I have heard that during the telecast of the G.I. Joe TV series, advertisements pertaining to the G.I. Joe action figures were disallowed because it was assumed that viewers were too stupid to differentiate between the series and the figures.

Is there any proof for this claim?

  • 1
    I can say that it is false at least in the 80's. That or our local channel was breaking the law. But who knows? Because knowing is half the battle! GO JOE!
    – Chad
    Dec 29, 2011 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


Not during the 80s and G.I. Joe but the show and others like it were part of the reason that broadcast rules were changed. In 1990 the government passed the Children's Television Act. The entirety of it can be read here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d101:HR01677:@@@L&summ2=m&

Besides setting rules for local TV stations on how many hours of Educational children's programming they must show each week, the act also limits the amount of commercials on children's TV and the type of commercials that can be shown. Much of this was done in response to studies such as this one http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-4560.1991.tb01811.x/abstract According to the abstract the study shows that young children, under ages 7-8, are not able to differentiate between the commercials persuasive intent to sell them something and the show they are watching. This is especially true in cases where the TV show is based on a toy line such as G.I. Joe, Thundercats, Rainbow Brite, etc. which had advertisements for the toy product during the show. The FCC still enforces this rule as seen here where they fined a TV station for showing an Eggo commercial during Pokemon because the Eggos in question featured an image of Pikachu. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2008/03/fcc-fends-off-fleeting-pokemon-attack.ars

The article also explains the Children's Television Act in plain language.

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