Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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Denyer
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

Post by Denyer »

I'm guessing they can make a bit more money shipping the stuff over here. Possibly a minor factor of no language issues/relabelling with sales to the UK. Possibly that Hasbro doesn't want its leading brands liquidated in an obvious way in the US/Canada, plus exchange rates are generally prohibitive shipping in the other direction... whereas they clearly couldn't give two tugs about the UK/European market these days.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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Do we end up with stuff that's tied up in exclusivity deals with US retailers too? I remember watching a Toy Guru video on this stuff, and that can sometimes limit channels for product. I might be talking out of my fundament though.

We seem to have a real log jam of stuff in the UK at the moment; the Creatures Collide set, Tonkanator (even though it's great!), random Legacy Deluxes and Voyagers (usually Elita-1 and the repack of Siege Soundwave), an awful lot of the extremely variable and muddled ROTB toys, an insane amount of Barbie stuff, even though the film wasn't really kiddie-fodder, Masterverse stuff knocking around and the less good Lego sets.Lego's a curious one as it's never majorly discounted anywhere, with most sets getting reduced by the same margin at all retailers. Just means sets can sit about for years on end getting no love, mind.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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Yeah, there are regular and online releases over here of stuff that's store exclusive in the US, whereas Walgreens may have a deal that e.g. Minerva stock doesn't go to other US retailers. Over here it's only really Amazon that occasionally goes for semi-exclusives, although Smyths might have gotten something like that on Netflix tie-in releases previously.

I think what's happened particularly last year is that Hasbro has missed fulfilment deadlines due to production and shipping issues. So the big stores didn't get product in time for specific pre-holiday dates, and probably had contracts that allowed them to refuse to receive it.

It's a bit of a zero-sum game for specialist retailers. They're competing against the remaining big toy stores, discounters, Hasbro Pulse, Amazon, and consumers that don't see RRP as anything like value, and who've become accustomed to stuff getting clearanced.

Pretty sure that some of the new year sales around are selling things shipped for less than wholesale prices, just to try to recover some of the losses. ID and C&C have some stuff at 75% off, for instance, some of which they've been trying to clear for much longer.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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Denyer wrote: Mon Jan 08, 2024 8:12 pm I'm guessing they can make a bit more money shipping the stuff over here. Possibly a minor factor of no language issues/relabelling with sales to the UK. Possibly that Hasbro doesn't want its leading brands liquidated in an obvious way in the US/Canada, plus exchange rates are generally prohibitive shipping in the other direction... whereas they clearly couldn't give two tugs about the UK/European market these days.
I don't get the impression that Hasbro gives the slightest fraction of a damn about the Canadian market either, though I suppose they might worry that dumping overstock here would impact their US sales. Either way, it definitely seems like the only overstock that shows up at our discounters is overstock from the shrinking number of Canadian retailers. And the only thing that seems to have been dumped lately is Walmart's entire supply of BW reissues. Which was great for me but probably didn't excite too many other people.
Denyer wrote: Wed Jan 10, 2024 12:34 amI think what's happened particularly last year is that Hasbro has missed fulfilment deadlines due to production and shipping issues. So the big stores didn't get product in time for specific pre-holiday dates, and probably had contracts that allowed them to refuse to receive it.
We had a notable example of that in Canada a couple years back. Amazon Canada's stock of the Dirge/Ramjet Earthrise two-pack got delayed for a year and a half, and Amazon refused delivery when it eventually did arrive. It was noteworthy because all of the stock had been sold on preorder, and whatever automated system made the "refuse delivery" decision didn't take that into account. So all the preorders got cancelled and there was a mad scramble of people trying to reorder when the stock wound up going to a couple of small online retailers instead.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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Denyer wrote: Tue Dec 19, 2023 6:29 pm And rather strong evidence that the company intends to switch a load of art requirements over to AI and pay college grads to clean it up:

https://twitter.com/girldrawsghosts/sta ... 5952686502 or https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1736 ... 86502.html
AI art can't be copyrighted, at least for now. The college grads may just be there to say there's some human input so their employer can own the results.

Of course, as AI creates more output, the pool that future AI draws from will contain more AI input. If AI introduces a loss of quality, this will result in an overall decline in quality, like making a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy. Maybe then, they'll go back to human artists, like stores moving away from self checkout and back to cashiers.
Denyer wrote: Sun Jan 07, 2024 11:25 pm Question spinning off from discussion about 'dead' Ironhide and Prowl in the Top X of 2023 thread...

How long do we think big box stores will keep taking stuff that gets heavily clearanced? Are misfires forgiven, or are they locked into multi-year agreements (which seems unlikely based on how Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc, operate)? Are they getting the stock at prices which mean they don't care?
The stores bear some responsibility for that. Most of the clearance finds I've seen in person, and at the tfw Ross/Ollie's thread, have been exclusives, like Buzzworthy and Velocitron. I assume the retailers have more input into what goes into those lines than mainline releases. Was it really someone at Hasbro that decided the average Walmart would get 6 no-name Scorponok repaints and 1 Cosmos?

Meanwhile, mainline stuff like Legacy Blitzwing is still full price. You'd think they'd clearance those out to make room for exciting new figures, like Legacy Evolution Blitzwing. I did see (and buy) some of the Legacy Deluxe 2-packs that were at Walmart. But, those just showed up at $25/pack right away. It looks like those were excess stock that never made it to stores at regular price to begin with.
Warcry wrote: Mon Jan 08, 2024 7:33 pm Got it! We had the same sort of phenomenon here a decade and a bit ago, but it didn't last very long. Just absolute scads of overproduced Movie, ROTF, Generations, Reveal the Shield, etc. figures flooding liquidators. Unfortunately, most liquidators don't seem much interested in stocking Transformers after that. Maybe the rising MSRP has made it so that even the price that liquidators have to pay is too high to get a return on their investment here?
In the states, TJ Maxx and Marshall's got excess from RTS (or earlier) through CW. This was great for me, since I have one of each nearby. Starting in TR, Ollie's got stuff, which was farther. So, I'd stop by only on my way to visit my parents out of state. Then, another Ollie's opened closer, near other places I like to go, but now most stuff goes to Ross, which is nowhere near me. So, discounters do still get excess, but not in a way that's practical for me.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

Post by Denyer »

Totally agree re: the copyright thing, but at this stage there's still a fair bit of tidy up needed in a lot of cases. I think rather than photocopying the metaphor is gene pools. Second generation LLM trained on first generation LLM outputs has less diverse data to work with and thus more bias in its outputs. And whilst there are randomisation techniques to try to make things less samey, glossy and corporate people recognise 'cheap' intuitively. Plus I expect the next few years at least to be about lawsuits and throwing out models trained on data tainted by copyright issues and inappropriate content.

I'm not sure retailers have that much knowledge about exclusives or even what does/doesn't sell at a macro level. They're mostly working with legacy systems that bunch stuff under a relatively limited number of SKUs so whilst they might have local intel that it's always figure X that shelf warms, as long as the process for offloading what's left works, and enough of a % sells, the bottom line is relatively unaffected. And I'm guessing there was still a fair bit of interest in Worlds Collide to split it for Goldbug before the mark down reached wholesale price or below. Smaller packs and single figures are probably more vulnerable to no-one caring (somewhat counter-intuitively, because a lot of customers immediately rule them out due to cost/bundling) and sales algorithms can weight towards prioritising fewer sales of more expensive items.

The stores keep taking stuff that routinely gets clearanced (e.g. MOTU Origins multi-packs) which suggests they aren't feeling pain in a way that would lead them to course correct.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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So, the correct metaphor for AI using AI isn't copy of a copy, it's inbreeding? I like it. The metaphor, not inbreeding.

I don't know if the limited number of SKUs is a problem. Legacy Tarantulas (358854) and Knock-out (349383) have different SKUs, and they're in the same wave. Though, 6 digits implies one million SKUs, and I'd think there'd be more than that for all the products that have SKUs. Do SKUs vary by retailer?

Maybe the real question is why do retailers seem more willing to clearance their TF exclusives than the mainline stuff? My local Wal-Mart still has Legacy Arcee and Skids for full price, but marked their beasts and Velocitron Deluxes way down. This seems to be new, as I remember being tempted by clearance Kingdom Tracks and Waspinator at the same store.

I can't comment on other brands, since I don't pay attention to them. I mean, this is the internet, so I should be expected to post about things I know nothing about. But in this case, I'd rather not. Are the MOTU Origins multi-packs store exclusives?
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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It's a winning mix of homogeneity and genetic material degrading.

As I understand it, not all retailers use manufacturer product codes as their inventory and POS equipment are more limited, toys aren't core business, etc. So they may have an identifier per wave, or per product line, or per product category rather than knowing that warehouses and shelves are clogged with Tarantulas specifically. It may be as simple as "we're running low on deluxe class TF figures" and the reorder gets entered for whatever equivalent line is current. Whereas I'd guess that they will definitely have different codes for store exclusives and that it's more noticeable if they've been shelf warming. Plus these are scheduled products, often expected to be delivered on time to target certain sales periods, and they might have an exclusive intended for retail within a 3 or 6 month window, whereas they sell TF deluxes all year round. Similarly the allocation and sales success criteria for different products are assessed differently in scenarios the customer might assume are treated the same... it boils down to that if they sell out of certain products they won't necessarily restock. Or things might go to immediate clearance. Happened with the last wave of WWEternia figures, for instance.

MOTU exclusives have mostly been split between Walmart and Target in the US, with stock entering different distribution channels elsewhere in the world. Not that dissimilar to with TFs. It hasn't been that difficult to get some of those exclusives over here. Very hard to get some non-exclusives.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

Post by Clay »

Most relevant thread for this, I suppose. What do we reckon about Haslab RID2001 Prime and Magnus?

Seems close enough to the original that a reissue (w/o the issues of the Encore version) would be more appropriate. I guess Bluebolts is neat? The number of backers this has after a week is crazy for what it is. It's the same toy as twenty years ago at 4x the price.

I suppose what's most disappointing to me is the amount of fans either actively misremembering the originals or just being ignorant of them. I've seen this set get lots of praise because of ankle tilts or Magnus having knees, but the old set has had them the whole time. I guess "new=better" is the only take for a lot of people. The number of sales posts for the originals I've seen in the last week (after the mere announcement of the set) is discouraging.

Hopefully the new one will have better balance in the big mode?
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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I don't know enough about the original molds to say how similar or different this one is, since I never owned it. The new one looks really nice, though. I wouldn't buy it, but then again I wouldn't buy the originals either. I'm not a huge fan of the RiD design style in general, and I can't see myself spending $300+ Canadian for something that'd just be Globequake memorabilia to me. Which is probably verbatim what I said about Star Saber, come to think of it.

I don't disagree with any of your arguments about the price, or about people praising "improvements" without being familiar with the source material. But I do think they are all equally applicable to this year's Magmatron as well, and I'm curious what it is about this one that brings you down on the opposite side of the argument, so to speak. Sure, the price is pretty steep...but it's also effectively two Magmatrons with a Deluxe thrown in, based on the sizes they're quoting. It doesn't seem especially unreasonable, based on what passes for "reasonable" these days.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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Warcry wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 4:01 am But I do think they are all equally applicable to this year's Magmatron as well, and I'm curious what it is about this one that brings you down on the opposite side of the argument, so to speak.
Hmm... good point. New Magmatron is considerably larger than the old one, and more importantly has a measurable increase in articulation. New Omega Prime is basically the same size as the old one, only slightly bigger.

I suppose the other and biggest wrinkle is that Omega Prime is a Haslab project. It accomplishes little in the way of doing something novel with the opportunity like Victory Saber/Dezarus/giant Unicron that would be too big or niche (or both) to work at general retail. Instead, it's a nearly 1:1 recreation (from what they've shown so far) of a toy that we've already had for decades that displaces the opportunity for something more interesting/daring for another year.

You could say that Magmatron also displaces the opportunity for another commander figure for another year (true), but it's at least different enough in size and articulation that you can tell it apart from the original when they're side by side. With the Omega Prime, it's more like... if there are no improvements to make, why make it again? Why not use the Haslab slot for something like Rail Racer? That's a neat design that could benefit from being up-sized to give more room for the individual bots to have better proportions.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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I had to look up Globequake. Remembered it being highly regarded but not what it was. CR/RID is a continuity I still haven't watched, but some of the designs are cool in and of themselves. Not sure that RR could carry a fake crowdfund type project.

Considered as a 3P toy it seems fair enough for anyone who's particularly interested. That's all Haslab seems to be... smaller run, non-retail-viable and semi-vanity projects. Occasionally bundled with things that the parent company want to be dicks about by withholding from retail like additional Micromasters.

Really emphasises that the best days of TFs (as a brand capable of doing big fun things like this and some of the Unicron Trilogy releases) are mostly behind it, doesn't it?
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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Clay wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 3:43 pmHmm... good point. New Magmatron is considerably larger than the old one, and more importantly has a measurable increase in articulation. New Omega Prime is basically the same size as the old one, only slightly bigger.
Has someone taken comparison pics of the two Magmatrons? I had no real idea how big either of them were until you mentioned that. I guess the original was your standard Ultra, comparable to Depth Charge or Big Convoy or the like? The only figure I can remember seeing the new Magmatron pictured with was the new Silverbolt, and he's easily twice as big as that...but depending on how big Silverbolt is, that could translate to anywhere between "a bit bigger than an Ultra" and "Siege Jetfire". You're figuring he'll be closer to the latter?
Clay wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 3:43 pmI suppose the other and biggest wrinkle is that Omega Prime is a Haslab project. It accomplishes little in the way of doing something novel with the opportunity like Victory Saber/Dezarus/giant Unicron that would be too big or niche (or both) to work at general retail. Instead, it's a nearly 1:1 recreation (from what they've shown so far) of a toy that we've already had for decades that displaces the opportunity for something more interesting/daring for another year.
Yeah, that's fair. As toys, nothing stood out as objectionable to me. But I definitely scratched my head a bit over how it was being released, too. I haven't looked too closely at Omega Prime, so maybe there's some groundbreaking engineering hiding away somewhere that I'm not seeing at a glance. It's pretty much what I'd expect from a Commander-class figure of either of the big guys, and honestly I kind of expected we'd be seeing that at retail in the next year or two. If Armada Prime or Magmatron aren't too crazy, I'm not sure why RiD Prime or Magnus would be.
Denyer wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 6:48 pm I had to look up Globequake. Remembered it being highly regarded but not what it was. CR/RID is a continuity I still haven't watched, but some of the designs are cool in and of themselves.
RiD is in a funny spot for me. I think it's the only line where I'm familiar with most of the toys, but I what I know about the story and the characters wouldn't fill a paragraph. Globequake filled a lot of that void kind of by default, since it was the first story I ever saw that characterized any of those characters. Various other bits of fan content I came across over the years filled in the rest. I doubt any of what I "know" about the characters is accurate at all. :lol:

I don't know if I could ever read Globequake again. I loved it when I was twenty. I'd hate to reread it at (ever so close to) forty and realize that it was actually edgelord bullshit all along. That's happened with a few things I used to enjoy, and I've mostly come to the conclusion that it's better to enjoy the memories.
Denyer wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 6:48 pmConsidered as a 3P toy it seems fair enough for anyone who's particularly interested. That's all Haslab seems to be... smaller run, non-retail-viable and semi-vanity projects. Occasionally bundled with things that the parent company want to be dicks about by withholding from retail like additional Micromasters.
Unicron seemed like a reasonable ask for a made-to-order high-ticket figure. The rest mostly feel like figures (and characters) that could have viably seen retail release as Leaders or Commanders at some point. Victory Saber or Omega Prime would have been split across multiple releases and it may have taken a while to get to them, but I don't see any reason why they'd be considered "non-viable" in a world where they'd confidently release a $300, two foot tall action figure of a Decepticon spaceship that never even transformed. But why stop if people are willing to pay the asking price?
Denyer wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 6:48 pmReally emphasises that the best days of TFs (as a brand capable of doing big fun things like this and some of the Unicron Trilogy releases) are mostly behind it, doesn't it?
A lot of people would argue that these are the "best days" of the franchise because Hasbro is finally paying obeisance to the cartoon. :lol: I joke, but it really is a matter of perspective.

But, yes. I can't see the brand ever going back to what I'd consider the "glory days" unless something drastic happens -- either the franchise absolutely crashes and burns like it did in the early 90s and they need to gamble on another left-field idea to revive it, or Hasbro chokes on their own greed, someone else picks up the IP for pennies on the dollar and takes it in a different direction. Neither seems likely any time soon.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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Denyer wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 6:48 pm Really emphasises that the best days of TFs (as a brand capable of doing big fun things like this and some of the Unicron Trilogy releases) are mostly behind it, doesn't it?
It's a bit of an ouroboros in some ways, but I think we're also blind to new content. The current show (Earthrise?) has its own look and, from glancing at the toys in the aisle, lots of new characters and designs. In ten or fifteen years, they'll be in the equivalent of Legacy the way Chase and Tarn are now.

I guess that the real difference is, ~twenty years ago when we started to pay attention again, there wasn't the equivalent of Legacy, so we just went with the current stuff like Armada by default.

Warcry wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 7:57 pm Has someone taken comparison pics of the two Magmatrons? I had no real idea how big either of them were until you mentioned that. I guess the original was your standard Ultra, comparable to Depth Charge or Big Convoy or the like? The only figure I can remember seeing the new Magmatron pictured with was the new Silverbolt, and he's easily twice as big as that...but depending on how big Silverbolt is, that could translate to anywhere between "a bit bigger than an Ultra" and "Siege Jetfire". You're figuring he'll be closer to the latter?
Not side by side, but the Hasbro designer posted a picture with Legacy Lio Convoy, so you can infer the size from that. I snapped some pics of Lio Convoy with Jetfire and Armada Prime and the original Magmatron. So... yeah, the new Magmatron is substantially bigger. Plus he can apparently turn his head now, yay!

Armada Prime is a good counterpoint to Omega Prime as well. He's basically the same size and look as the original, but he actually has knees and whatnot now. You can see where there was room for improvement and they went for it.
It's pretty much what I'd expect from a Commander-class figure of either of the big guys, and honestly I kind of expected we'd be seeing that at retail in the next year or two. If Armada Prime or Magmatron aren't too crazy, I'm not sure why RiD Prime or Magnus would be.
Two commanders and a separate deluxe (because reasons), or a boxed set as a titan, yeah. I wonder if the decision came down to the set as-offered using 17.1% more plastic than the other titans or something, so it was punted over to the "charge whatever we want" bracket.
Unicron seemed like a reasonable ask for a made-to-order high-ticket figure. The rest mostly feel like figures (and characters) that could have viably seen retail release as Leaders or Commanders at some point. Victory Saber or Omega Prime would have been split across multiple releases and it may have taken a while to get to them, but I don't see any reason why they'd be considered "non-viable" in a world where they'd confidently release a $300, two foot tall action figure of a Decepticon spaceship that never even transformed. But why stop if people are willing to pay the asking price?
I like the Nemesis :| But yeah, it's hard to parse out the decision process for what gets to be a crowd funded project. You'd think the Nemesis and Omega Prime would be reversed.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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Denyer wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2024 12:29 am Plus these are scheduled products, often expected to be delivered on time to target certain sales periods, and they might have an exclusive intended for retail within a 3 or 6 month window, whereas they sell TF deluxes all year round. Similarly the allocation and sales success criteria for different products are assessed differently in scenarios the customer might assume are treated the same... it boils down to that if they sell out of certain products they won't necessarily restock. Or things might go to immediate clearance. Happened with the last wave of WWEternia figures, for instance.
So, retailers clearance their current exclusives to make way for new exclusives that they've committed to buying, while letting mainline stuff languish since they're no obligated to get more? That kind of makes sense.

As for Omega Prime, I'd guess part of the distribution decision was the desire to sell both figures together. Otherwise, there'd be some people who'd buy Optimus but not UM. Hasbro would have no way of knowing how many people that'd be. If they make equal numbers of both, they'd have to clearance some UM Commanders. If they underproduce UM, people would want both and not be able to get them. Or, they'd put off buying OP until they were sure they could get UM, leaving OP to languish. Selling both together sticks it to those who'd otherwise only buy OP, which is probably the least bad option for Hasbro's bottom line.

I don't know why this is a Haslab instead of a Titan. Maybe the extra color detail makes it more expensive to produce than the mostly purple Nemesis.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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Clay wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 1:47 amThe current show (Earthrise?) has its own look and, from glancing at the toys in the aisle, lots of new characters and designs. In ten or fifteen years, they'll be in the equivalent of Legacy the way Chase and Tarn are now.
Optimist. It'll mostly still be G1 Prime and Bumblebee, made hollow enough to float.
Tantrum wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 2:44 amAs for Omega Prime, I'd guess part of the distribution decision was the desire to sell both figures together. Otherwise, there'd be some people who'd buy Optimus but not UM.
Totally -- releasing UM first would be the only vaguely sensible way to do it, as that carries assurance that Prime is coming. Still wouldn't sell as many UMs because the Fire Convoy design is better and more iconic by itself.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

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I guess this is the place to bring up the upcoming Marvel figures?

Kind of surprised that a red-purple Soundwave wasn't first on the menu, though I suppose it's possible we'll see stuff like that, black-helmeted Megatron or blue Galvatron if these ones do well. I skipped the original SS86 Grimlock because it was too much like the old MP, but I'm definitely interested in a comic-colours version. I'll have to keep an eye out for this.

Between this, the anniversary clothing line full of comic art and the upcoming Amazon-exclusive Mayhem Attack Squad subline, it's nice to see Marvel not being treated like a redheaded stepchild for once. Hopefully, that continues.

It does make me wonder if IDW had been pressuring them not to make too big of a deal about any of their older comics while their partnership was active. Even the Amazon Wreckers line from a few years back was mostly not Marvel designs or decos.
Clay wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 1:47 amIt's a bit of an ouroboros in some ways, but I think we're also blind to new content. The current show (Earthrise?) has its own look and, from glancing at the toys in the aisle, lots of new characters and designs. In ten or fifteen years, they'll be in the equivalent of Legacy the way Chase and Tarn are now.
Earthspark has some interesting designs! But as with every show since TF: Prime, I have absolutely no idea how to go about watching it. I think Cyberverse wound up getting uploaded to YouTube. Is this the same? Or is it on some streaming service? I suppose if I was really interested I would have just downloaded it, but when fans of your property aren't sure how to (legally) consume it, I think there's been a communications breakdown.

We haven't had cable TV in almost a decade, which definitely plays a part, be even before then the shows had gotten pushed to more and more obscure specialty networks that fewer and fewer people had.
Clay wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 1:47 amI guess that the real difference is, ~twenty years ago when we started to pay attention again, there wasn't the equivalent of Legacy, so we just went with the current stuff like Armada by default.
Another big difference in those days is that the "kid" line and the "nostalgia" line (insofar as that distinction even existed) were both being made with the same build quality and budget. Alternators or Universe weren't any better than the Armada or Energon figures they came out alongside, they were just designed to appeal to different tastes. And I can't speak for everyone who was a fan at the time, but I know that I found stuff to love in all of them!

That continued up until Prime, but afterwards there was a major shift in philosophy. Since, there's been a very stark quality difference between the Generations product and the TV show lines. The bulk of RiD, Cyberverse, Earthspark, etc. figures have been hollow, with a low parts count, restricted engineering and so on. Even if an adult fan likes the designs, the actual figures are quite disappointing (to me, at least) and there's not much motivation to follow the line. And those that do, mostly talk about how they hope the TV shows' more distinctive designs get Legacy figures.
Clay wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 1:47 amNot side by side, but the Hasbro designer posted a picture with Legacy Lio Convoy, so you can infer the size from that. I snapped some pics of Lio Convoy with Jetfire and Armada Prime and the original Magmatron. So... yeah, the new Magmatron is substantially bigger. Plus he can apparently turn his head now, yay!
That's a lot bigger than I would have expected! So much so that it's actually kind of off-putting for me. It's hard for me to visualize any BW character dwarfing everyone else so thoroughly, aside from Optimal Optimus.
Clay wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 1:47 amArmada Prime is a good counterpoint to Omega Prime as well. He's basically the same size and look as the original, but he actually has knees and whatnot now. You can see where there was room for improvement and they went for it.
Armada Prime is a great comparison. All of the arguments that you could make about Omega Prime would be just as applicable to an Armada Prime/Jetfire/Overload set as well. But one wound up being a Haslab exclusive and the other wound up with a regular Commander release for Prime and, presumably, retail releases for the other two in the future. It would be fascinating to hear what motivated them to do in the directions they did with the two different incarnations the character.

And I wouldn't call Commander Armada Prime an "improvement" any more than I'd call TR Trypticon an improvement over the original. They're meant to be entirely different things. "This action figure is a better action figure than that old playset" is kind of a tautology, but you could just as easily say the new one sucks because it doesn't auto-transform and isn't chock full of Minicon gimmicks. Both arguments equally miss the point though. The new Armada Prime is trying to be something entirely different, and I think that's why it gets much less of a "Why, though?" reaction compared to the RiD set.
Clay wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 1:47 am I like the Nemesis :| But yeah, it's hard to parse out the decision process for what gets to be a crowd funded project. You'd think the Nemesis and Omega Prime would be reversed.
I'm not making any judgment on the thing's quality, but Nemesis feels like a really out-there choice for a huge-ticket retail figure. I'd argue it isn't even the most memorable Decepticon spaceship from the cartoon!
Tantrum wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 2:44 amSo, retailers clearance their current exclusives to make way for new exclusives that they've committed to buying, while letting mainline stuff languish since they're no obligated to get more? That kind of makes sense.
A strange thing that's just started happening in Canada is that Walmart has cleared out the unsold exclusives that they couldn't get rid of on clearance by sending them to Toys'R'Us...who then proceeded to run them back out onto the shelves at full price. So the Transformers section at my local TRU is not about 50% Target exclusives (which they usually get in Canada), 40% 2022 Walmart exclusives and 10% brown-box Selects. None of which seem to be moving.

They seem to barely even try to stock retail figures anymore.
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Denyer
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

Post by Denyer »

I don't think IDW had any particular leverage or say in things. They were clearly thrown some bones with opportunities to do pack-in comics, and they've been a bit of a seam for designers to mine (after seeing the success of 3P stuff) but I'd be very surprised if they had anything to do with downplaying Marvel, any more than in SS86 taking a lead, what with the reprints and everything.

More surprised because the new comics licensee probably has an understanding with them that the Marvel and IDW stuff won't be rushed back into print, but by this point reprints are tapped out anyway. Toy stuff can exist without really diverting attention.

My ears pricked up at Amazon Mayhem Attack Squad, but it sounds like more bundling nonsense so they've flattened down again. Maybe if anything's particularly good and the packs end up clearanced. They've clearly learnt nothing from the Wreckers.

https://www.tfw2005.com/boards/threads/ ... 295/page-4

The 'Marvel' figures look okay, but that's still an overpriced voyager Shockwave and the effects shading clashes more with other figures than most TFs.

Never knew this existed, that's a distinctly more G1-ish Megatron... (also, with that description can you tell that the store are in the process of giving up on stocking a lot of Hasbro stuff?) --

https://www.kapowtoys.co.uk/product/tra ... eries.html

RID2 and Cyberverse did have their moments, a few of the figures are worth closer inspection and well-engineered enough without being overly complicated, but it was rare.

Anyone know if the Legacy United Sandstorm is massive, or just shoving a triple changer into the leader price bracket?
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

Post by Warcry »

That Shockwave actually seems to be priced as a Voyager, surprisingly enough, even though they've replaced the extra limbs and guns with that disembodied Optimus head. But I'd agree that it's not especially appealing. I get what they're going for but they went overboard with the shading compared to Grimlock.
Denyer wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:08 pm My ears pricked up at Amazon Mayhem Attack Squad, but it sounds like more bundling nonsense so they've flattened down again. Maybe if anything's particularly good and the packs end up clearanced. They've clearly learnt nothing from the Wreckers.
The multi-pack setup is definitely a bummer, though not at all surprising. That's been the bulk of Amazon's exclusives since at least Siege. Other retailers seem to get a lot more single-packed figures, so I'm guessing this is an "Amazon" thing and not a Hasbro one?

If the character selection are actual Mayhem Attack Squad members, I'll probably find one or two of the sets appealing. If they pad it with random dinosaur skeletons, maybe not so much? And I say that as someone who liked the Fossilizers, but there's only so much mileage you can get out of the same two and a half unique molds...

The first set we've heard details of is a Bludgeon/Ruckus pack, which at least sounds good in theory. The Wreckers set only had two actual Marvel Wreckers, so already we're half-way there (and Ruckus may as well be, I usually forget that he and Windsweeper weren't described as such in the Matrix Quest).
Denyer wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:08 pm Anyone know if the Legacy United Sandstorm is massive, or just shoving a triple changer into the leader price bracket?
I'd be pretty surprised if it was much bigger than Siege Springer was. I don't think Astrotrain or Blitzwing were, if you disregard the shoe lifts/Hulk hands included in the package that no one wanted.

I'm not sure what I think about this guy. They basically ignored the character model entirely and made a new toy based almost totally on the aesthetics of the old one. That's super rare in this day and age, and I had the original Sandstorm as a kid, so I really appreciate it. I should love it! But then they went and slapped that head on it, and it kind of drags down the whole thing.
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Re: Grumpy old men: armchair brand management

Post by Denyer »

If they've got any sense they'll pack an additional head in with Sandstorm rather than let it shelf warm. Who am I kidding?

Yeah, I think Amazon would rather have fewer sales but more profit per item, due to the way they operate Prime.

I like the MD sculpt (minus the paint) and Leadfoot, and the t-rex mould, but they're all low-value reuses and hard to justify any sort of premium for. Looking back over the Wreck N Rule collection, I think three figures got remoulding? And one of those already had multiple recent releases and was decent enough to be a reminder to avoid buying the first release of things. So not expecting much.

https://tfsource.com/blog/2022/05/16/co ... ow-part-5/
The first set we've heard details of is a Bludgeon/Ruckus pack, which at least sounds good in theory.
Assuming everyone cynically avoided the first Bludgeon. Would probably quite like Ruckus, partly for completism with Crankcase, but unless Bludgeon isn't the gangly Tarn reuse (possible since the two-packs for Wreckers were deluxes) it'll be seeing if people split the packs or they get predictably super-discounted in places other than Amazon.

This may go out of the window if they do a good Windsweeper.
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