Myths about Hasbro and Collectors

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Kickback, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Posts:
    40,257
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    347
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Likes:
    +13
    Twitter:
    Instagram:
    Tumblr:
    I've been reading a lot of threads during late in the evening and there a lot of posts that I read that I roll my eyes at, wish I could just go off on the person for their comment based on little to no knowledge, but I decided rather than do that in various threads in various forums, I'll just throw it in here. So here we go.


    Myth #1: Hasbro doesn't care about collectors.

    This is incorrect.

    Before we begin, people need to realize the facts about certain things. Collectors (pre-movie anyways) made up less than 10% of the total toy sales for Transformers. That means when Hasbro marketing looked at the profit margins, for every 10 units that were sold, on average maybe ONE was to a collector, while the other 9 went to kids or casual fans or whatever. And that's maybe, because the actual number was something like 7%. With the movie's release, it's harder to gauge the actual numbers now because you have collectors mixed together with scalpers, and the toy sales are inflated because they're popular, in-demand, and overall quantity is low until mid November when replenishment is due to hit.

    As a company, you cannot cater your products to the lowest margin of profit. However, Hasbro has elected to participate in the annual Transformers convention, BotCon, by allowing Brian Savage and the crew at Fun Publications/Master Collector the right to use available molds to create exclusive figures for the show. To assist, Hasbro goes out of its way to create presentations for the attendees. I know for a fact that members of Hasbro's design team spent TIME creating the things you saw.

    Powerpoint presentation in their future panel? That took time. The diagram of how a toy goes through different processes, shown on the Hasbro tour? That wasn't made in 15 minutes, you know.

    My point is this ... Hasbro is a company with so many subdivisions that it is insane (Hasbro, Parker Brothers, PlaySchool, Milton Bradley, Tiger Electronics, NERF, Kenner) ... if you look at what the collector base for Transformers represents, which is close to 10%, and then convert that to Hasbro OVERALL, that equals less than one percent of their entire profit is based on us. We, Transformers collectors, couldn't make the difference between a profitable and unprofitable season for Hasbro.

    Myth 1a: Okay, so if Hasbro really cared about collectors, Classics (a collector's line) would have seen the figures everyone wanted (Thundercracker, Seekers) released at retail and not over-priced in the Botcon set!

    To begin, Classics was never considered a "collectors" line. No where on the packaging does it state collectors line, no where in the product description to retailers does it state that it's a collectors line. Hasbro's Transformers design team has mentioned it does serve well to the needs of collectors and original Transformers (G1) fans, but the only time that I am aware of that anyone at Hasbro has stated that Classics was a collectors line was in an E-mail that stated, "Please do not place movie promotion stickers on Transformers Classics, collectors are complaining" ... the movie promotion stickers that I'm talking about are for the animated movie's re-release, that you saw placed on Cybertron packaging and, if you were lucky, on the very first run of Classics (mostly at Target, as WalMart hadn't received stock while Target had, and was just sitting on it).

    Second, Classics was meant to be nothing more than a filler for the end portion of Cybertron to gap the space between Cybertron's "end date" and Transformers the Movie's "start date". The line itself was never meant to be on-going, hence the fact that it has now been incorporated into the original "Universe" line. At the time the decision was made to allow Fun Publications/Master Collector the right to use the Classics molds and the colorings/characters they wanted, Hasbro had already moved past Classics releases and were most likely on waves 2 or 3 of the Movie related figures. Toys don't become produced within 6 months of concept. What Hasbro is working on right now we won't see until the very end of 2008, beginning of 2009. And BotCon exclusives are planned out, seriously, a year before the show. Do the math.

    Classics did, however, sell well enough to warrant continuing it, hence the Universe line. With the cancellation of both Titanium and Alternators, the resources became available to continue to do the line (ie: MONEY) as well as move forward with new projects (TF: Animated).

    Would they have liked to release Thundercracker, etc., in main-line? Yes. Was it ever planned? No. Can they do it now? Yes. Will they? No, because you would totally destroy the entire purpose of what BotCon is, which is a place for fans and collectors to get together and celebrate, and if you can make the trip, you can pick up the set of exclusive (look up the word if you don't understand why it costs more and isn't available to mass release) figures that you and other attendees have.

    Myth #2 - Okay, so if Hasbro has the money with the successful movie, and the toyline is popular, they should be able to continue Alternators for the collectors.

    While the movie was successful, and the toyline has had a resurgence in popularity (shoot, I can't keep Transformers in stock at KB Toys, which sells them for $5 more than WalMart), continuing a line that did not make profit would just be silly. The problem Alternators had wasn't the mold choice, the color choice ... but more the complexity of the transformation of the toy. If I'm a father and I buy my kid a Dodge Ram pick-up because my kid likes trucks and he likes Transformers, and he can't transform the damn thing because it's so much for a kid, then I'm sure as hell not going to buy him another, and he's sure as hell not going to give the toy another thought. Thus, Hasbro has lost a repeat customer.

    Alternators wasn't originally a collector's toyline ... it became that way later on as sales dropped, stores stopped re-ordering, and case assortments filled out with figures that weren't selling and collectors buying up the only new ones. Alternators, probably since the time of the new bubble packaging (the SECOND refresh, I might add), had become a line that only the collectors were buying. And it didn't succeed.

    Something very similar? Titanium. The littles one didn't sell. The big ones didn't sell. I don't know the numbers or the exact reasons, but let's face it ... the Galoob/Micro Machines team dropped the ball hardcore with the first wave (World War II Megatron looked like total ass, and was MISASSEMBLED in package). That, and since you were using metal, the cost was high and the profits were low, as the figures weren't selling.

    Myth #3 - Takara(Tomy) cares more about collectors than Hasbro does.

    This one is actually true. And you know why? BECAUSE THE ONLY PEOPLE IN JAPAN WHO BUY TRANSFORMERS ARE COLLECTORS! Flip-flop the numbers in the US for Japan. Only about 10% of sales are RANDOM, the other 90% are from robot/mecha/Transformers collectors. Takara-Tomy has not been successful with Transformers in Japan. The last pure Japan series, CAR ROBOTS (later dubbed as ROBOTS IN DISGUISE in USA), was a massive failure. It didn't make money. The toys didn't sell (well, they did, because it was the first time that imports became huge). Takara was on the verge of bankruptcy. Hasbro and Takara struck their deal for the Armada/Energon/Cybertron series, where it would be co-developed and co-produced by both companies. And even then, Takara still was nearing bankruptcy (with Hasbro footing the bill), and Tomy swooped in and bought Takara out-right. And now Takara-Tomy's focus is NOT Transformers ... the "Encore" series is simply their company's attempt to cash in on the nostalgia boom that is hitting Japan with the release of the movie there.

    Why else do you have Megatron, Optimus Prime, Starscream, Soundwave, Ratchet, and Ironhide as releases? Because they're all in the movie (Soundwave was originally meant to be Frenzy). Intentional? You betcha! Is Takara-Tomy going to do a brand new Transformers series while the USA does Animated? Probably not. Will Takara-Tomy bring Animated overseas? Possible, as US developed series seem to do well in Japan. So who knows for sure on that one.

    At the end of the day though, Takara-Tomy's success for Transformers relies on their Japan collector's market. And sadly, not even their collector base can salvage Transformers in Japan ...


    Myth #4 - Kickback is always right!

    Not at all. But I've been a collector since I was 5, and have been into it in a far more serious way for the last 7 years or so. And I don't just read the boards, I don't just search the sites looking for things that may be facts ... I research it the best I can with the resources available to me. Am I 100% accurate with all of what I just said? Probably not! But I guarantee you I'm closer to the correct answer than, "Hasbro doesn't care!"

    Trust me. If Hasbro didn't care, you wouldn't have any repaints of figures in G1 colors. You wouldn't have a BotCon. You wouldn't have things like the Alternators line at all, Masterpiece figures brought to the USA, the continuation of "Classics" ... Armada would not have received a Thundercracker and a Skywarp repaint/retool. There are so many things, looking back, that were done or "snuck in" for collectors and old fans. We may not see it because we sit here on the boards or walk into our stores and see nothing, hear nothing, read nothing from Hasbro about Transformers ... but they care.

    So the next time you go to type "If Hasbro really cared about collectors, we would have a ....." ... think about it. Yeah, it's easy to just type that out than it is to sit and think business-sense, reality sense ... but they have to. They deserve some credit, methinks :) 
     
  2. 1UpCheatachu

    1UpCheatachu Lemony Fresh TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Posts:
    710
    Trophy Points:
    131
    Likes:
    +0
    Very well said! I agree!
     
  3. Noisemaze2006

    Noisemaze2006 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Posts:
    1,630
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Likes:
    +0
    I don't know about all that but I do know that Hasbro & Takara have been making some really REALLY stupid decisions lately. Ever since Cybertron ended I've been rolling my eyes at almost every piece of news. They've been doing some really stupid crap. Maybe things would be better for them if they would do more right & less wrong.
     
  4. jourdo

    jourdo TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Posts:
    4,326
    Trophy Points:
    231
    Likes:
    +0
    Ebay:
    Thank you for that Kickback.
     
  5. Robimus

    Robimus Wanna'be Cassettebot

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Posts:
    1,187
    News Credits:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Likes:
    +4
    If Hasbro cared I'd have my masterpeice Wheelie by now!!! Now let me read that first post...................:thumb 
     
  6. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Posts:
    40,257
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    347
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Likes:
    +13
    Twitter:
    Instagram:
    Tumblr:
    Explain, please.
     
  7. Sycia

    Sycia Draconian Faction

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Posts:
    1,226
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Likes:
    +0
    Not really a collector, but I'm really grateful to TakaraTomy for their marvelous Masterpieces (we tend to get more Japanese TF toys than Hasbro where I come from, for some odd reason). Maybe a little competition for Hasbro? My only little gripe with Hasbro is the current drought, but with the toy recalls, and them saying they'll be putting out more toys in October, it's really nothing big.
     
  8. Liege Prime

    Liege Prime Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Posts:
    8,565
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    232
    Likes:
    +16
    In college, you learn not to trust someones debate or argument until they can show sources and proof. How do we know the numbers you are saying are accurate? Honestly, not trying to be argumentive, but I would like to see proof. Especially since what you say in your last myth.
     
  9. Deceptichage

    Deceptichage Decepticon Land Pirate

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Posts:
    2,606
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    186
    Likes:
    +7
    Nice writeup! Made for a very interesting read.
     
  10. Valkysas

    Valkysas Attack Buffalo

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Posts:
    20,799
    News Credits:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +21
    we've seen the proof and sources countless times. many people just IGNORE it because it goes against what they want to believe. hasbro themselves are the source of most of the info he posted, taken directly from botcon panels.
     
  11. ShortCircuit

    ShortCircuit Decepticon

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Posts:
    1,698
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Likes:
    +0
    Well that really puts the whole business role in persepective. That was great Kickback wow.

    My argument is that the sister companies within Hasbro are just that, siblings in rivalry with one another, to see who can top each other siblings sales. However I do believe that Nerf sales may not eclipse Transformer sales on a given "line", I do believe money is distributed EVENLY between these siblings? I think not. I belive if the "Transformer" line makes up only 10% of sales across the Hasbro board, the Transformer sibling gets more than the 10% allocation of funds to design a new product and implant, whereas Nerf may only get 5%. I do believe that any Rep, engineer, product placement person, would die to be on the transformer side of Hasbro, as to have that on thier resume.

    So to say "tranformers" line of hasbro only nets 10% of sales I believe is a little skewed in my opinion. But maybe Im smokin a fat one and wayyy off on that and the numbers show correct, it just pains me to believe, how much of a sellout some toys are, then to look at Titaniums in disgust has got to hurt Hasbro.

    Lets face it, if youre on the top, theres only one way to go.

    So I hope they can pump out something that will sell and be a combination of success for collectors and children alike.

    But let me tell you this, I NEVER seen a "vote" or even a "fan" poll for designs, cartoon's, idea's that they may have.....either I don't know where to look, or Im just not "cool" enough to hear about it....

    if Transformers Animated will be the new money of Hasbro..(I hope it appeals to a generation somewhere) .and they were designing that cartoon in 2006? I never heard of it, ...so if they don't know what I want, how do they expect sales to hit good numbers if I don't like it in the first place. Im not gonna suck it up either and say "OMG Transformers Animated WOW!!!" just because I want to hype the line. I need to like what I'm selling if I was in thier shoes. And you also have to have a buyer who likes it too. Unfortunately, they didn't hit me on the head with it. And Im only ONE person in this world. Im sure there may be others who really get up in a tizzie about it, but not me.

    Over in Japan Bandai is kicking thier asses I heard. ANd Im sure Hijitso fujimoto or whatever Bandai's head honcho is would love to crush taktomy. Just like Jetfire controversy of late. But, I believe they should be "helping" each other in designs and charachters, and not fighting each other. And not trying to steal copyrights before they hit the patent office.

    I roll with TakTom/Hasbro not bandai anyway. I don't know HOW many Mp-06, or Tomi Trains need to sell before revenue is earned. But I got mine, and Im sure other's did too. However like they said, tomy is in the black, and they will make it, however I hope they do bring out some groundbreaking stuff sometime.
     
  12. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    Posts:
    35,576
    News Credits:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    317
    Likes:
    +34
    Facebook:
    Instagram:
    A very good read Kickback, very insightful.
     
  13. sharke

    sharke canadian piece of sh*t

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Posts:
    765
    Trophy Points:
    101
    Likes:
    +0
    probably should have learned this before college. back on topic, agreed Kickback and Valkysas!
     
  14. Liege Prime

    Liege Prime Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Posts:
    8,565
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    232
    Likes:
    +16
    Thanks, smartass. Obviously everyone thinks my post was idiotic and short sided since kickback is saying something. Truth is, I would like to see hard numbers from companys. If it was at botcon where they gave these numbers then great, but I doubt Takara was there talking. I am asking an honest and curious question and would like to read about these things myself. Like I said, I am NOT arguing with him, just wanted to know. And yes, I knew that before college, but take a damn debate class in college and they shuv it down your throat.
     
  15. sharke

    sharke canadian piece of sh*t

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Posts:
    765
    Trophy Points:
    101
    Likes:
    +0
    let me guess, you like policy debate?
     
  16. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Posts:
    40,257
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    347
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Likes:
    +13
    Twitter:
    Instagram:
    Tumblr:
    Very true. However, like any company, you pump dollars in to the portion of your company that is turning profit. After the movie, you bet Transformers and the team is going to be given more money, but all that money will get tied up in little things, from extra paint applications, to an extra figure in a line, to the deciding factor on whether or not they want to do a store exclusive. They've also just recently expanded, having hired more designers (former interns, etc.) ... so the future for Transformers, right now, is very bright.

    Then again, NERF is a solid division that has been around for many, many years. And the dollars that go into a piece of plastic shaped like a gun with a trigger are completely different than the dollars that go into designing numerous pieces of plastic that move together and bend and come apart and together again to form a whole new toy. A $1 in Transformers may indeed be the equivalent of $10 in NERF. Or vice verca.

    It was collectors that may make up 10% of Transformers sales, not Transformers in a whole. Right now, I'd dare to say Transformers has exceeded sales projections for this year, and will be one of the top toys in reports for this year that come out next year. As a brand, Transformers has consistently been one of the top 10 best selling toylines since ROBOTS IN DISGUISE. The peak was Armada, with a big drop off in Energon, a come back in Cybertron, and it's too early to tell with Classics.

    20th Anniversary Optimus Prime had many features that were "voted" on by fans on these very message boards, when this board was part of Transfandom.com. The poll was put together by ORSON, who later was revealed to be Aaron Archer (now design director for Transformers and GI Joe).

    Aaron Archer also had a forum on these boards called "Orson's World", in where people could ask questions and he would answer them from time to time. The jealousy of other Transformers fansites and consistent complaining to Hasbro headquarters, and finally an E-mail over everyone's head at Hasbro to the head of marketing, is what got that shut down. I won't throw out names, but you can pick one of the other sites, though I will say it wasn't our friends at AllSpark or at Seibertron.

    But you're a collector, or at least, out of the target range for the show's (and toyline's) audience. Then again, so were the movie toys, in a lot of ways. Transformers always has been, and always will be, catered to the ages 5 to 12, usually focused on the younger ages because video games haven't consumed their life yet (video games = the #1 killer of toy sales over the last 20 years). So if you, and a THOUSAND other collectors decide you don't want it ... well, we have over 25,000 members here, and if collectors in general make up less than 10% of overall sales ... Animated won't suffer.

    Animated will air on Cartoon Network during Saturday mornings. The target? Kids. The toys will come out after the show has been airing for awhile. The target? Kids. But there's enough in there that fans of older generations of Transformers will recognize characters, and maybe buy the toys.

    We are repeat customers for Hasbro. They already have us roped in. They don't need to make something just to cater to us. To make it worse, we're collectors, thus we end up buying everything anyways. But you can't market something for the MINORITY, you have to market it towards the MAJORITY. Thus, the chances of a mainstream cartoon and toyline targeted towards older, collector audiences is never going to happen.

    Compare any Japanese Transformers show to any Japanese Gundam show. Transformers in Japan is pretty much a kids cartoon. Gundam in Japan is a beautiful piece of Japanese animation geared towards an adult audience. Gundam has been around for as long as Transformers (I believe? Not caring to look that up right now, this is a minor point) ... but in the States? Gundam Wing was like this huge cultural phenom, it was going to help "usher in Japanese animation to the United States" ... and you know what, it was a success.

    But every single Gundam since Gundam Wing aired in the United States, has failed (at least in the United States). Where are all my Gundam Seed kits and toys? Oh that's right ... Gundam doesn't sell anymore. At least, not to anyone but collectors, and US collectors can't carry a market... :) 

    TOMY never focused on anything really "robot/mecha". Takara did. Takara failed at the robot/mecha side of things. TOMY has stated many times since taking over Takara that they still have no intention in diving head-first back in to robot/mecha, but will instead focus their toys on what made TOMY successful, but with Takara's creative think-tank at the helm as well.

    We, as collectors, are important to the Transformers brand. Don't get me wrong, we may not make the sales go up or down considerably, but we are important. And Hasbro knows this. And that's why they do what they can do for us when they can do it. But we cannot write Hasbro off for not doing something completely stupid (like continuing failed toylines, Alternators and Titanium) or coming up with something so expensive and ultimately pointless (G1 Alternators, War Within toyline/show) ...

    Who would buy a War Within toy? You, sure. But how many kids are going to go "OMG WAR WITHIN KUP, I NEED THAT HE'S LIKE HIS G1 SELF ONLY PRE-EARTH!" .... the answer is pretty darn close to zero. And that's not going to help keep Transformers around for another 20 something years.
     
  17. Liege Prime

    Liege Prime Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Posts:
    8,565
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    232
    Likes:
    +16
    Nope, I was an art student but got caught in this class. Just a basic argument and debate class, but I was the first person in the class to take the stand and give my side of a debate. Even though I had all the required sources, and documented in the proper way, since I didn't site them in my speach at every point I got torn apart by the instructor! I'm not bitter but thanks to that lovely classe whenever I get curious about a source when someone is speaking about numbers and such, I think about that class. That first argument was about companys outsourcing workers to other countrys, jtlyk.

    Back on topic... well, uhh, not much else to say really but... that's too bad about TF's in Japan!
     
  18. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Posts:
    40,257
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    347
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Likes:
    +13
    Twitter:
    Instagram:
    Tumblr:
    Honestly, over the years of the Internet, a lot of the information has fallen by the way-side. These boards have gone through wipes, so I can't tell you to search for this thread or give you a direct link. But, back in the day, we did numerous reports on Takara's trip towards bankruptcy ... Aaron Archer stated on these forums years ago how Hasbro had pretty much saved Takara from bankruptcy after the failure of CAR ROBOTS with the Armada/Energon/Cybertron deal ...

    I'm sure most of this can be found with some Google searching, I just don't have the time to present this huge, research paper quality informative sheet (it's not really a debate, because there's nothing TO debate ... the debate is more along the lines of getting people to understand and change their opinions, not that the information provided is false, inaccurate, and made-up).

    When it's not 1:15am and I have to be at work at 8am, I'll take some time to really research everything I've stated, but most of the people that have been here awhile now should remember what I'm discussing, as a lot of is taken from memory of some of the news stories.
     
  19. sharke

    sharke canadian piece of sh*t

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Posts:
    765
    Trophy Points:
    101
    Likes:
    +0

    if I may add to this, you don't see as many official Transformers polls. but this goes back to your original arguement, collectors aren't that large a portion of the Tfs market. these polls are largely aimed at collectors not casual buyers. the reason there are so many Star Wars polls and fan votes is that collectors make up much more of Star Wars overall sales. does it suck? yes but thats the way it goes.
     
  20. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Posts:
    40,257
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    347
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Likes:
    +13
    Twitter:
    Instagram:
    Tumblr:
    Exactly. Star Wars is more 60/40 ... 60% collector, 40% kids ... but now that there's nothing on television for Star Wars, the movies are done with, it's going to be 100% collectors, with the overall profit being relatively less than during movie years.

    But that's why you see such a push for cool scenes from ALL Star Wars movies during this 30th Anniversary. Because they know they have to appeal to all the collectors ... because that's what makes their market. If the live-action Star Wars doesn't happen like it's scheduled to in 2009, I actually predict Hasbro saying goodbye to Star Wars, as it will no longer be profitable.

    Though Lucas's son said he'll continue with episode 7 once his father passes on.
     

Share This Page