12 Joe A Days of Xmas Day 5: Combat Pay
Everybody sing along: Five GI Joe Combat Pay Dollars! Isn’t the five gold rings verse everbody’s favorite part of the 12 Days song? It’s the one everyone knows, to be sure. Some people even belt it out louder than any other. Eddie Izzard thinks so too.
Combat Pay was an offer tied to the 1990 series of GI Joe figures. Packages included special themed “play money” available in denominations from $5 to $10,000. Poor Snake Eyes ended up on the fiver. I wonder who was on the ten grand bill? Anyway, the money could be redeemed for items from the tie-in Get Tough catalog. Merchandise included Joe branded posters, shirts, hats, sunglasses and other non-Joe items like basketballs and baseballs, as well as some decidedly 90s products like a Vision Street Wear fanny pack. Nice.
A special serial numbered stub was also attached to the Combat Pay. For three months during the Fall of 1990, a serial number was announced during the then-new DIC animated GI Joe TV show. Winners could claim more than 2,000 prizes. So yes, not only was DIC paying Hasbro to produce a cartoon, but Hasbro was effectively paying kids to watch DIC’s cartoon. Talk about paying it forward–or backward, in this case. Give credit where it’s due however, as Combat Pay was a pretty impressive attempt at a one-two punch of marketing both the Joe toys and television show with a product pack-in.