Musings on distribution/release patterns, a Transformers variety line.

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Fort Max, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. Fort Max

    Fort Max Too many is never enough. Veteran

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    Had these thoughts while I was half awake this morning so bear with me.

    I was thinking about (being in the UK) the sheer annoyance at not getting a lot of stuff even released here and wondered why Hasbro couldn't just fold classics into the main line permanently. They sort of did with Reveal the Shield for a bit but they still had generations running as well (which we didn't get most of *mutter, moan, grumble*).

    I'm thinking of something more along the lines of what they did with the Iron Man movie figures, there in one case you had figures from three different styles, movie series/comic series/concept series.

    Obviously during a movie year this isn't going to work as there's so much product on the shelves but next year when Prime is the only media they have it could be worth looking into. Here's an example:

    Out of a case of eight figures:
    4 TFP figures, 3 classics figures and 1 concept figure.

    TFP in movie styled packages since that's what they're going for, classics in traditional red packages and for concepts they could play with the idea and come up with some kind of attractive blueprint design for the packages and instead of character bio's have a little blurb with some info on where the idea came from etc.

    To my mind this would solve many problems, first and foremost that of classics not being sold in a number of territories but also the problem of limited character's available in TF Prime. For Hasbro it has the additional advantage of not burning through classic characters too quickly.
    Finally the idea of having concept series figures would give Hasbro a degree of freedom they don't usually have, it could be anything, a real wildcard. An unreleased figure from the movies or animated, an abandoned idea from years ago or something entirely new that one of the crazies working for Takara cooked up. Fun gimmick figures that don't require a whole line, simple one shot, flash in the pan ideas that either sink or swim. They wouldn't clog shelves either since (in this example) there's only one figure in a case of eight so retailer's wouldn't have to worry about them hanging around.

    Which brings me onto the number of figures in a case, not having two of a figure would lead to less shelf warmers which is good for us and good for retailer's since it means the figures sell through quicker and they order more.
    How many times have you seen a dozen or more of a single maligned figure hanging on the pegs, this happens because they're packed two to a case, a retailer opens so many cases, puts them all on the shelves and then the psychological effect of there being so many of figure x and much less of figure's y & z causes people to ignore x completely, and when the other figures start disappearing and large numbers of x are still on the pegs that just makes people think x is a bad or unwanted figure which just further exacerbates the problem.

    So ultimately I'm proposing that instead of having two or three lines that each have their own filler figures and multi packed guys destined to warm pegs they should take only the best figures of each line and release them all in one line which would hopefully eliminate both the filler and the warmers.

    The downside is that I'm basically saying all new toys would be packed one per case, essentially making every new figure shortpacked (but even then if they open three cases they'll be three of each new figure on pegs). The upshot of this is that cases should theoretically sell quicker so retailers would order more, effectively making TF's a faster seller and a more popular line in retailer's eyes.

    Interested to hear other people's thoughts on this, if you don't like it then please don't feel the need to attack it, it's just a random dreamt up idea, I have no say in what Hasbro do and nothing I post here will threaten how many new classics figures get made. ;) 
     
  2. wildfly

    wildfly Lasers, 8 O'Clock, Day 1.

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    On overall product: Seems like there’s a few opposing forces going on. On the one hand it’s apparent there is a will at Hasbro and Takara to ‘soften’ the movie aesthetic in some way, shipping Generations toys and movie toys in the same case, turning out molds that are vaguely movie-ish. This seems rather calculated, partially because the movies have been quite polarising and partially because some of them… well it’s impossible to make them completely screen accurate.


    At the same time, Hasbro have come to the realisation that they need to pretty much continuously have some sort of media presence to get retailers to place an order. IE Products that are on a TV or a Cinema Screen somewhere. I think, Prime’s cast is going to start to expand fairly quickly… with some characters held over from one case to the next, inevitable multiple versions of some of them

    There could perhaps as you suggested be a potential slot for other less obvious figures.


    On international distribution: I doubt, unfortunately, that mix and match shipping would solve the issue. They’d quite possibly just miss out more evenly across the whole range instead. We were left scratching our heads at missing products long before Generations, long before the line was sub-divided.
     
  3. Fort Max

    Fort Max Too many is never enough. Veteran

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    Very true but missing the odd wave or two is not quite as bad as not getting almost a whole line. Plus they didn't ship some waves because retailer's weren't asking for them due to having sufficient stock still on shelves.
    While it's impossible to cure retailer's tendencies to over order, by not having more then one of certain figures per case they would hopefully all sell at a more or less even rate leading to less cases of single figures being left on shelves in large numbers.
     
  4. wildfly

    wildfly Lasers, 8 O'Clock, Day 1.

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    True. And we end up with holes in main lines anyway.

    The funny thing is European distribution seems to be sub-divided to some extent. RTS Voyager Wave 3 and the the 1st NEST Voyager Wave were both released in Serbia, although they had a more limited supply of HFTD Delxues.

    Is being Senior Director of Global marketing the same thing as being a 'Brand Manger?'

    Greg Lombardo - Transformers Wiki

    Perhaps not, perhaps it's unfair to single out one person in a massive toy company, but one part of me would like to have a frank discussion with him.
     
  5. Tracer

    Tracer _

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    The distribution is wacky to say the least. I seriously doubt I will ever see about half a dozen items that I'm looking for. This stuff shouldn't be that hard to find.
     
  6. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style On Military Leave TFW2005 Supporter

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    I don't think so at all. Wal-Mart's doing resets here in town, and I looked at the schematic: Generations and then Assorted deluxe are seperate pegs with seperate barcodes. And, currently, they come in seperate boxes, so, I don't see that changing, unless something was anounced?
     
  7. Erector

    Erector I ruined the Hall of Fame

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    Assume miscreant means the RTS figures where you have for example Jazz and Fallback in the same assortment.
     
  8. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style On Military Leave TFW2005 Supporter

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    But he said Generations? But, if that's what he meant, then yea that makes a ton more sense.

    Is RTS phazed out after this run?
     
  9. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm OriginalRotorstorm Fanboy

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    Sounds like a good idea to me but the real solution is for Hasbro not to over produce early waves of movie lines so we don't see the first 3 waes warming pegs 2 years after the movie line was done with.
     
  10. Ikkstakk

    Ikkstakk Well-Known Member

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    I think the reason Hasbro doesn't move to an 8-figures-in-each-wave system has got to be a cost issue.

    If they were to put eight different figures in a wave, that's eight molds that have to be produced at the same time. Even if only two of the molds were brand new and the other six were repaints, there's still a lot of cost involved in getting each mold poured and assembled. It may be a case of each unit costing less the more they order.
     
  11. Fort Max

    Fort Max Too many is never enough. Veteran

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    I'm not suggesting that there would be no repaints full stop, the idea is to eliminate the over packing of some characters and arbitrary repaints like powered up versions of previously released characters etc.
     
  12. AllSpark Ferret

    AllSpark Ferret hANDYman

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    Hasbro have already 'sort of' done this with the scouts. RTS Windcharger (Generations in all but name) and RTS Chopsaw were released in an assortment that also included HFTD scouts which have a different packaging design.
     
  13. IronicHide

    IronicHide MEME GO HERE

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    I agree with everything in the first post, Fort Max. I can't believe those case-filling repaints do anything for manufacturer, retailer or collector.

    However, this is probably/possibly a case of we, as adult fans who grew up on previous incarnations of Transformers, putting forward an idea for Hasbro's current distribution based on our collecting demands.

    Also, one collector's case-filling waste of space is another collector's joy.

    Those things aside, yes, a case of toys split across TF lines should work. Could you make the argument that it's been done with certain toys that Hasbro and fans alike know transcend lines (or are informally intended to be part of another line) - ROTF Bludgeon or Lockdown, for instance?
     

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