly, the show’s so-called “expert” sound-bites also tend to be too short and shallow, and left us wanting to hear MORE (much more, actually). Finally, due to changing consumer viewing habits, it’s unlikely DVDs of this show will ever be offered, so… while much of the content is stuff you’ve probably seen before (likely for FREE on YouTube or elsewhere), if you don’t mind paying Netflix for the privilege of viewing their repackaged “exclusive content,” then you should take a look at the show’s teaser reel provided above. It’s cool!


UPDATE (1-8-18): The TTTMU episode featuring GIjOE focuses primarily on the  tremendous financial “gambles” Hasbro took when it produced both its original 1960-70s 12″ lines and then (again) later, its 1980s 3.75″ RAH figures. Many toy fans too, may not have known how GIjOE’s unprecedented sales success in the ’80s was responsible for restoring a (then) moribund Hasbro to a position of financial solvency and dominance in the toy industry—What a hero!

The episode also provides a well laid-out history of the company itself, its founding Hassenfeld family, and the key individuals involved in GIjOE’s development and creation. Especially enjoyable to the staff here at The Joe Report (who viewed the program), was the inclusion of such familiar and friendly faces as Larry Hama and Derryl DePriest. What great guys! Fans of 12″ GIjOEs may feel somewhat short-changed by the episode’s content, but overall, it was very well done. Go, JOE!

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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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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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James DeSimone Make Guest Appearance on A&E’s “Storage Wars” As a G.I. JOE “Super Collector”

Bottom Line: In this 2-minute clip from an episode of the A&E program, Storage Wars, one of the show’s contestants(?) purchases a storage locker for $750, then discovers it contains a 1985 GIjOE USS Flagg aircraft carrier. She then takes it over to James DeSimone for his professional, expert estimation of its value. There are some quick, fleeting views of the assembled ship, plus a few shots of James’ RAH figures placed atop its deck and arranged around it for maximum display effect (making this an official “Joe Sighting”). The Flagg’s box is included as well, but it appears to be pretty banged up. Was this particular Flagg worth what James declares? YOU be the judge. Enjoy!

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