Many brands have used toys to promote their products. We have already mentioned a few examples in this blog. Toys make products more attractive to children and therefore sell better. I can remember staying in front of all those cereal boxes, trying to choose one among all of them. I liked Kelloggs, but also Chex, so I always checked thoroughly which boxes came with something inside or how many points did I need to get whatever, and then I decided what to buy. My parents didn’t care much, as long as I ate them at home.
One of those times, I arrived to the supermarket, and I saw the boxes there: Kelloggs offered then G.I. Joes! My favourite action figures! Now it doesn’t surprise me at all that Kelloggs offered this product, because those small figures were very appealing to children, and Kelloggs expected with it to sweep competitors out of the shelves. At the time it was a big surprise though. With some research, this promotion arrived to Spain in 1990. In the same promotion, to cover both boys and girls, you could also choose some “My Little Pony” figures.
To get one figure, you had to collect 6 points that could be found in different packets of cereals together with your name, address and so on. The small packets (375 grams) came with one point, while the big packets (500 grams) came with 2 points. I had a hard challenge: I had to eat more cereals than usual. I only got the points with a small “trick”. I had to convince my mother to buy me two packets instead of one when the promotion was already in its last days (the due date was 31st December 1990). That way, I got my last two points and I was ready to send the letter to Kelloggs.
But which figure to choose? The figures looked great on the box. There were 6 possible choices:
|This picture was originally posted by "Croc Master" in "Casa Slaughter"|
- Gung-Ho v2
- Storm Shadow v2
They are numbered GJ.1 to GJ.6. Lifeline does not appear in my picture.
From these 6 figures, Gung-Ho, Astro-Viper and Lifeline belonged to the previous wave, while Hardball, Storm Shadow and Lightfoot were “new”. I guess this fact had a heavy impact in my decision: I finally chose Hardball, don’t know why, but it was a very meditated decision.
I don’t know if you have noticed that the figures depicted do not include almost any weapons… only Storm Shadow was able to keep his sword. This is obviously a decision taken by Kelloggs, not to be accused of leading kids to violence. Gung-Ho has lost his sword, Hardball his super-rifle, Astro-Viper the two laser cannons, Storm Shadow his claw and his bow, while Lightfoot is complete.
These pictures were not only intended for the package. You really got what was depicted there. I discovered that when I received the letter, and the figure came only with its backpack… such a disappointment! I haven’t recovered yet. The figure came in an envelope, maybe “bagged”, I’m not sure anymore, but there was no trace of its blister card, filecard, or whatever.
Back to the figures, one of them had a small difference: Lifeline came only with the briefcase and the backpack, however, there’s something special about this figure. In Spain, I have heard that the figure was the same that was available on cards, but in America, the figure was a variant. This alternative version of Lifeline came with different legs (taken from Frostbite). The reason? Original Lifeline figure carried a gun on his thigh, so Kelloggs probably ordered the figures with this small change.
|Mail-away Lifeline - Legs detail|
The promotion in America was completely different. It consisted in only one figure (Lifeline) which was available only in Rice Krispies. There’s a single image on the internet of a Rice Krispies box. I found it in http://www.joeaday.com/
There you can clearly see, that there was only one G.I.Joe and one My Little Pony available, but you also got some discounts on toys, unfortunately the resolution of the picture is very poor to read more.
The figure of Lifeline was also available in America in a Mail-Away promo. Most figures which are seen on the internet for sale are not from the Kelloggs promotion, but from Hasbro’s mail-in offers. I think mine comes from the mail-away offer. This second version came bagged and included a small leaflet, which can also be seen here in my pictures. The catalogue is from 1991, and offers a picture of the first 6 figures from the Ninja Force. The figures used in the pictures are clearly prototypes.
This details I give here are only for the promotion in Spain… I am not sure if it was different in other countries. To finish the article, I leave this video from YouTube, with the original TV commercial for this promotion. It's only 5 seconds.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: LIFELINE "MAIL-AWAY" or "MAIL-IN"
- Alternate Names: DOC (Spain)
- Toy Line: G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero
- Year: 1991
- Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
- Size of the figures: 11 cms or 3,75’’