It's not free at all. We all chipped in a $7 check and not to mention the 4-5 figures we all had to buy to get it. The jag-offs in the mail department should be able to get the damn product to collectors in decent condition. I don't think it's too much for collectors to ask for that after shelling out the money for it. If it's going to arrive in bad condition then I would just rather buy it in the stores. That way I don't have to wait 3 months for it to arrive in a beat up mailer box either.
I guess I just don't agree at all Broem...
We chipped in $7, but was that to line Hasbro's pockets or was it to pay for shipping, labor, manufacturing?
I think about it like this...
-It costs $8.99 (at least) to buy a figure at a store, not counting my gas, time, the variable if I'll even find what I want, plus tax. This was shipped, to my door, for $7.
-I absolutely do not count the purchase of the figures to get UPC's as part of this equation... If you bought figures JUST to get POP's to mail away for this figure, then to me that's on you, not Hasbro. To me, you bought 5 figures that you should've wanted and enjoyed, to get this figure. If you're counting the $9 or so you spent on each figure's UPC you used though, you're completely ignoring the fact you have a figure in your collection that you should've wanted or not bought.
-The USPS has nothing to do with this discussion IMO. They get paid for a service, and in this case the service was sending out a bunch of bulk (or "junk") mailer boxes. They don't care if it's coupons or action figures inside, they just know it's junk mail, and junk mail is the absolute cheapest mail and gets treated as such. When you order a Big MAC you can't expect Filet Mignon. You can cite Hasbro as being cheap in this instance and not paying for better mail, but should Hasbro take a loss on these?
-The "cost" is a $7 check... That $7 is spread out over the USPS, the place where these were manufactured (new tooling, labor, etc.), and a company in Montana handling the entire program... plus, some of these were brand new, 100% new tooling figures like Sgt. Bric or Rocket Fett. Proto Fett was pretty labor intensive as figures go too because of his # of parts and softgoods, plus he had a little new tooling. My point just being that these weren't cheap solid PVC figures or something. They were actually pretty high quality, thoughtful, collector-oriented ideas that cost something.
-Looking at the above and thinking about my own personal experience, I can get a loose figure mailed to me in a padded envelope for like $3 not counting the figure's cost... That leaves $4-ish to spread around the rest of the costs involved in this figure. At best Hasbro could maybe make a buck or two here right? Not knowing all the details and numbers of course, just guessing on that, but that's gotta be the best case scenario for Hasbro there and it's much more likely that they were close to just breaking even, no?
I looked at the mail-aways as a gimmick and a gimmie... Hasbro's way of doing something that was supposed to be "fun" for collectors, an incentive for you to hopefully support the line, but ultimately something they don't directly profit off of (I think they probably more likely broke even) but which they hopefully didn't lose money on.
Think of it like you were at Celebration, and Hasbro reps were there handing out those proof cardbacks they had been giving out, and a rep gives you a set of them but they've all got their holes punched out, maybe some creasing... The guy before you got ones with the holes not punched out, and perfectly mint. And you pitch a fit... Hasbro would probably rather just avoid the headache/bad publicity then and not give those proofs out at all anymore, even though they weren't making anything on them really and were just trying to do something cool for the collectors.
The only thing they could've done for these mail-aways, they did, in seemingly improving the quality of the cardboard and putting the insert into the Prototype Fett's packaging... that has not ceased damage though. Decreased it some, and with Proto Fett a lot, but not stopped it. They could pay for better shipping but that is going to make the promotion more cost-prohibitive, and at some point they'd just probably rather not do it. They've maybe hit that point.
I think right after Rocket Fett was ending they were thinking these were maybe going to take a break. I have no doubt Proto Fett was in some stage of production when Rocket Fett was going on, and after Rocket Fett they probably just felt it's time to put these on the back burner, at least for now.
I feel that they got enough gripes that they took a 2nd look at things. I'm personally 100% for a bagged figure in the mailer box as opposed to doing carded packaging that irks a segment of collectors when they don't get it absolutely mint and perfect (I was not among that group. I really just was happy to get the figure that was in it because I thought it was a neat idea). To me, it's the way to go and hopefully avoid the bad publicity they got over something they seemed to do with collectors/fans in mind completely.
But when I look at this, and Hasbro's making nothing directly off it, then yes I absolutely do look at it as a "freebie" then. I'm ok with paying someone $7 to send me something I kinda dig and want, and have them basically make nothing off it except the hope that I'll maybe buy more of the stuff they DO make money off of.
I've had guys on the boards offer me toys for free, as long as I pay the shipping, and I 100% look at those as freebies too.
It's better than them making this AND charging me $9.99 for it, plus $7 for shipping/handling, plus requiring 5 UPC's to get it... That's basically my point there. Hasbro didn't seem to make anything really, just the middle-men involved like the USPS and Montana company handling the promo.
But if that was the case then yeah, I'd rather just go to Target or TRU or WM and buy this for whatever, and avoid the shipping and UPC process.