Put up a new article - The End of Mass Appeal Marketing in Toys

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by imported_Tony_Bacala, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. imported_Tony_Bacala

    imported_Tony_Bacala Guest

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  2. REDLINE

    REDLINE longer days, plz? Veteran

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    Great article, Tony! I have to say you bring up some really big points here. Some dangerous points. Dangerous in both their reality and in their solutions. Its a little bit scary, honestly. This trend is really a bad bad trend. You mentioned paying the designers less, but making them work faster (to protect the bottom line). This trend is affecting retail as well, and it just plain SUCKS! For example, I remember in school hearing ALL the time about how great it was to work for Lowe's, how Lowe's paid SO well... and they did. But now? Today's starting salaries are 33% lower than they were 10 years ago, but at the same time, they hire fewer people and demand more productivity from the few they employ. Its getting harder and harder to support a family with one job. I know entirely too many people who have two and sometimes three jobs, on TOP of their spouses having a job as well. No wonder the family is being destroyed. No money OR time to share with the kids or spouse. This of course fuels this very same trend: money is tighter, therefore people become more picky, therefor they "demand" more. I worry about where and how far this is going to go.

    Andy
     
  3. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    hmm. interesting point of view. maybe its possible/might work, but the logistic of implementing it is mind boggling. a big company like hasbro is just big to execute it. too many protocols and hierarchy.
     
  4. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm I ship Nick & Judy TFW2005 Supporter

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    There's a lot of "hard" thruth in the article, but I agree with others that the proposed solution would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible to incorporate in a pleasing way. faster, leaner, cheaper may help keep a toymaker avoid keeping a klunker toy or toyline from going on too long, but I'm not sure how it's going to keep the quality up, when the both the production schedule and budgeting get reduced, and/or spead thin along a wide variety of different-but-similar sublines.
     
  5. Subotnik

    Subotnik Please Stand By.

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    Forgive me for being a rambling drunk, I've had a few.

    I agree completely. American toy companies could stand to learn a few things about competing in a tight marketplace from their Japanese counterparts, because the current "lowest common denominator" approach isn't working and will end up being the road to ruin. Whether they like it or not, toy companies are now sharing the market with CDs, DVDs, games, movies, and online content, and the product they're giving us is looking less and less worth our dollar compared to the other choices on offer. They need to step up to the plate and start making an effort to give people something that really screams for their dollar, not something made as cheaply as possible for as many people as possible, with many glaring inadequacies. As mentioned in the article, diversifying the lines to target specific markets is what's needed, but while Hasbro has made a good start with Alternators and the reissues, their attempts have fallen well short.

    Compare the way reissues are handled in the US and Japan. In Japan they're very squarely aimed at the collector. They have extremely nice high quality packaging, they have all manner of inserts dealing with the character and the history of TF's, both the toyline and the mythos, they have all their accessories, working launchers, chrome, and in a couple of cases extra accessories and nods to the fans (energon cubes, gun mode Megatron). All in all they provide a great package that shows a level of love for the product they're putting out, a desire to meet the expectations of the target market. Compare it with Hasbro's reissue line which, to me, seemed nothing more than "Here's your reissue, take it and be happy". They're aimed at a very similar market, yet they lack anything beyond the bare minimum of what's needed to get them on the shelf. They seemed to rely on the name and nostalgia factor alone, something that wont fly in the overcrowded collectable market. If they don't appear to care about their own product, then why should I? The target demographic aren't 8 years old anymore, they recognise a soulless moneygrab when they see it. Just take a look at the response to Alt Rollbar to see what I mean.

    Edit: Forgot to mention line diversification.

    Bandai has managed to do astounding things by taking the same property (Gundam) and producing all manner of different product with the right level of quality to suit a specific market. Want Gundam toys for your little kids? Buy them a couple of PVC capsule figures. Want an extremely well constructed Gundam for a collector, get him one of the Metal Material Strikes with it's amazingly articulated diecast skeleton and hundreds of bits of armour and accessories. Your kid likes models? Get him one of the little 1/144 HG kits. Your father likes models? Get him one of the 1/60 Perfect Grade kits. They seem to have a line to suit every possible market, not the one size fits all, take it or leave it approach used by the US manufacturers.
     
  6. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Well-written even though I'm not sure whether I agree with the "solution" presented.

    Only one minor complaint:
    Kinda redundant. ;) 
     
  7. imported_Tony_Bacala

    imported_Tony_Bacala Guest

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    Hehe, yes nevermore, good point. I tend to get redundant when i write.

    Just to clarify, Im not saying that paying less and demanding more from designers or workers is necessarily a solution, in fact, possibly not even a realistic or good option. Im just saying, if thats "the excuse", or a large part of the problem, then fix it. Somehow.
     
  8. Backpack

    Backpack Scattershot who?

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    I'd say the toy industry lives off the entertainment industry, not so much as battling it.

    I do agree that we should have smaller lines... but not more. Perhaps, with a series like TFs the lines/stories should be shorter... 6 months (rather than the current 18). It would give each line time to gauge the market, make ajustments and correct it's self for the next line. Making to many lines at once only confuses people... and the die hard collectors go mad trying to find everything.

    The one area I'd like to see improvement, would be that companies should have an entire short run line (six month) completely ready to go at launch. Show each piece, and let the consumer really know the size of the line. Much like in G1, where you knew the whole line from day 1. Now it's like you get a little, then a little more, and so on.
     
  9. Super_Megatron

    Super_Megatron Twitter: @Super_Megatron Administrator

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    Quicker relaunches do make sense, look at the comic industry. Marvel rebooted long running titles with #1s on the covers because they sell better.
     
  10. Sonscreen

    Sonscreen Casual TF collector<br><b><font color=#FF0000>aksm TFW2005 Supporter

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    A lot of interesting points were made, but I don't think Transformers action figures can ever be "ON DEMAND". It’ll be a long time (if ever) before a fan can spec out a Transformer and have it made to order.

    In the mean time Hasbro can enhance the consumer experience. I’m surprised Hasbro doesn’t utilize the transformers website to the fullest. I think it’s cool they have the episodes online now but why can’t they have ads or links to buy a featured character in a sidebar, banner ad or something?
    Hasbro can also streamline the distribution process and method. They have hasbrotoyshop.com so they can make good use of that.

    Fan input/interaction should also be a priority. It was cool when Hasbro gave us new product information and expected release. If they don’t have the time/resources, at least pass the information along to the official fan club. It would be nice to see Hasbro put up a poll with preset choices of what type of characters we want, color scheme.

    My fantasy would be for Hasbro or the collector’s club to emulate what Lego does. I was informed that if you become a member, you get the usual newsletter, free toy, and discounts. The cool part is that they also get a CD that lets them design their own set and fans have the option of ordering what they created. Then Lego boxes the customized design and ships it out.

    Of course we probably wouldn’t be able to get anything complicated like the Alternators. I think we could get something like a generic basic/scout size figure and then have the option to pick out the head, faction, or color scheme.
     
  11. Beastbot X

    Beastbot X The Toad Knows.

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    Pretty good article-- even though I do like video games, I do feel that the increasing moving away of kids from toys and towards video games has a detrimental effect on the imagination, which is what toys, above almost anything else, seem to foster well.
     
  12. Joe Moore

    Joe Moore Is Not Jim... Administrator

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    The problem with that lne of thinking is that legos are much, much cheaper to produce than Transformers. Plus all the pieces are interchangeable. With Transformers, that's not the case. To do a single figure would run a person a few hundred, if not a few thousand dollars. Remember, a new head sculpt costs a few thousand dollars to produce. Imagine trying to spread that cost over a handful a figures.
     
  13. Motor_Master

    Motor_Master Lets the balls touch TFW2005 Supporter

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    And all the variant collectors just had a collective heart attack. :) 

    Tony - good article :thumb 
     
  14. rattrap007

    rattrap007 Insert witty comment here TFW2005 Supporter

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    I'll try to fully read that later. But one thing i noticed a day or two ago when i went out. I saw Dragonflyz again. This has to be the third or fourth time they have tried this toy line. It has never been a big success. Why are they wasting money making these things when they were not that big in the past?
     
  15. Neomarsala

    Neomarsala Transform and Roll Out

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    I have to agree with that.

    I am not sure I really understood the article(maybe I'm just tired), but one thing I read that I do think is interesting is the comment that kids in the future won't be spending $1000 on a MISB Armada Prime. That's true and I'm sure it's an example of something, but I couldn't really say what. Perhaps the toy industry has reached a point where everythings already been done. I don't think Transformers today(or G.I.Joe or TMNT or anything else) standout like they did before. Maybe there are too many options available today. Maybe the shows that accompany the toylines, while entertaining, aren't as memorable. I can say for me that were it not for the Cartoons that accompanied the toylines, I might not remember some 80s toylines as fondly as I do. As far as childerens programming goes, I do think that cable has provided an unlimited amount of options for kids to watch. When I was a kid a couple channels might have a block of kids programming in the afternoon and on Saturday mornings. Today with Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and others, it must be difficult for anything to stand out more than anything else.
     
  16. Sonscreen

    Sonscreen Casual TF collector<br><b><font color=#FF0000>aksm TFW2005 Supporter

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    Dang! Thanks for pointing that out. All the more reason for Hasbro to try to get feedback from fans before producing a figure. In theory that should reduce the amount of shelfwarmers.

    This was probably brought up before but doesn't Hasbro have focus groups or conduct some type of market research?
     
  17. Steevy Maximus

    Steevy Maximus Movie Megs eats your soul

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    Something else to remember is that, regardless of the opinions of the fandom or consumers, the final decisions often rest with what retailers THINK will be successful. If Walmart doesn't like something, or wants more gimmicks or whatnot, do you really think Hasbro will completely ignore such a powerful buyer?
     
  18. Dark Magnus

    Dark Magnus Your opinion is wrong!

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    True, it's companies like Wal-mart which have effectively killed the large vehicle class for Star Wars fans. Retailers like Wal-mart don't want to give shelf space to large expensive vehicles that wont move until clearance time. True, the cheap ass Star Wars fans are partly to blame, but for the most part, big retailers can influence the decisions made by toymakers.
     

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