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The He-Man Effect: How American Toymakers Sold You Your Childhood (2023)

af Brian Brown

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"Powered by the advent of television and super-charged by the deregulation era of the 1980s, media companies and toy manufacturers joined forces to dominate the psyches of American children. But what are the consequences when a developing brain is saturated with the same kind of marketing bombardment found in Red Scare propaganda? Brian "Box" Brown's The He-Man Effect shows how corporate manipulation brought muscular, accessory-stuffed action figures to dizzying heights in the 1980s and beyond. Bringing beloved brands like He-Man, Transformers, My Little Pony, and even Mickey Mouse himself into the spotlight, this graphic history exposes a world with no rules and no concern for results beyond profit."--Amazon.… (mere)
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Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC!

This is fascinating! I love it when a graphic novel uses it's format to inform, and entertain at the same time. It was especially interesting how war, propaganda and advertising played such a huge role in our childhood memories. A fascinating (and a little terrifying!) slice of history. ( )
  eboods | Feb 28, 2024 |
A depressing but lively look at how toy corporations have been grooming children for the past century to make them brand-loyal consumers whose nostalgia will keep them worshiping at corporate IP altars their whole lives.

The irony of course is that as Box Brown points out how nostalgia has made us marketing prisoners I spend most of the book going, "Ooh, I remember those!" as he discusses various toys and story franchises. And with his last few books about Tetris, Andre the Giant, and Andy Kaufman, Brown is no stranger to exploiting pop culture nostalgia for his own book sales.

Brown cites the Netflix "Toys That Made Us" documentary series several times. If you haven't had a chance, that show is as fun and enlightening as this. ( )
  villemezbrown | Sep 12, 2023 |
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We were psychological terrorists, I think, with He-Man. [Mattel executive] Mark Ellis said it at the time: 'We burned it into their little pea brains.' And we did.
- Paul Cleveland, former senior vice president of marketing at Mattel
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Humanity's greatest asset may be the power of our imagination.
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"Powered by the advent of television and super-charged by the deregulation era of the 1980s, media companies and toy manufacturers joined forces to dominate the psyches of American children. But what are the consequences when a developing brain is saturated with the same kind of marketing bombardment found in Red Scare propaganda? Brian "Box" Brown's The He-Man Effect shows how corporate manipulation brought muscular, accessory-stuffed action figures to dizzying heights in the 1980s and beyond. Bringing beloved brands like He-Man, Transformers, My Little Pony, and even Mickey Mouse himself into the spotlight, this graphic history exposes a world with no rules and no concern for results beyond profit."--Amazon.

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