Tie in Merchandise Adverts: A Tale of Ladybirds & Pancakes

Ladybird Books – The Transformers

Ladybird Books are a British publishing company which released several Transformers storybooks and audio cassettes under their “Tell-A-Tale” line from 1985 to 1988 and during this period these titles were all written by John Grant.

Existing in their own continuity outside of the then Generation One continuity, the books draw from various sources. However, the 1986 books spin their stories out of the Marvel UK comic story arc “Target 2006”, describing the events of that story as the reason for Ultra Magnus and Galvatron replacing Optimus Prime and Megatron.

The writers of the books were not above doing their own thing, although they remain one of the few early Generation One continuities to employ the principle of “robots in disguise” consistently. The early books make a point of the Autobots wishing to carry out their conflict under secrecy and thus preventing humans from becoming aware of their existence.

The artwork is very heavily influenced by the toy line, evident with a headless Ratchet & Ironhide and Megatron with his unfortunately positioned trigger !

Dubious artwork aside the stories were well written containing good plots that immersed the reader in the Transformers battles on Earth.

Below is an advert for the three book & tape pack (which I remember picking up way back when from a local ASDA – Walmart in the U.S.) and also the individual releases.

Stories included were;

  • Autobots Fight Back
  • Megatrons Fight for Power
  • Autobots Lightning Strike

Findus Crispy Pancakes – The Return of Optimus Prime

No self respecting kid growing up in the 80’s would have passed on the chance of a tea that comprised of Findus Crispy Pancakes. These awesome breadcrumb covered pancakes wrapped around fillings such as mince & onion, chicken & mushroom, ham & cheese or just plain cheese.

All of which were more than a suitable source of energy for any Transformer that happened to find themselves stranded here on earth ….. especially in the UK.

As you can see from this one page advert back in 1990, there was a promotion tie in

with the release of The Return of Optimus Prime on VHS (that’s video tape for our

younger readers).

Many years later we would discover that the “mince” was actually horse meat !

Hmm, yummy … Transform and gallop out !

If your feeling nostalgic you could check out the advert for them below, influenced I would say by the then popular book and series “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 & 3/4’s”

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