I know a number of you asked why Mattel couldn’t include bonus figures in the subscription in the Ask Mattel thread, but I hadn’t planned to include it in my questions because 1.) I was certain every other site would ask, and 2.) I was fairly certain the answer would be boilerplate.
Well, Mattel has pre-empted us and offered an explanation on their Facebook page (emphasis mine):
A lot of fans have asked this question and their is a very simple answer. The bonus figures are our insurance policy that at least one new figure will be available each month. In the toy industry, issues arise all the time which delay product. For example, Faker was supposed to be the Feb bonus figure but because Mer-Man ran late he was slotted in as a standard figure. (for those keeping score at home, this also meant every other 2009 figure was bumped up a month from the intended release date…).
So for 2010’s Club Eternia program, the bonus figures, large scale beasts and re-issues will not be part of the subscription in order to have a back up in case anything gets delayed. In time, after we have another year under our belts and can better judge sales over an extended period of time, we can look at the possibility of adding an “all in” option. But for now, please bear with us as we do all in our power to make sure at least one new figure is available each month with some months having a nice bonus figure as well!
And each subscription will get the exclusive Wun-Dar figure, a new map of Eternia in poster size and a few other surprises throughout the year. It looks like 2010 will be a great time to be a He-Fan!
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Time and again, Mattel has proven to be fairly reactionary in the way they handle their collectors’ brands.
For instance, this year they brought the same number of He-Ro figures to SDCC as they did King Grayskull figures a year ago, despite the explosion of the brand’s popularity and the fact that they’d had to increase production numbers repeatedly already. Now they’re saying they’ll increase production on their SDCC exclusives for next year.
Mattel’s generals, it seems, are always fighting the last war.
Here are just a few obvious instances where Mattel could have been pro-active:
1.) The subscription service should have been ready from Figure 1, or at least by the end of Q1 2009.
2.) The “Economy Postal” option should never have existed.
3.) The Mattycollector servers should have been prepared for high traffic–at the very least, the “Red Screen of Doom” function should have been in place from Day 1.
4.) The subscription service should have been prepared to offer combined shipping with bonus figures/items and other non-MOTUC Mattycollector exclusives (JLU, DCUC, Ghostbusters etc.)
5.) Much better plans and contingencies should have been in place for international collectors, such as at least one European distribution center.