Focusing on the first year of Hasbro G.I. Joe action figures, we look at the commercials that kicked off an amazing era

Welcome to a trip through a visual wonderland of televised commercial nostalgia! Here we are focusing on 1982 and that first year of promotion presenting the initial commercials supporting G.I. Joe action figures. We’re serving them up in the order Hasbro rolled them out. In addition to being just plain fun, it’s equally interesting to watch how the company evolved the presentation of its product, even in those early days. Join us for a walk through a bit of toy history, 30 seconds at a time!

Let’s kick things off with the first commercial for the G.I. Joe toys! It followed on the heel of the very first modern G.I. Joe commercial which ran in support of the Marvel Comics series. The spot that follows gave the world its initial look at a toy line that would become an icon of the era.

This next commercial introduced the FLAK Attack Cannon and the Rapid Fire Motorcycle (RAM) with the Breaker action figure in the focus. Breaker was one of the original figures released and carded in series a series of sixteen figures back in 1982.

In this next commercial Hasbro featured a similar mix of accessories but decided to use the spot to introduce kids to the broader battle between G.I. Joe and Cobra. That said, you should know in advance… It’s a trap!

Cobra Commander would be a villain whose name we would come to know well. Originally created by Marvel Comics writer Larry Hama, conceptually Hama saw him as a character who was “in love with the sound of his own voice” and he would live up to that plan over the years. When this commercial first aired he was new to us in the toy world. Join us as Hasbro gives him his action figure introduction.

The stories of G.I. Joe have become legend among collectors but this next commercial was framed as actually presenting to fans “The Legend of G.I. Joe”. This is a concept and tag line which arose again in the product catalog of the period and associated promotional materials. Here is that story.

Vehicles, right alongside the action figures, were always a drawing force for early fandom and this commercial featured the Attack Vehicle (VAMP), HAL, MMS, and the Rapid Fire Motorcycle (RAM). These had a lot of kids (me included) begging parents to head to the toy store.

I don’t know about you, but I always wanted a tank in my toy arsenal. I was fascinated with the vehicles and their perceived power when I was little. Here, I clearly remember this commercial dropping my jaw and making my 1982 Christmas list instantly! See if you do not agree.

Of course, this is just the tip of the video iceberg when it comes to G.I. Joe commercials. They would run in support of the toy line for several years. Those commercials would evolve along with the product line and we invite you to keep an eye on future CompleteSet Stories where we will cover more of that action packed history.

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