Good Marketing by Hasbro

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by ams, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. ams

    ams Generation All Veteran

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    With the recent sightings of new Animated Deluxes and Activators, and pictures of upcoming Deluxes and Voyagers, I'm seeing a pretty smart marketing move by our friends in Rhode Island.

    Rewind to 2007 for some history... Animated was on deck so Hasbro could switch gears and capitalize on it if the movie and its toyline did poorly... it was a "if you didn't like those apples, here are some oranges for you" move. Good planning, I'd say.

    When the movie toyline DID end up doing well and retailers wanted to extend it, it had an adverse effect on Animated toy sales, at least partially because the show debuted months prior to toys being on the shelves. The whole thing was a rock-and-a-hard-place scenario for Hasbro, and a bummer for many TFA fans.

    Fast-forward to today... I was just thinking that having new Animated toys hit right now and in the coming months is right on from a marketing standpoint. The initial rush/excitement of the movie toyline has died down, and the coming months are bringing more variations on that theme. Enter more Animated toys, and we've got a freshening up and diversification of shelf space PLUS more stylistic options for both kids and collectors. Good news for everybody. The only thing I could think of that might be a good companion piece to the new toys would be a 90-min. straight-to-DVD video of some kind.

    Anybody else think that in spite of rumors to the contrary, Hasbro DOES actually know what they're doing? :lol 
     
  2. Scantron

    Scantron Well-Known Member

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    I think it make sense. Also, with the movie hype dying down, retailers might be looking to cut down on the amount of space devoted to RotF. Having new Animated stuff coming out would allow Hasbro to keep more shelf space for Transformers, in general, even if the space for RotF decreases.

    Or TFA Season 3 finally coming out on DVD.
     
  3. Pimpimus Prime

    Pimpimus Prime (┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌∩┐) TFW2005 Supporter

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    I have faith in Hasbro as far as the Star Wars and G.I. Joe lines go.. but the decisions made by the TF team often don't make any sense to me.

    The straight to DVD movie is an interesting thought. This could also be the reason why we haven't heard anything about season three being released on DVD.
     
  4. Hyperoptic

    Hyperoptic G1-Junkie

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    IMO, the release of new Animated toys at this point is a result of the holiday season being in affect, more than a movie momentum calculation.
     
  5. NotoriousBIC

    NotoriousBIC Prime Suspect

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    Looking at how the market operates, I would say that it's at best opportunistic. Bear with me on this...

    Keep in mind that Hasbro doesn't sell directly to us consumers. They sell to the big retail chains. There are only a three or so big ones in North America and only 6 comparable ones in Europe (sorry don't know Asia). They have to pitch a toy line concept to a retail chain, they don't sell individual models. No retail chain will actually scrutinize the individual figures as we do over here.

    Now, picture yourself as a toy retailer and the marketeers pitch you 3 concepts within 2 years time:
    1) Transformers toys based on a multi-million dollar, blockbuster movie
    2) Transformers toys based on a Cartoon Network TV-series
    3) Transformers toys based on a multi-million dollar, blockbuster movie, which is a sequel to a multi-million dollar, blockbuster movie, which had a successful toy line associated with it.
    (yes, I'm disregarding Classics and 25th Anniversary for the moment)

    Now it's easy to see how Animated got between a rock and a hard place. Hasbro simply couldn't get all the figures sold to the retail chains in between the movies. This is where Hasbro imho planned poorly. They expended alot of toy development money and they have to recoup that somehow and the way they're doing it is by releasing those long-awaited Animated toys.

    Capitalizing on opportunities is not a bad thing, it is in the very definition of good marketing. However I don't think any long-term vision had anything to do with it.
     
  6. DeathStorm

    DeathStorm Snoochie Boochies

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    I have a masters in marketing and, from my experience, Hasbro does a decent job at regularly rolling out toys. There are misses at times, but that holds true for most toy lines.

    I think their current trend is more out of necessity though. They have to maintain an interest in the brand of Transformers and they have no movie or series to capitalize on (although, arguably, the movie capitalization will continue through the 1st Quarter of 2010, 6-9 months after the movie is released is the usual window for marketing the toys related to a film).

    Their main target audience shifts from kids to collectors during this time because those are the main audience to buy recolors of the same figure. This not only attracts the older, completist collector but also the fledgling one who is just starting and wants to have everything they can.

    That may be a factor, but the audience for these Animated toys aren't the same ones they had when the series was active. These are for the collectors.. Odds are they aren't producing as many of these toys since it's a smaller audience and the movie toys are in the forefront.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  7. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    Call me pessimistic, but I don't know if that was the motivation for the newer animated stuff. I think that the line did well enough, and there was enough interest from collectors/fans to justify producing the remaining animated figures, and there's resources available to do so now that the "movie rush" is somewhat over with. The designs exist, to the point that we've seen figures that seemed extremely close to being ready for release, and that it was probably seen as silly to not release product that would likely sell reasonably well after all the cost that had gone into designing it. That they can possibly get more shelf space or diversify their product line to different customer tastes is probably an afterthought, as the transformers brand is so strong now that entire rows can be filled with the same wave of movie deluxes and they will still sell.

    Don't get me wrong, I think its great that the animated line is continuing in some way, even if a significant chunk of it is repaints (but then again, that's usually the case for any tf line, and I realize that pretty much every figure gets a repaint sooner or later as a way of offsetting design costs, so it's not that I'm complaining). That we're finally seeing the release of a bunch of great looking figures we've been waiting for a long time is a good thing, both for Hasbro and the fans. And if I'm wrong and this is actually a masterful marketing ploy by Hasbro, more power to them, because it seems to have worked out well for them.
     
  8. Bumblethumper

    Bumblethumper old misery guts

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    As big a fan of Animated as I am, I think these will shelfwarm. I still see a lot of Animated stuff warming shelves even at heavy discounts.

    - Makes matters worse that they seem to be starting with the repaints. The worry is that they'll never sell out the repaint wave. They should've at least upgraded the packaging. No one's gonna notice these. They'll think it's old stock.

    If it were up to me, I'd freshen up the packaging, and do a comic featuring the characters. Pack it with each voyager, like was done with the jet twins, and the title of the comic would become the name of the new subline.


    A direct to video would be awesome, but realistically, I'd be very surprised if it happened.
     
  9. lieutenantjazz

    lieutenantjazz Autobot

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    I think this is GENIUS! You may hit this right on the bullseye.
     
  10. lieutenantjazz

    lieutenantjazz Autobot

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    Also a very good idea, on the packaging. Put some bling on it! Serious. :thumb 
     
  11. AniProwl

    AniProwl Banned

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    The 90 minute DTV would be the real conclusion to Animated, not the cheesy one we got last May.
     
  12. lieutenantjazz

    lieutenantjazz Autobot

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    Wouldn't it be AWESOME to see a full length movie of Animated. Sweet!
     
  13. ams

    ams Generation All Veteran

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    Agreed. Something as simple as a gold border around the card (or whatever) would certainly make it pop.
     
  14. Grimlock_13

    Grimlock_13 Reformed Geewunner

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    I totally agree with Bumblethumper...judging by the shelves here and pictures I see that people post of the shelves in their homehowns Animated toys from Summer 2008 are still on shelves and the new toys are going to blend right in. Honestly I think rather than all new packaging Hasbro should have just stuck them in RoTF packaging in spite of the garnd canyon-esque gap in aestetics. I know some fans would throw a shitfit about that but fans aren't the target market. Kids would look at it and see a new movie toy.

    BUT I'm just speaking from what pops in my head, believe me I'm no marketing expert.
     
  15. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    Couldn't be that expensive to just slap an attention-drawing foil sticker on the packaging they've already got, either. It's not a bad idea.

    It's also probably for the best that the majority of upcoming figures are at the deluxe scale (Are there any new larger figures besides Bulkhead? Is it known what he'll be cased with?), as that size point seems to be selling the best. I can't say I see good things for that upcoming bulkhead in terms of sales though...
     
  16. Grimlock_13

    Grimlock_13 Reformed Geewunner

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    Looks like Thundercracker and Wingblade Prime based off the thread in N&R. Voyager Blackout is also on the way at some point too.
     
  17. ams

    ams Generation All Veteran

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    Another concern that's been identified by some responses here is, will there be sufficient marketing (or ANY marketing) to help differentiate new TFA from the old stock that's been on the pegs/shelves for the last year?

    Certainly could have a dramatic impact on sales.
     
  18. Dran0n

    Dran0n Junk male

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    Very good job on Hasbro's part.
     
  19. NotoriousBIC

    NotoriousBIC Prime Suspect

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    If they were truly banking on collectors then this will go bust. We all know that the collectors market size is only a fraction of the total market size. It is extremely hard to close a business case for mass retail using such a small target demographic. Even if Hasbro tries to pitch differently, the retail chains know this.

    Evidence in case:
    1) The Masterpiece line: They could close the case for only 4 unique molds and countless rehashes in what, 5 years?
    2) Alternators: Not only did they have to cut costs by moving to all plastic for the Western markets, it eventually got canceled.
    3) 25th Anniversary: Not even new toys, their only investment is packaging and other marketing costs.
    4) Device/Sports/Disney Label: None have seen a Western release.

    All these have in common that they were released in the Asian market first, where the collectors demographic is much larger, further cementing the point.

    To make it clear, my point is not that collector oriented toys aren't released. Hasbro actually makes a good effort to brand them accordingly (especially the Masterpiece packaging), but they are invariably smaller in scope. They are not the same as a complete toy line such as Cybertron, Animated, ROTF, etc.

    My point, as a reaction to the topic starter, is that Animated was poorly planned product life-cycle wise and Hasbro got stuck with toy concepts they still want to offload.

    While shifting focus to collectors seems like a good idea for small releases (as you may deduce from above), I don't think for a moment that Hasbro marketeers take that into account for the Animated line. And for a very simple reason too: collectors will still buy the toys, even if they're marketed for mass retail.
     
  20. Airspeed

    Airspeed Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the repaints they are coming in the same wave as some of the figures that came out late in animated's first run so some places might never have got them i think samurai prowl and waspinator are the main ones many people never saw in their area.

    The comic idea is really good ,it would be great if the did that.But changing up the packaging on animated would help.
     

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