In the late 1970's the Fisher-Price toy company marketed the very first series of Muppet Show toys to be sold across North America. One of their marketing tools was to place advertisements in magazines. I've searched online to see how many of the Muppet Show ads I could find, and came up with eight images. Some of these images aren't the best quality, but it's what was available so I've posted them all here. (I'll replace the bad images eventually if I ever find better copies.) These ads are very helpful in understanding how the collection grew over time and the order in which the characters were marketed. At least one of the ads was placed in Family Circle magazine (which is still in circulation!), however I don't know for certain what magazines the other ads were found in as the images are too small. I only know that the ads exist! It's possible that they are all from the same magazine, or several different magazines.
This ad is likely from 1976 or 1977 as it shows only Kermit and Fozzie which were the first two Muppet Show characters that Fisher-Price marketed. It's interesting that the Muppets are the only licenced character toys in this ad. To my knowledge all the other toys were wholly designed and owned by the Fisher-Price company.
Here's an appearance of the Kermit doll on it's own. Fisher-Price was also producing the Sesame Street Little People playset at the time, as well as the Oscar the Grouch pull toy seen in the center at the top directly beneath the "F" in Fisher. I suspect this is also from 1976 or 1977.
This ad is likely from late 1976 or early 1977 as it shows a prototype of the Rowlf the Dog puppet. Rowlf's face looks to have been made using the same fur fabric as his body, rather than the light brown fabric that the actual toy was made with. His head is also smaller than it will be on the actual toy.
Above and below are two images that look like they may have all been from the same magazine, though it's possible that they were from a separate magazines. They were found separately online. Above is a two page spread with all five of the Muppet plush toys that were available in 1977. Animal and Scooter were added to the series after Rowlf. The small text around the ads is likely a non-related article. Unfortunately the digital image isn't very big, so it's a tad blurry. The image below is quite large so that the text can be read. Next to Miss Piggy there is some text discussing sexuality and menopause, which is an odd location for a Muppet toy ad in my opinion! :)
This add is very similar to the one at the top of this page with the Kermit and Fozzie dolls. In this case however it's the Miss Piggy puppet and the Kermit doll. As the Miss Piggy toy has a 1977 copyright date on the tag, this add could be from 1977 to 1979.
This image isn't a Fisher-Price magazine ad, at least not that I know of. I found the image online and wanted to include in somewhere on the blog, so this seemed like the right place. If this is an actual photo, it would have been from 1978 to 1979. The items on the top shelf are all from 1978, so it couldn't have been an earlier photo. It's possible that this is from a Fisher-Price catalogue and is intended to show retailers how to display the Muppet toys in their store.
Here is the first ad for the Fisher-Price Muppet Dress-Up dolls that were marketed in 1981. By this time the above series of Muppet plush toys had been discontinued, with exception of the bean bag dolls seen on the top shelf in the above store photo.
Here is the second ad for the Dress-Up dolls featuring the Great Gonzo doll, which was added to the series in late 1981 or in early 1982. A bean bag doll of Great Gonzo was also marketed at the same time as part of the bean bag series, but it isn't seen in any of these ads.