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G.I. Joe takes the world by storm - History of the Real American Hero from 1989-1995

By 1989 G.I. Joe was the best selling action figure in the United States and was being marketed in other countries around the world. Not bad conquering the world by the age of 25, but the producers at Hasbro were not ready to settle there. COBRA, was G.I. Joes greatest competition and the dynamic of good and bad made for a more interesting story line to the G.I. Joe, Real American Hero plot.

By the early 90’s G.I. Joe found himself in a battle with COBRA who’s main goal was to destruct the Earth’s environment. The action figure boxes even came with eco-facts for the young audience to read. This was done in an attempt to heighten youth awareness about important issues such as the environment.

G.I. Joe was also conducting new marketing strategies in the early nineties with live action commercials and a partnership with Target stores across the United States to help boost the brand. The attempts were successful. When the original 12 inch G.I. Joe was reintroduced in a marketing test with Target stores, the entire shipment of 25,000 figures sold out in one day.

In keeping with tradition of using G.I. Joe to heighten youth awareness about certain topics, G.I. Joe took on his next adversary in 1992. It was that year that G.I. JOE called in to help the Drug Elimination Force (D.E.F.) to combat drugs. Hasbro even went as far as coordinating in school teaching programs to warn children of the dangers of drugs.

The popularity of the 12 inch G.I. Joe action figures also prompted Hasbro to manufacture 12 inch Duke, Stalker, Cobra, Commander and Snake Eyes action figures. They were also a huge success.

In 1993 G.I. Joe is broken into separate armies including Battle Corps (military), Star Brigade (space), Ninja Force (martial arts), Hall of Fame (12-inch figures), and Mega-Marines (Monsters). This was also the same year that G.I. Joe was introduced in a video game.

G.I. Joe turned 30 in 1994 and Hasbro celebrated their soldier’s birthday with commemorative figures, new characters in the Battle Corps, Star Brigade, Hall of Fame and Ninja Force. As well as a full fledged advertising campaign including television, print and a mail in promotion.

About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of Action Figure resources
, For more information on Action Figures check out

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