Advertising & Promotion 200 – Pre-Pack and 10-Pack Display Case

The mid-1980’s were pivotal time in the history of toys. A deregulation of advertising aimed at children essentially allowed TV shows to become commercials. Toy makers could sell an entire line of toys through the show instead of one item at a time in commercials. It also gave toy makers the opportunity to have a profitable franchise not only at retail but also in television. As if these infomercial-type shows were not enough, they could have commercials for their toys during the commercial breaks.

This deregulation changed children’s television and has at times been credited with creating Saturday morning cartoons. Bernard Loomis also deserves the credit for Saturday morning cartoons too. Deregulation meant toy companies could reach their target audience during two peak viewing times: after school and Saturday morning cartons.

There were a bevy of toys that reaped the benefits of deregulation: He-Man, GI Joe, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, etc. These toy lines established an identifiable brand for both children and parents. Once buyers were in the retail environment toy makers needed to grab parents’ and/or children’s attention and remind them about the brand. This was accomplished first through an abundance of bin headers and shelf talkers that were designed to incorporate into common display areas (shelves, bins, hanging hooks). The second was the toy and its packaging.

Mattel did not have a recognizable brand with M.U.S.C.L.E. in 1986. They needed to generate interest and draw attention to a completely unrecognizable product. The 4-, 10-, and 28-packs attempted to do this, and are examined closer in History 100. These packaged toys still needed added help and Mattel employed two methods:

  • The first of their methods was to create an interesting, colorful, and identifiable display – the M.U.S.C.L.E. Pre-Pack.
  • The second method was a intriguing and unique display – the 10-Pack Display Case.

The M.U.S.C.L.E. Pre-Pack

The 10-Pack Display Case

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