Author Topic: Hasbro & Collectors  (Read 2565 times)

Offline Carpeteria3000

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Hasbro & Collectors
« on: October 25, 2010, 11:30 AM »
So I'm in Providence, RI right now, attending the NCMPR conference (basically a conference for public relations and media workers in Community Colleges - I'm here because the lit. mag I run won an award - anyway...), and the keynote speaker from this morning was Terry Scott, a senior VP for Hasbro (which is located in Providence) who manages global marketing and creative services, etc. It was a pretty interesting presentation, which focused on how Hasbro has evolved and is continuing to reinvent itself as more than a toy company, moving towards a multimedia corporation.

One of the more interesting parts to me, as a SW collector, is that, based on the presentation Mr. Scott gave today, Star Wars is not even CLOSE to their main focus - they mentioned it in their powerpoint presentation just a few times throughout. Their focus is very much on the brands they own - Transformers, GI Joe, My Little Pony, board games, etc. I don't think this is news to anyone here, but it was interesting to see just how little they really focused at all on a general Hasbro presentation on anything SW related. He did seem excited to see what would happen in the aftermath of the 3D rereleases, as well as the future prospects of TV shows, but they're committed mainly to their own brands, which makes sense, obviously.

Another area they're not focused on? Collectors, again, pretty obviously. He at one point mentioned the "cellar dwellers", the 20 somethings living at home who buy out of nostalgia, but it was with a sort of sarcastic look to the crowd in passing.

I don't know how much of this is really news, but I thought it worth mentioning here, as usually the interactions any of the collector groups have with Hasbro is directed towards us as an audience, so they know what to say to keep us engaged. It's quite a different rhetoric to the general public. We're not the biggest cash source for them, so it's not without business sense, but the next time you wonder about all the minutia of issues collectors have, keep in mind, they're worried about a far larger picture.

Offline LandotheScoundrel

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Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2010, 05:44 PM »
That's fine. Apart from the figures I buy from them (getting less and less these days), I don't really care about Hasbro either.

Congrats on the award!
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Offline CloneF13Y35

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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2010, 06:14 PM »
Doesn't seem too far fetched. THey are a company that has watch its bottom line and Star wars, while a Major cultural phenomenon, isn't the ONLY thing going on. I liked the toys as a kid and have enjoyed collecting specific things since the new stuff came out a decade ago. I collect the things I like as well as my son. But it became obvious a while back  they don't care about remaking 'everything' we want yet they continue to make figures etc that I don't recall ever wanting as a kid nor any of my fellow collectors have ever wanted.
So many variations of figures have come out that my first reaction is often 'why the hell did they waste time and material making that?'
I just try to enjoy the figures/vehicles that appeal to me and accept that they will make whatever they want to make.
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Offline speedermike

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Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2010, 10:11 PM »
Interesting stuff about the presentation.  I can see their logic though, in the end they will make more off their own ideas than other franchises.  While I've always understood that they don't depend on the adult collectors to support them, if you look what what they've made over the years, we must bring something to the table.  Mon Mothma?  McQuarrie Figs?  Academy Biggs? Kids arent buying these...and  the list could go on and on.

Oh, and if I ever start a collector site, I am going to call it Cellar Dweller!
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Offline McMetal

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2010, 09:19 AM »
Great, so given their lack of enthusiasm, can we expect they will not be pushing to renew the license in 2012? Maybe let some other, superior, toy company have a crack at them? (Doubt it)

The SW franchise deserves better than to be some company's red-headed stepchild.

I think 90% of the complaints about the line can be tied back to Hasbro's apparent indifference and inability to coordinate key elements from production to distribution. It's not altogther surprising given how scattered their attention is across all the different properties. I really think the SW line could benefit from moving to a smaller company where they are 100% of the focus, and all the time and energy goes strictly into those offerings.

Obviously there could be possible downsides to that as well, as far as pricing and avilability, but a lot of potential for improvement as well, I think.
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Offline Carpeteria3000

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2010, 09:59 AM »
No, if it was up to them, I don't think Hasbro would give any major license up at all, based on what he said. He was very adamant about Hasbro becoming the #1 toy company and crushing Mattel, and as I wrote, he seemed genuinely interested in what Lucas has coming up with in the near future, including both the 3D films and the television show (which he didn't mention as hypothetical, but as being out by 2012 - he used that year specifically). Of course, he doesn't work directly for Lucasfilm, so that could change, but I didn't get a sense that they weren't proud of having that brand - it was just very clearly not even remotely in their top brands that they focused on. They want to be a full-on multimedia company now, and they can't have any multimedia control over SW, so their focus is on the brands they can control, like GI Joe, Transformers (hence the movie and cartoon series for both), My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, board games, etc. The HUB network they just launched through the Discovery network system is packed full of those brands, and they're moving into a bunch of movie productions, including a GI Joe sequel, and - get this - they showed a behind the scenes package of the shooting of the Battleship movie. It looked dull as hell, but who knows. There will also be a freaking Monopoly movie. No joke. No word on a Scrabble movie, but no doubt it will be in production soon.

It was a fascinating presentation, but the bottom line is that Hasbro wants to totally rule the world - part of the presentation was talking about moving into new markets, starting with China (I guess so they can sell back the crap to the people that make it all in the first place?), moving into Russia, South America, and eventually India. They want total domination over every human's ability to play.

Offline Carpeteria3000

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2010, 10:02 AM »
I should also note that based on one of the several money graphs he showed, it appeared that SW was their top money brand, interestingly enough, falling just under Barbie and one other brand I can't recall in all worldwide brands. They're happy to be producing it, but it's not their top priority. I think they know they're just printing money off of the Lucasfilm development strategy, but a good portion of that cash must go back to Lucas, of course, as opposed to the brands that are theirs outright. It makes a lot of business sense, when you think about it.

Offline ruiner

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2010, 10:08 AM »
Barbie?  Were they comparing their brands to competitors?

Offline Carpeteria3000

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2010, 11:48 AM »
Yep. Like I said, they're out for Mattel blood, and it sounds personal beyond the business, since apparently Mattel attempted, in his words, a "hostile takeover" of Hasbro around 2000 when they were near bankruptcy. He was also happy to compare Hasbro's and Mattel's stock prices and shares over the years, and how much they've increased their while Mattel has sagged.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 11:49 AM by Carpeteria3000 »

Offline shmashwitdaclub

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2010, 12:04 PM »
I don't think they really have to even worry about it - they know the SW brand is so huge that people will almost throw money at it regardless of what they do with it as a company.  When you have something as golden as that, I wouldn't think one would need to waste time/energy focusing on it - when they could be investing that time/money hopefully creating the next big thing.

Offline Brian

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2010, 12:13 PM »
Interesting to hear this info, and congrats on the award!  Like others have said, it doesn't necessarily surprise me.  Keep in mind, it sounds like the guy making the "cellar dweller" comments about SW fans/etc. is not a guy who even works remotely close to the line(s), but a corporate person.  Despite our ragging on them, I think guys like Derryl DePriest and company actually do care about the collectors and are just doing their jobs when it comes to the focus on CW, repackaged figures, repainted ships, and other things people generally complain about.  Of course Hasbro as a company doesn't care about the collector market, they are most concerned with bottom lines - you hear the same thing about TV/movie studios and other areas of business.

That being said, I do think it is a good point that we help more than they want to admit.  Sure, kiddos and parents are always going to be the bigger sales overall (in a line like this anyways), but there sure is a lot of stuff out there these days and over the past few years that I can't see that kids would be particularly interested in.  I would say, particularly prior to the CW animated series, that collectors were carrying the line even more.  It wasn't a parent or kid that would wipe out an entire new wave and/or case as soon as it hit the pegs.  I personally don't see that happen as much anymore (with all three lines being fairly plentiful right now it seems), but I remember it being that way in the POTJ days through the ROTS line (with the exception of much of the AOTC/SAGA line, that thing sat a bit more).  Anyways, it is an interesting discussion.  I don't think Hasbro will let go of the SW license any time soon either, particularly when there will be movie re-releases, more new animation or other television, and the always rumored possibility of more SW on the big screen.  Like it was mentioned, they are grabbing up licenses like Marvel (with all the movie potential there over the next 5-10 years), so those are obviously a key part of their overall plan.

Offline Nicklab

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2010, 12:32 PM »
I don't think they really have to even worry about it - they know the SW brand is so huge that people will almost throw money at it regardless of what they do with it as a company.  When you have something as golden as that, I wouldn't think one would need to waste time/energy focusing on it - when they could be investing that time/money hopefully creating the next big thing.

Star Wars is a huge brand.  And with that come huge licensing fees.  The reason why Star Wars figures cost so much more than GI Joe is because of those licensing fees.  The margins on Star Wars are significantly tighter than on Hasbro's own intellectual properties.

As for Hasbro regarding the collecting community as "cellar dwellars"?  How is this anything new?  Really.  The collecting community is a very vocal minority.  But it is still very much the minority.  The cumulative dollars we collectors are spending pales in comparison to what almost every mom & dad are shelling out for their kids.  Hasbro has repeated this in the past, and with the collecting community it really has not registered.
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Offline Carpeteria3000

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2010, 02:40 PM »
Interesting to hear this info, and congrats on the award!  Like others have said, it doesn't necessarily surprise me.  Keep in mind, it sounds like the guy making the "cellar dweller" comments about SW fans/etc. is not a guy who even works remotely close to the line(s), but a corporate person. 

He is definitely a corporate guy, being a VP, and I don't think he has any direct link to tooling around the minutia of the lines, but he is definitely involved with the company's direction, and that's just as important as the smaller teams for each brand, if not more so, because that decides what gets the share of their marketing, money, and overall focus. I wouldn't discount the power of he or others at his level in the company.

While the collector communities for any brand are the minority, they obviously still pay attention to us, as any great number of obscure or obvious collection-minded merchandise has been made available to us over the last nearly two decades that the modern line has been around. I don't think they're ignoring us; I just thought that in a presentation to a group who knows nothing about Hasbro at all, that Star Wars was barely a blip on their radar in informing those ignorant of what Hasbro does. I would have thought it would have shared some amount of focus, but it was barely there.

Oh, and thanks for the congrats on the award - it's not a huge one, but it's always nice to be recognized.

Offline Jabba the Slug

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2010, 12:57 AM »
I'm also not really surprised that 'Star Wars' isn't gold to them, but what frustrates me is that they don't really give too big a spit for the people that buy their products.

Give their commentary on Q/A's, for example. A lot of the time they say themselves that they're not worried to much about getting certain characters out per collector request.

Either way, they do listen a lot. But they should keep in mind that we've been supporting them (Star Wars-wise, at least) since the POTF2 days. I think that at least merits us respect and consideration on their part.
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Offline McMetal

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Re: Hasbro & Collectors
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2010, 09:18 AM »
Well, I'll say this: if you are an adult collector of the TCW line, Hasbro would like to pretend that you do not exist. I just read another Q&A response from GH where they slapped down the Duchess Satine figure while going out of their way to point out that it's only kids that collect this line.  ::)

Nevermind Satine has had quadruple the screen time of Shaak Ti and she has been involved in way more action sequences. "Kids won't buy her"

As long as you keep repacking Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan in every wave, you should have plenty of wiggle room for non-iconic support characters.

I get the economics and demographic angles. I understand I am part of a minority here. But it is not an insignificant minority. I literally buy every single thing they put out in this line, often purchasing multiples for opening. I am hasbro's frigging wet dream of a consumer. Not asking them to bend over backwards or anything, but some acknowledgement would be nice. I don't doubt that there are more adults buying the animated stuff than they suspect.
Slice you open like a tauntaun, faster than the Autobahn,
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