The GI Joe Case
History and Current Situation
Released in 1964, G.I. Joe was marketed to children as the “Real American Hero”. G.I. Joe marked the birth of the action figure, a doll for boys. The toy was the creation of Stan Weston and the of the Hasbro team. Today Hasbro is the second-largest toymaker in the United States. It has become a $3 billion sales year player over the last 20 years, with 16% of the market share. Most of this growth has come from acquisitions, creating a toy market oligopoly. G.I. Joe is one of the companies most prized possessions. Few toy brands have even narrowed the gap created by G.I. Joe’s success, stemming from the market longevity the toy has realized. Its brand awareness remains incredibly high to this day, having successfully been re-released three times with peak sale volumes. Its past three re-launches have been coupled with a media campaign wrangling in product extensions, cartoon shows, and comic books.
The industry, however, has changed drastically in the last decade. Instead of wanting brand longevity and long-term strategies, manufacturers have adopted a more short-term goals oriented strategy based on the creation of the “must have” attitude among their target market, an effect that would spike over the holiday season. Lifecycles within the industry are also getting waning, with 70% of sales belonging to toys released within the last 3 to 4 years. Retailers joined manufacturers in the ideological shift. Now multipurpose department stores were the primary location to purchase toys, with the top five players comprising 75% of sales of toys in 2003.
The G.I. Joe product has become a staple of American culture. Its brand awareness is one of the strongest in the industry, with a reputation spanning the globe. Being an integral part of Hasbro, it possesses all the assets one would expect of the second largest toy manufacturer in the United States. One of those key assets is an inordinate...
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