I received this in my inbox this morning.
EDITORIAL - DTC GI JOE PRODUCT
by Corey Stinson
Owner - SMALLJOES.COM
Back in February the bad news was dropped on us - the GI JOE 3 3/4" line
was being put on "hiatus", which most people understood to mean "canceled".
Little did we know that last minute adjustments and new plans were
flying around at Hasbro about the true future of 3 3/4" GI JOE product.
Jump ahead to present - Hasbro is now marketing 3 3/4" GI JOE product
in a direct-to-consumer model. Mass retailers have been bypassed, which
(at least in some respects) will allow Hasbro more design latitude toward
actual product presentation, packaging, quality, and price point. As a
result of this new latitude we are now seeing the GI JOE product that this
writer has personally be waiting for since 1994. New product of the
highest collector-oriented quality! Awesome new figures with great
sculpts, great concepts full of nostalgia value, and loads of accessories
and gear that actually go with the figure, rather than just being something
thrown in the package as "added value." The most interesting new GI JOE
vehicles ever designed are coming your way this fall.
At this year's GI JOE convention we were treated to a display of yet more
upcoming product and the quality is staggering. I can find simply nothing
to complain about. My GI JOE 2005 convention diary, including many high
resolution pictures of upcoming GI JOE product, can be found here:http://smalljoes.com/features/conv2005
So, where am I going with this? Speaking purely as a collector - trying
to avoid sounding sanctimonious, or coming from a point of conflict of
interest - this is a golden moment for GI JOE 3 3/4" collectors. The
product we've all been asking for and dreaming about for so long is here.
Because of the direct-to-consumer marketing model and the collector-
oriented nature of these offerings, it is now up to _us_ to show Hasbro
that we as a consumer base can support a product line of this nature.
This is a new marketing strategy for Hasbro, and they are going out on
the proverbial limb with these offerings.
Much of this product was probably designed and tooled in the fourth quarter
of 2004, before the direct-to-consumer marketing approach was conceived.
In fact, it's likely that most of this new product was probably intended
for the line that would follow-up Valor vs. Venom. Apparently, mass
retailers weren't on board with GI JOE any more, and we're fortunate to
have an opportunity to buy the product under this new paradigm. I mention
this because it was easier for Hasbro to justify this collector-focused
marketing experiment when much of the product was already designed and
tooled (read: significant develop expensese already incurred). However,
at some point (probably 1st quarter of 2006) Hasbro will have to decide
if we, the collector consumer base, can financially support ongoing
development of totally new product of this caliber.
At the risk of being repetitive - this is an important time for the
collector, a time to show Hasbro that when offered high quality,
collector-oriented GI JOE 3 3/4" product, that we will put our money
where our mouth is and actually buy it, rather than pick and choose
only certain items, only army build to try to impress friends, and complain
relentlessly on the discussion boards about minutia.
We have some of the best new GI JOE 3 3/4" product ever conceived coming
our way now through the end of 2005. Are we ready to kick our collective,
collecting support of 3 3/4" GI JOE into high gear, or will we have a
laissez-faire attitude toward it? What happens in 2006 and beyond is
entirely up to us. Thanks for reading.
I can understand the owner of a small store that sells these things has a vested interest in seeing the line continue, but I also think he has a good point. The product hasn't been this good since 1989, and it's kind of a shame Hasbro has to sell it this way to do it right.
I'm beginning to think GI Joe and MOTU might supplant SW as my main collecting interest, since I'm really tired of SW, and all these upcoming exclusives just aren't that great. Meanwhile, GI Joe is getting really awesome, and hopefully with enough support it can continue this way for a long time. And I really want to complete my vintage MOTU collection since the money I'd spend on some substandard SW stuff would be better spent elsewhere. I think that for the cost of the Lava Reflection Obi-Wan and Anakin, I could get a carded MOTU figure.
I'll still collect SW in some capacity, but not nearly what it is now.