|Los Angeles 04 April 1985||TV Guide Chicago (date unknown)|
YEAH THOSE FIVE GIANT COMBINING ROBOT SPACE LIONS WERE TOTAL RIP OFFS OF OUR SHOW ABOUT A LIPSTICK WEARING SPORTS CAR AND A ROBOT SCOOTER
Every time I found an old ad for the GoBots cartoon in some old newspaper I got a little sad because I could never find a way to blog about them without it reading like an obituary for a robot show long gone. But the news that the Warner Archives is going to put out Challenge of the GoBots on DVD is just the Baron Von Joyous occasion I was looking for to break out this stuff in celebration of this most significant of American cartoon robot shows. The two ads above use the same graphic but the text is slightly different, with one of them implying boldly that every other cartoon robot show was a ripoff of GoBots! Voltron definitely had the jump on CotG and depending on where you lived the Transformers may have aired first, too. I love how this ad tries to make up for that by using the popularity of the other shows as a gauge by which new viewers can estimate their love of GoBots (even though all GoBots really had in common with other robot shows was the element of transformation). I don't have a date for the one on the right because I got it from an eBay seller who goes through old TV Guides and clips out the ads, then puts them up in lots arranged by theme. Consequently all I got was the ad with no date information on it. It is interesting to note that in Chicago the five parter was shown over five Sundays, while in Los Angeles they ran it all in the space of one week.
CHANGING INTO A MOTORCYCLE WAS EASY, THE REAL CHALLENGE FOR CY-KILL WAS CHANGING THE CHANNEL
Houston, TX 11/07/85
Now I don't know who was directly responsible for putting GoBots ads in TV Guides and local newspaper entertainment sections but they did a good job. It may have been the show's distributor or Tonka's advertising agency Jordan, Case & McGrath that handled this sort of advertising-I don't know. In any case, the show got a lot more advertising in Sunday papers than I've been able to find for the Transformers or Voltron. And what fun ads they were! I've never seen anything quite like the one to the right from a paper in Houston, Texas where Crasher and Cy-Kill are having an argument over his addiction to the GoBots cartoon. Shawn's blog Branded in the 80s also has another TV Guide Challenge of the GoBots ad from September 16, 1985 where Cy-Kill is daring the viewer to watch the show. Such fourth wall breaking is unusual in toy robots ads but it's not entirely unheard of. There was one September 11, 1985 Voltron ad in entertainment industry publication Variety where the non-lion Voltron characters talked about the upcoming Voltron season. Then again, Voltron the robot never talked or watched television like Cy-Kill. These GoBots ads are still unique for being the only place I've seen robot characters talking to viewers and each other about the show.
Variety 27 March 1985
GO'D BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!
Speaking of Variety, from 1985 through 1987 the worldwide distributor for the Challenge of the GoBots cartoon ran a couple of ads that stand out as some of the coolest GoBots related stuff I've ever seen. Initially the ads featured an often used GoBot promotional image of Leader-1, Scooter and Turbo flying over the CotG logo. In subsequent years as the GoBots became part of the Hanna Barbera family of cartoon characters, Leader-1 was occasionally seen alongside classic characters like Yogi Bear, the Jetsons, the Flinstones and even Space Ghost. The first time I saw these "cartoon character parade" ads with Leader-1 hanging out with the other Hanna Barbera greats I was surprised because I'd never seen any GoBots depicted as part of that lineage. I didn't think Hanna Barbera considered their licensed cartoon characters part of the family so much as they were disposable entities to be erased from all memory once their popularity on the toy shelves faded. But here we had Leader-1 towering above all others just like he was one of the gang, proudly carrying the flag representing great American toy robot cartoon storytelling. I cannot express how awesome it feels to know that once again Leader-1 and the GoBot gang are receiving a bit of recognition and acceptance amongst the other gone-but-not-forgotten Hanna Barbera classics with the upcoming DVD on demand release of Challenge of the GoBots. Somewhere in heaven Cy-Kill is firing up his DVD player.
|Variety 30 April 1986||Variety 15 April 1987|