Introduction – The Golden Era of LEGO Advertising:
The period of the 1980s-1990s was arguably the golden age of LEGO advertising. With handmade scenery and practical effects, advertising photographers were able to do wonders. Back then, flipping through the catalogs and brochures that accompanied each set was always a treat.
Outside of loose brochures, LEGO frequently placed colorful advertisements within the pages of popular comic books. In Europe, Donald Duck comics were quite popular. In fact, the ad featured in this article came straight out of a German Donald Duck comic book.
Enter Jim Blond:
Different regions often produced different types of advertisements, and this one was certainly unique. This 1995 ad was designed to promote LEGO’s 9-Volt trains by sponsoring a special contest in which kids could win a t-shirt, roller skates or a mountain bike (the grand prize).
LEGO gave special attention to this ad, going so far as to paste a special brochure which featured comic-book style illustrations. The artists blended together hand-drawn artwork with photographs of actual LEGO sets. The end results were often bright, colorful and fun to look at.
The story in this ad follows the exploits of action-adventure detective, Jim Blond. Who is Jim Blond, you might ask? Mix together James Bond’s name with TinTin’s hair, and add a splash of Johnny Quest…That’s the recipe for a perfect Jim Blond.
In the “comic,” Jim Blond is tasked with safely delivering a special microchip to Cape Canaveral. Those spaceships don’t fly themselves, you know! After being handed the chip, he boards the iconic Metroliner (set #4558). Little does he know, he is not alone…
Turns out, some dude named Karl Kralle has been following him the entire time. Having caught wind of his persuer, Blond attempts to escape by jumping on a passing Freight Rail Runner (set #4564). Kralle manages to catch up with him, but Blond is always one step ahead.
Sets 4555 (Cargo Station) and 4552 (Cargo Crane) also make brief appearances. In fact, Kralle’s cronies use the Cargo Crane to blow out a bridge. However, the missing section of track proves to be no match for the mighty Freight Rail Runner, which makes like E.T. by flying over the gap. The final panel consists of Blond watching a successful shuttle launch on TV. THE END
International Man of Mystery:
When I attempted to research this piece of advertising, I found surprisingly very little information on Jim Blond or if he appeared in any other LEGO advertising. It is possible this may have been his first and last appearance. If any of our German readers have any information on the elusive Mr. Blond, we’d love to hear from you!