The Power of Packaging: 1984 Mutt Cardback
The 1980s GI Joe line continued the tradition of compelling package art that began all the way back in 1964. The gritty, realistic paintings of Joe’s original incarnation sold a world of adventure via a cardboard coffin box. The Adventure Team era took things to a bold new level in selling a toy based on box art (what 70s kid didn’t want a figure that was shouting at them right from the cover of its package?) By the time of the Real American Hero series, toys were also promoted via comic books and cartoons. Not that the card art needed much help to practically jump off of a peg and tell us unsuspecting kids “Buy me!” In retrospect, we really didn’t stand a chance against such insidious marketing.
I think that the card art played as much a role of getting me to pick up this figure as the toy inside did. I remember being just a little disappointed that the figure inside didn’t totally match up with the painted portrayal. The helmet/muzzle combo really bugged me–it just seemed too big and unwieldy. My Mutt rarely wore both. I did keep the cardback around for quite a while. One of my favorite pieces of GI Joe package art, for sure.