Saturday, January 09, 2010

On the tenth day of GoBots, Target gave to me...A name worse than Tobor

Target 12/25/84
If you listen to any interview with the people responsible for naming Transformers they're always harping on how important Hasbro feels it is to have strong names for the robots. But what's stupid is Hasbro either goes super dramatic or extremely plain with their names-there's no jokey middle ground. You can't just name a helicopter robot "Cop-Tur" and expect Hasbro to go along with it. Hasbro's policy with names seems like it's gotta either be superpowerful sizzletastic or be extremely bland. It's gotta be "CopterBlast" or "Heli-mus Coptorus" but if those are already taken (and they usually aren't) they'll settle for "Blades". That's why GoBot names were a lot more fun. Today's ad is for a GoBot robot cap gun made by Arco, except this is the version of the toy before it became a GoBot. RoGun would eventually become part of the GoBots toyline once Arco got the GoBot license. For GoBots they'd slightly redo the packaging but Tonka knew a good thing when they saw it and they kept the name. The main packaging change for the GoBot version was they plastered the GoBots logo over the area where RoGun's box originally spelled out the concept with "It's a robot. It's a gun. RoGun", which is probably the most ridiculous line of ad copy in the history of roboplastic marketing. Unlike working for Hasbro, naming toy robots and designing packaging for Arco must have been the easiest job in the world. I'll bet that guy still can't believe they paid him for that one. I know I can't.


Rob said...

Was there also a RoCar, RoPlane, RoTank, RoMicroscope, and RoRadio?

Colin said...

I love Tobor. He holds a place of pride in my third bedroom of robotdom.

Evil King Macrocranios said...

Hey Rob you missed RoBoat! Some GoBot names are so uninspired I wish Tonka did name them that way. They'd be improvements over naming a scooter "Scooter", a tank "Tank", a locomotive "Loco" and the watches they named "Tic Toc" and "Gong".

Colin I could open up a whole wing at the Vintage Space Toaster Palace with nothing but Tobor ads. Tobor got a ton of advertising back in the 70s and a lot of it was multiple paragraphs in the style of the Rascal Robots ad I posted a while back. Tobor did have some functionality to him beyond the average robot but still some of those ads are ridiculous. I think that's just how they rolled in the 70s.

Rob said...

RoBoat...that's genius! I also thought of RoGain, a robot that transforms into a wig, and RoMance, a robot that transforms into a scented candle.

The poetry and prose in that Rascal Robot ad was great! That style needs to make a comeback.


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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.