Poe’s Point > Gleekocalypse

gleek1I’m almost striking after the iron’s cold, but last week the DCUC collecting community exploded into rage when it was revealed that Gleek, the Wonder Twin’s monkey mascot, would not be available for sale online but only as a pack-in with purchases of the WT set at the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC).

Collectors started a campaign, “No Monkey=No Money,” saying they wouldn’t buy the Wonder Twins set online if Gleek was not included.

In a note on Facebook, Mattel tried to head off the tide of anger. Unfortunately, they went a little too far in trying to offer fans a rationalization for it.

Yes, Gleek is only available at the show. He is not in the package with the Twins but rather will be poly bagged as a “gift with purchase”. Why did we do this? Well simply, in years past we did not have online distribution through my awesome website Mattycollector.com. In years past the ONLY way to get any of the exclusives was at the show. Now that we have online sales, we wanted to find a way to still reward fans who come out to the show with an exclusive only at the show, and Gleek will only be a gift with purchase in San Diego. Will everyone be happy with this, maybe not, but at least the main items are online. In years past you couldn’t even get any of them without being at the show, now at least you can get the Twins online even if Gleek is not with them. This is why they are called show exclusives, because they are only at a show.

As many collectors have noted, this is basically saying, “In my day, we couldn’t even get convention exclusives if we didn’t go to the convention, so be happy for what you’ve got!” Anyone with even a passing familiarity with fandom–particularly toy collectors–should know not to even bother with this sort of thing. On a PR level, I think Mattel should simply have reiterated that Gleek would only be sold with the Twins at the SDCC and stopped at “San Diego.”

(And don’t get me started on the “awesome website” line…OK, let me get started. While I really appreciate Mattel’s attempts to communicate directly with the fans, the whole “Matty” thing is like a teenager’s dad trying to hang out with his son’s friends to prove he’s “hip.” Everyone knows Scott Neitlich is Toy Guru is Matty. I don’t mind Neitlich using the “Toy Guru” handle–after all, it’s not like my real name is Poe Ghostal–but I think most collectors find the “Matty” thing demeaning, as if we’re being treated like children. And if we collectors are insecure about anything–if there’s anything we don’t want to be reminded of–it’s the idea that we’re childish. Mattel should rename the website Mattelcollector.com and have Toy Guru serve as the point of contact.)

But I digress. The real issue here is the idea of convention exclusives. Let’s examine the concept at its core: why do toy companies do convention exclusives? There are a few reasons, I think.

  • To help cover the cost of renting space and creating a booth for big conventions like SDCC;
  • To offer the convention producers a selling point to draw people to the con (not really an issue for SDCC)
  • As a PR gimmick to drum up more collector interest in the line
  • To produce a figure that would either be too expensive to mass-produce, or is too obscure or unpopular to merit a wide release.

I think the only reason most collectors care about at all is the last one, and that’s arguably the same reason Mattycollector.com exists.

What’s really the question here is: why offer convention exclusives at all? As I wrote elsewhere, I think it’s based on an outdated understanding of the toy industry. Fifteen or twenty years ago, action figures weren’t the collectors’ market they are now. If there was a bonus figure at a convention, a majority of collectors might not even be aware of the toy’s existence, so a toy company could get away with offering this nice little “bonus” for those who went to the convention.

Now, however, any collector can instantly know everything about a toy line via the Internet, and many of them are “completists”–people who like to own every single figure–and variant–in a toy line. So rather than being an added bonus for the few people who can afford to go to the convention, an exclusive figure–even just an accessory, like Gleek–becomes a hole in the collection of countless others.

Finally, Mattel’s explanation still doesn’t get at the real question: why are they rewarding fans who go to a convention? I think the only real answer is that many toy companies have become entrenched in the idea of convention exclusives as a tradition, and aren’t bothering to examine the concept within the context of the current market to see whether they still make sense.

It’s a question of value. Obviously, if Mattel offered Gleek online with the WT pack, they would make more money (and God help them if they charge the same for the Gleek-less WT packs–that’s just a rip-off, plain and simple). So by not offering Gleek online, they lose money.

So what do they gain by offering Gleek at the convention but not online? So far, they’ve gained a lot of negative publicity and no doubt lost a few sales of the WT pack online, never mind the few collectors who are mad enough to quit the line altogether. So how does offering Gleek at the convention make up for that?

Call me a populist, but I think it would be better not to make any Gleeks at all than to offer them only to convention attendees. (Note that this doesn’t mean I won’t have my SDCC-going buddy get one for me–if it exists and it’s DCUC, I’m probably going to get it.)

Here’s the other thing, too–I think there are plenty of collector who don’t care much about Gleek, and wouldn’t care if they didn’t get one. No doubt a good number of those casual fans will be at the SDCC–but they’ll still get a Gleek that might make a more hardcore collector much happier.

Here’s my proposed solution to the problem. Mattel should not offer Gleek at the SDCC, but rather sell him online, separately, on Mattycollector after the show. That way, any collector who got the WT set at SDCC can get one, while fans who couldn’t go also get a shot–and anyone who doesn’t want a Gleek doesn’t end up taking one out of the pool (or worse, scalping it on eBay).

Of course, convention exclusives aren’t a problem isolated to Mattel, and they’re probably too entrenched in the industry at this point. Mattel does deserve a lot of credit for offering the exclusives online at all. But I still think there’s no reason to “reward” the fans who go to the convention with anything other than getting the figures first and not having to pay shipping fees.

As it happens, it’s likely I’ll be able to get a Gleek because of a good friend of mine who always goes to SDCC. But if that falls through for some reason, I would probably get the WT set minus Gleek from Mattycollector. Even without Gleek, I would like to have the Twins and their cool accessories.

While I’d like to say I wouldn’t buy them online on principle, I know myself and it’s all too likely I would anyway. At this point, I do think Mattel is already in enough of a shitstorm to think long and hard about pulling something like this next year.

Comments now closed (44)

  • "To produce a figure that would either be too expensive to mass-produce, or is too obscure or unpopular to merit a wide release."

    I think this should be the most important thing they should consider when choosing an exclusive. Too expensive to mass produce: 30 inch Anti Monitor. Too obscure for wide release: He-Ro. I'd also add inappropriate for retail stores : Lobo, and variant of generally released figure: slimed Egon.

    IMO, the Wonder Twins and Gleek would sell just fine at retail. What they might lack in name recognition from younger fans they would more than make up for in recognition from parents.

    They're selling Samurai, etc. at retail for the JLU line and they don't seem to be too worried. I'd argue that they're more obscure than the twins are.

  • nice write up. Mattel's rationale that 'in years past' exclusives were only available at cons are a clear indicator that they are 'years past' the current collecting way of thinking. Mattel is trying with mattycollector to get with the times, but still falls way far behind. that said, I will have a Gleek with my WT exclusive one way or another, and I will not be attending SDCC.

    but, from Mattel's perspective, I can tell people that I did ;^)

  • Good write-up, Poe. I think it's a pretty fair look at the recent "controversy".

    Just wanted to point out that Matty's response on Facebook also overlooks the fact that all of their con exclusives (with the exception of Gleek and the variant Egon/Slimer) will be available on their site… as were all of last year's. That makes their answer seem like an off-the-cuff dismissal.

  • If Mattel had said they would repackage the set for the website, I could live with that. I agree with your comments on the existence of a site (and add a shout-out for the fact that it seemingly ships to Canada, which other sites – Hasbrotoyshop.com, I am looking at you – do not).

    But to make such a big deal about launching a site to allow collectors to be able to get convention exclusives and then deliberately make some of those exclusives unavailable BECAUSE of the site boggles the mind.

    Mattel has to know they are adding to the secondary market. This shows they're fine with that. I'm certain fans should not be fine with that.

    And bravo! on the talk-down-to-fans side bar.

  • As a completist I am quite annoyed by the Gleek problem though not enough to quit the line, though I continue not out of loyalty to Mattel but because I like the line and the Four Horsemen's work on it.

    They've already hurt the completist in me enough with the Walmart exclusives from last year which never came anywhere near me and are so ridiculously expensive online.

  • "Now that we have online sales, we wanted to find a way to still reward fans who come out to the show with an exclusive only at the show…"

    Until this Gleek exclusive was announced, I had thought that maybe the folks at Mattel were beginning to understand the collecting community. I thought perhaps that their online sales of convention figures meant that they understood that – these days – a convention exclusive is more of a reward for scalpers than it is for fans.

    This is just baffling. How could they on one hand be aware of the clamor for a JLU Hal Jordan – and on the other, think that this Gleek plan wouldn't piss off a whole bunch of collectors? It's as though they are engaged in some self-destructive anti-marketing campaign.

    Perhaps they are under the mistaken belief that in the Venn diagram of geekery, the circles that represent toy collectors and convention attendees overlap a heck of a lot more than they actually do. Hell, even if everyone at SDCC collected action figures (and DCUC specifically), there would still be a much, much larger number of us out here who will not be going to San Diego. Given the current world of action figure collecting – a world Mattel helped shape by launching their [asininely named] web store – why would anyone think that this Gleek plan would be perceived as anything other than a giant middle finger to collectors at large?

  • Poe, please explain to me why you and your minions have not yet taken over Mattel in bloody conquest.

  • Honestly, I've just kinda come to accept that as the nature of the game.

    I would have liked to have been able to bought the NYCC Mr. Freeze but couldn't make it over there. Sometimes the convention exclusive works in your favor, sometimes it doesn't.

    Grant us the serenity to accept what we cannot change and all that.

  • "…to make such a big deal about launching a site to allow collectors to be able to get convention exclusives and then deliberately make some of those exclusives unavailable BECAUSE of the site boggles the mind."

    Yes, precisely.

    Really, I don't care about The Wonder Twins or, by obvious extension, Gleek. However, trying to put myself in other collector's shoes, I can see where this is rather…infuriating. For a number of reasons.

    However, I would also like to point a little something out that I haven't seen mentioned online: "Rewarding" convention goers can be conversely seen as "punishing" non-attendees…and in this economic climate, I really can't fathom why any business person with a handful of functioning brain cells wants to equate themselves or their company with rewarding the "haves" and punishing the "have nots"…

  • The problem I have w/ the No Monkey/No Money thing is Mattel has already pretty much said that it's too late in the game to do anything about it.

    So we have to come to accept the fact that there aren't enough Gleeks to go around.

    So let's say you don't buy the set because there's no Gleek…well, then the Wonder Twins don't sell.

    Mattel looks at this and goes…well…they're not supporting the product. That's enough of that.

    This is, of course, dependent on the idea that anyone would actually STICK to boycotting the set because of the lack of Gleek, and by and large I think toy collectors (myself included) really don't have the stones to do that.

  • great post Poe. I hope Mattel reads insightful stuff such as this. The real reason I'm cheesed id because for once they got it right last year. It was perfect. But then they go and muck it up for this year. Thats what really pisses me off. That and the fact that I am a completist, and I will try my damnedest to get Gleek, either by online contacts or ebay, but would rather give mattel my money instead. I would much rather pay $5 more for Gleek on Matty and have him be free at the show as the reward.

  • I really like how the Wonder Twins turned out, and will definitely pick up a set, but only because I like the Horsemen's take on them and not for any love of the characters. That said I won't seek out a Gleek that someone who cares would want a lot more, but I really am not in the mood to read another finger-shaking post by Matty on Facebook about how we don't support online exclusives when the displeasure regarding this one is completely THEIR FAULT.

  • "But to make such a big deal about launching a site to allow collectors to be able to get convention exclusives and then deliberately make some of those exclusives unavailable BECAUSE of the site boggles the mind. "

    To be fair, they never said that's why they launched the site. They launched it as a place to sell collectors' lines (ex: MOTU)and items that might not do so well at retail (ex: Alex Luthor/Ultraman). The sale of convention exclusives was never the point of the site (and face it, that would have been pretty silly of them to set up a site for something that only happens twice a year at most).

  • Always count on Poe to rise above the LoCoDe whiners of our hobby and frame things in a way that doesn't sound like manchild whining. Thumbs up, man.

    I've often felt disdain for comic convention exclusives, because as a Canadian, it's a whole lot harder to get to one of those things. It's difficult (or at least onerous) to get a passport.

    "This is, of course, dependent on the idea that anyone would actually STICK to boycotting the set because of the lack of Gleek, and by and large I think toy collectors (myself included) really don’t have the stones to do that."

    That's a good point. I'm pretty sure that the Wonder Twins set'll sell out pretty good. Though I'm sure when the time comes all the naysayers'll claims it's all the scalpers buying up all of the Wonder Twins.

    But of course no one'll be buying from the scalpers because of the "no monkey line." ;)

  • What would really irk me is if the two packs were priced the same at the convention and online. That would really be a kick to the nuts because those who buy the online version are essentially covering the spread out tooling cost of a figure they don't get.

  • On a tangentially related note, I just got word from Toy Guru that the Mattycollector Luthor/Ultraman two-pack has been delayed, as many of us were expecting. Bummer.

  • Here's an idea;

    Mattel could give everybody who buys the Twins on Matty a 'coupon code', do another production run on Gleeks (one for every WT set they've got), and give everybody who has a code first crack at the new run.

    It's not perfect, but it gives anybody who wanted the monkey, who couldn't make it to the SDCC, a chance to get him.

  • I think it is patently false that Mattel cannot fix this at this point. the still have the mold and Gleek isn't even packaged with Twins but seperately, so they would just have to order some more and won't. Even if they would have to push back sales of the set to do it that would be better than not having it at all. As far as a boycott goes, if enough people would commit Mattel might cave in. Personally I don't care enough about Gleek to boycott, (I am more excited aobut the alternate forms) but I seriously doubt the Twins will sell out that quickly. If Mattel sold like 10% of what they expect opening day, it might send a message. I'm willing to wait at least a few days or until Mattel announces they are close to being sold out before I buy to see if Mattel caves on this and I would hope other collectors would be willing to do the same.

  • "I think it is patently false that Mattel cannot fix this at this point…they would just have to order some more and won’t."

    I'm sure "Matty" would disagree with that, and offer some vague excuse about production schedules or whatever. If there is any truth to it, I would like to see an explanation of why Mattel operates differently than virtually every other manufacturer in toys or any other industry in the world. See, Mattel, if there is demonstrated demand for a product, a company should try to supply that demand by producing more of said product.

    Something about this Gleek situation seems even more annoying than if they simply were going back to not offering a convention exclusive figure online after the fact. He may come packaged separately in a poly bag – but Gleek is absolutely part of the Wonder Twins set. Any set that does not include him is incomplete. It would be like selling a Teen Titans set without Cyborg.

    I should point out that I don't even want the set – with or without Gleek – so I don't really have a horse in this race. As an impartial observer, it just strikes me as odd that Mattel would choose to go this route.

    If they were to offer a true convention only figure of- I dunno- a Super Friends-styled Scarecrow (something I would actually want, by the way), it wouldn't seem nearly as off-putting as offering a complete set at SDCC, and then a partial set online afterwards. Another hypothetical scenario to beat this dead blue space monkey some more: If they were going to sell a set of a redeco Superman with Superboy there, and later online, but threw in a Mr. Mxyztplk only at SDCC, I don't think there would have been quite the outrage, because the little imp was not integral to the convention offering. I have to come back to the point that any Gleek-less Wonder Twins set is an incomplete set.

    Also, I agree with Poe about convention exclusives being pointless these days, as they only "reward" a relative handful of people, while they rankle countless others.

    Oh well… Maybe someday soon I'll stop expecting better public relations from companies like Mattel.

  • i'm glad poe that you mentioned how lame the whole "matty" thing is. with his smarmy little smirk and jughead crown, i think the whole idea of "matty" is misguided and lame, and whatever ad team came up with it should be fired. it doesn't speak to me, it turns me off. it definitely has an outsider feel to it, like "this is what a collector probably would think is cool."

  • Stupid Mattel Should just make enough Gleeks for all the people who want one and all the Collection Completion Junkies out there! Jerks! Stupid Con Exclusive jerks.

    Makes me angry. I really feel that my Howard the duck needs a blue monkey to pal around with. Guess that will never happen. Oh well. Mattel sucks. As do con exclusives PERIOD.

    BTW I just found this site last week and it is one of my favs! Keep up the Good work Poe! :)

  • See the way I see it…Mattel does this to add hype. It's always been about hype. Even if the fans aren't happy, that's still a win-win situation with them since bad publicity is still good publicity for them.

    These rare..not so popular characters..are a scalpers dream come true and they know that scalpers will always work well for their limited production runs where they don't over produce and they sell out all the limite quantities they do produce.

    I understand the frustration but I understand the method to mattel's madness.

    It is what it is and no matter how much we hate it, Mattel will never change. The controversy just makes Mattel support their end goals. DCUC isn't a high production line like hotwheels or barbie and ESPECIALLY their limited runs of their online sales figures so this should all be expected.

    This comes with making characters out of the A, B and C list range. They'll make it, but the catch is it'll be limited and they'll be more limited things (Gleek) attached to that limited release.

  • Ah Outraged Toy Collectors, the over-dramatic self-obsessed easily quelled proletariat.

    I say this now… until they try to dick me over with a convention exclusive DCUC Power Girl or Catwoman.

  • This whole gleek situation makes me angrier and angrier with Mattel.

    Gleek is part of the Trio. Period.( Remember the cartoon? )

    To explain my point, let me remind you: that bucket is technically Gleek's accessory to hold ( Remember the cartoon? )

    So who is supppose to hold the bucket, Matty? The eagle? I don't think so… Because, if you look closer, Gleek's hand is even MOLDED to HOLD the BUCKET.

    This fact alone makes Mattel even bigger idiots in this Gleek Situation.

    I said it before and I repeat once again: NO MONKEY, NO MONEY.

    P.S.: Just another thing… What about INTERNATIONAL collectors Mattel? This is a slap on our face!

  • I don't get it. I love my action figures but I guess I don't love them as much as some.

    They're toys. It's not like this is some political decision that impacts the safety and well-being of the world as we know it.

    It's a bloody blue monkey from a poorly aged show in the 70s. If you want it that bad, buy a ticket to San Diego.

  • Boo on the delay of Ultraman/Alexander Luthor. I know most people weren't looking forward to it, but I sure am.

  • You missed one reason for the exclusives, particularly for smaller companies – getting folks to their booths. It's not just about making the extra bucks (which does really help companies like NECA or Mezco), but also about getting you at the booth to see everything they have planned. Of course, this isn't the same issue for a company the size of Mattel, and it has nothing to do with only having the exclusive available at the show, and not later on line.

    Actually, the concept that making something hard to get will create buzz and interest in a line is very old school, and has never actually worked. Oh, it didn't hurt as much back in the day as it does know, but there was never any proof that it helped a line. Oh, it can generate additional sales (look at how trading card makers have manipuated their customers with chase cards for years), but generating sales through buyer manipulation and actually helping a line by generating additional interest and buzz are not the same thing. Mattel seems to be stuck with a Hot Wheels mentality on every line they produce, and it's going to repeatedly burn them.

    Collectors not only care about reason 4 (creating characters that would otherwise not see the light of day), but they appreciate it. When exclusives are used to give them something they otherwise would not get, they understand and feel good about with the company is doing. When an exclusive is used to manipulate them into buying more product, buying product they don't want, or spending excessive money on a secondary market, they won't be happy. Attempting to manipulate your customsers might generate more short term revenue, but it won't get you happy long term customers.

    And if Mattel (or Gentle Giant, another company notoriously bad about their exclusives) needs proof, they need to look no further than companies like Sideshow and Mezco who provide ways for any collector to get their show exclusives, and seem to be doing just fine, with a large rabid fan base that appreciates their customer-centric attitude.

  • Well said above, Mr. Crawford…..Still, the bottom line, kids: as long as the ‘net is up & accessible, there will always be a market demand from fanboys who will do or pay almost anything to complete their collections (well, ALMOST – in this state of the economy!)…..And BIG manufacturers like Mattel won’t give a HOOT about what business model to use to market their already-hot product. I’m afraid they don’t OWE any of us consumers any explanation or apologies on how they’ll hawk their stuff -it’s a sad but constant bitter truth in a very specific demographic market like this. I wonder, though – can the “completists” among us really endure NOT even attempting to get Gleek & the whole Wonder Twins set at all just to boycott / make a statement against Mattel’s marketing practices ???

    Will Mattel really even read or listen to all the gripes & noises we’re making here ????

  • Well, speaking for myself, the Superfriends cartoon is a loving memory of my childhood and, because of that, I really want the Supertwins set COMPLETE.

    outburst said “If you want it that bad, buy a ticket to San Diego”… Well, I understand his statement, but the world is full of people who can’t go to San Diego. Is that their fault? Is that my fault?

    I don’t think so.

    Mattel should be fair with us ( After all the world is greater than San Diego ) and release the set complete for everyone.

    No monkey, no money.

  • Well I do want the set. I have been putting a DCUC Superfriends and Legion of Doom set for some time and this set looks slick and is a no brainer. But no Gleek? Kinda just sucks the cool factor out of the set. So I'll be forced to pay for it from a Ebay scalper.

    Beautiful plan…

    So for me No Monkey = No Money to Mattel

    The equation for me really is:

    Scalped Monkey = More money for said Evil Toy Scapler

    Thanks Mattel!

  • I agree that Gleek should be made available online, you should be able to purchase 1 Gleek for each WT set you order. Everybody would be happy (except for the ebay scalpers) and Mattel wouldn't feel like a giant ass clown for trying to pull this BS on all of us. I've read similiar gripes on all the toy forum/sites …Come on Mattel get it done.

  • Maybe I'm not as upset about this situation as everyone else because A). I never liked the Wonder Twins or Gleek, and B). I sure as hell wouldn't pay retail prices for figures of them, much less con-exclusive prices.

  • Poe,

    You rock. You put on paper my thoughts usually… Now and then we differ, but on the whole I agree with everything you say…

  • These kinds of actions are to be expected from toy companies – I don't understand how the collectors who are bothered by this can maintain their outrage.

    There is nothing we can do to beat their exclusives operation, so the new paradigm is thinking of ways to beat the system.

    Mattel and Hasbro have been offering exclusive items at conventions since the mid-90's – the first ones I remember wanting were Botcon exclusives. So, instead of focusing negative, I found ways to get them. One year, I went to the convention; another, I bought the exclusive online from the convention holder. There were a few sets I had no desire to get…in one instance, a buddy was going to the con and hooked me with a set, for cost. Ebay was a resort for other items, such as the one set from Botcon Japan.

    Last year, I bought ONE exclusive item (excluding Glyos stuff) at SDCC for myself, a Nemesis Prime, but my suitcase was filled with exclusives for friends, which I provided to them AT COST.

    I'm glad to hook up true friends with what they want, although some figures were impossible to get even one of (one of those two Cobra Commanders they offered).

    It was a massive PIMB, to be honest: waiting in stupid large lines, picking up tickets for certain times to be allowed to purchase Mattel and Hasbro items, watching some Mezco items sell out before I even made it to the con – but the flipside of all this is that there are other people who would hook me up in a second if I asked them to.

    There are things that bother me – the big Anti-Monitor situation, for example – but it is up to me to resolve it in a way I see fit. I'll be giving my points to someone going to the con this year who has no interest in IH, and if I win the big AM, awesome. If not, I'll have to see what happens afterward.

    In the end, that is what it comes down to – do I want the exclusives at the going price or not? Is Gleek/Henkei Strafe/Leopard Suit Destro/Wolverine Mighty Mugg worth the money that it takes to get them? Is someone in my network going to be at the con who can help me out?

    Any company that makes it too hard to get my money loses out, because those dollars go somewhere else.

    John K.

  • I think the WT set will cost the same amount online, since they claim that Gleek is a bonus "gift"

    Why not simply charge for him on Matty?

    A FREE monkey will make people at the con pick it up early, and they could recoup some tooling costs.

    I don't think they've had trouble selling MOTU figs when they premiered at cons. Getting it early is a motivator as well.

    Its just frustrating since I have been showing retail support and a monkeyless set will always just look incomplete and will disgust me because that is the nature of the obsessive collector.

    I'd rather Green Arrow be packed without a bow, honestly.

    Exclusives, particularly those of unique characters can really kill a fan's interest in a line that suddenly can't be completed at a sane price.

    I believe MOTUC sales will dwindle after a few waves. Its doing well now since people realize how quickly sellouts will happen, but a line that doesn't have basic versions of it's core characters available is not going to be getting many new fans on board. Would you START collecting them once they got to Ram Man, knowing any of the important figures you missed could only be had at $50 or much, much more?

    Matty-good idea and I appreciate Ghostbusters and all, but has some real kinks that need ironing if we want to see more of this good stuff.

    And don't get me started on exclusive Soundwave.

    Decent price, great set, but I imagine many willing to drop $50 on this already have it, minus a tape or 2. Crap!

  • I don't understand why Mattel doesn't offer Gleek for free at the con and for a price on the site.

    It makes perfect sense and would give Mattel added revenue.

    Their stance now as it stands basically says they'd rather piss off their fans and LOSE money, then appease their customers and MAKE money.

    How backwards is that? Can someone honestly give me one valid reason why that would make sense to Mattel?

  • Newton,

    once upon a time, Playmates had a super-successful toyline based on Star Trek. They could sell thousands of any obscure figure. One of the gimmicks of the line was that the figures were numbered; why it would make a difference to a collector if they got a low number on a toy, I've never understood. It sounds more like a baseball card gimmick…

    The marketing guys behind the line figured that since the fans loved numbered figures and limited editions, they would do a special limited run of figures for the anniversary of Trek, based on the Enterprise's ship number – 1701. Yep, only one-thousand, seven hundred and one of each figure.

    It completely killed the line. There were some figures that were tough to get – Thomas Riker, a variant Data, a couple other guys – but estimates put those figures at around 10K per figure. At least there was a chance to get them. People gave up, and within a couple of years, Star Trek was no longer a toy property.

    Mattel wants to get heat for all of its properties and also to provide something unique to the fans who attend the cons. I'd bet that the marketing gurus have weighed all of the variables and think this is perfectly acceptable to do…I'd argue that they know their market exactly.

    Seven waves in, we're still hearing reports of figures broken by the packaging, frozen joints, etc. They know that the fans who want this stuff may grumble, but the majority of them will still support the line enough to make it a success, even with exclusive monkeys.

  • "I don’t get it. I love my action figures but I guess I don’t love them as much as some.

    They’re toys. It’s not like this is some political decision that impacts the safety and well-being of the world as we know it."

    If you don't have a Gleek, you will get blue cancer and die.

  • Counterpoint – I love exclusives. Honestly, the thought that I own something rare because I went out of town to a convention center with twice the population of said town inside of it makes me happy. Sure I could order it online afterward, thanks to Mattel's website or eBay. I would rather have a precious item as a memory of my adventure. Few people talk about how they pre-ordered a product from a site and how they barely got it, but I remember waiting in line for over an hour to claim my exclusives. I remember the guy who thought he was smooth getting sent to the back of the line. I remember the dejection of those that came just a little late. I think the exclusive is a great form of advertisement and a goal for the "all or nothing" collectors.

    Has the industry evolved beyond exclusives? I hope not, but it has grown and might want to change their strategy. I think that the Gleek offer is testing the water. I'm more disappointed in the 30-inch Anti-Monitor, myself. $34.99 for 25 points, at best. Exclusive figures should not be the fodder of impossible raffle.

    Good luck to all hunters.

  • As an alternative to keep good relations with "completionists", they could offer a slightly different paint job of the mold with the online WT sets and call the SDCC a variant.