Author Topic: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance  (Read 2686 times)

Offline DoctorPadawan

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Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« on: May 16, 2005, 10:19 AM »
I wanted to make a much more inflammatory subject line, but I figured I would hold back.  ;D

Anyway, while I was at the local retailers earlier this morning, it occurred to me that the people Hasbro is so adamant about claiming to be their bread and butter, the children, are going to more than likely be sorely disappointed if (for some bizarre reason) they want some action figures this weekend other than the usual suspects.  I mean, yes, there are gobs of Obi-Wans and Anakins so they can reenact that duel, and they can still get most of the main characters that they remember (Threepio, R2, Chewbacca, Yoda), but when it comes to exciting secondary characters and/or main bad guys, they're literally going to be SOL.

At every store I went to, I saw the same figures staring back at me in abundance.  In Collection 1, there was an ample supply of Obi-Wan (1 and 27), Anakin (2 and 28), Yoda (3 and 26), the SBD, Chewbacca, R2-D2, Grievous' Bodyguard, Mace Windu, Tarfful, Clone Pilots, and Palpatine (35).

In Collection 2, there was an abundance of 13-24 (minus any Royal Guards with a massive amount of Mon Mothmas and Bail Organas), and 29-32, with a few Mas Ameddas and VMDs here and there amongst them.

So, out of those figures that I saw in abundance, these were the ones that (believe it or not) were almost totally missing (they may have been 1 or 2 at one store, but none at others), and once you see them, you'll see my complaint.

-#6 Clone Trooper (there were none of these anywhere)
-#9 Grievous (this one surprised me because there were so many about three weeks ago and they just dried up)
-#11 Vader (again, none anywhere)
-#12 Palpatine (ditto)
-#23 Royal Guard (either version)
-#33 Clone Commander (I saw a few at one store)
-#36 Grievous (surprisingly, since it sucks)
-#38 AT-TE Gunner (no surprise)
-#39 Polis Massan (exception to the rule)

I'm not even factoring in the complete absence of the #41 Clone which is starting to piss me off, personally, but this post isn't about me.

So, a kid goes and sees ROTS at some point after Thursday and decides that he wants to go get some figures.  Mom says he can have some and he wants Vader.  Sorry kid, you're out of luck.  They have Yoda with a lightsaber but no Emperor with one (35 doesn't count since he's not cloaked), so again, sorry kid, Yoda's fighting air.  Clone Army?  Don't make me laugh!  Didn't you hear that they're Ebay Exclusives?  The main bad guy?  Well, you've only got 10 bucks to spend, so you could buy that one with the cup or that one with the grappling hook, but then you can't afford to buy another figure to fight him.

But hey, you can reenact all the political wrangling you want, or the arguments (which all sarcasm aside, are still one of my favorite character quirks in the films) between Threepio and Artoo can be endlessly rerun in your living room.  Oh, you found some Clone Pilots and Mom said she would get you an ARC-170 or Gunship for your birthday?  Oops, too bad!  You can't find those at retail either!

Okay, all joking will cease at this point and I'm going to try to maintain an air of professionalism.  Hasbro's case assortments for this movie are horrible.  They have done a poor job of gauging demand for figures and staying up to date on what is selling and what isn't.  They are shipping too many of figures that have a limited appeal and too few of figures that a lot of people want.  Bail Organa is an incredibly cool figure, and I think a lot of people are missing out by not having him, but I don't see a reason to ship him after the first case assortment of Collection 2. 

Hasbro's defense, over the years, refers to the fact that the case assortments are made months in advance and can't be changed at the drop of a hat.  Well, the case assortments coming later this year are going to be including figures (like the first and second Obi-Wans, Anakins, and Yodas) that are in a massive glut at retail already, so you would think that 6 months is enough lead time to correct this.

In 1999, Hasbro released a solid case of Darth Maul to try and decrease the hysteria surrounding that figure.  The figure eventually pegwarmed because of this, but it was a single character.  Hasbro could very easily crank out a case assortment of 12 Clones (#41 preferably) or a case assortment with 4 of those and 4 #6 Clones and 4 Commanders, but they won't, because doing so would be admitting that their ratios are horrible.

Back in the POTJ days, Hasbro seemed to have things figured out.  The case assortments seemed to be done closer to release, and very few cases had older figures reshipped.  If there was demand for a figure, it went back out there, but for the most part, the reshipped figures were ones that would sell (like Vader or Scout Troopers) instead of ones that wouldn't sell (Boss Nass, Porkins, or Aurra Sing).  Then, with AOTC, they went right back to what almost killed the line in 1998 when everyone was selling figures for 2 dollars.

Now they're doing it again, and even their own website can't keep up with demand.  I keep hoping that they will notice the lack of sales on some figures versus others, but if that happens, I'll eat my shoe.  Hasbro is like that annoying guy at the bookstore who will not admit they are wrong because it would make them appear (or so they believe) weak.  I was taught that when you make a mistake, you try to correct it, you admit when you're wrong, as humility is a virtue.  It is not weakness; they only people they are hurting in the long run are themselves.

So, when you see a kid in the aisles this weekend who can't find Darth Vader because Hasbro didn't ship enough, or who wants a Clone Trooper to shoot his Jedi in the back (damn that's morbid) but can't find it because of the combined efforts of Hasbro and Ebay, just look at him and tell him, "Well, kid, it sucks to be you, doesn't it?"  That's what Hasbro seems to be telling them anyway.

Offline Gatillo

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2005, 11:03 AM »
You got Hasbro's number there.

What I find unbelievable about the whole Hasbro and case assortment crap is that the solution is so easy.  Doesn't Hasbro have la consultant that can tell them what's hot and what's not ???.  I mean, they do group panels with collectors from time to time.  I was invited to participate in a group panel discussion about the Titanium series.  I think it was good I could not go otherwise I would have given them the boot. :-X

It is not hard to talk to collectors about what sells and what doesn't.  I find it amazing that with their "star wars is forever" crap they are still going to screw us and the kids forever.

They have taken our votes into consideration before like with the fan choice figures.  Polling people in their website is so easy that is amazes me why they do not do it more often.  Oh well...

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Offline Morgbug

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2005, 01:49 PM »
This is all the more hilarious/frustrating having been at the C3 panel.  There are people at Hasbro that Get It.  You could see some of the guys on the panel's frustration at a lot of things, just by watching their face.  They understand who's buying a lot of their stuff.  Somewhere up the line, like any great government there's some knob that has this stuck in their craw:

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Hasbro is like that annoying guy at the bookstore who will not admit they are wrong because it would make them appear (or so they believe) weak.

As annoying as Colman was at the panel discussion, he was right.  Hasbro is not paying attention and it isn't just evil JD saying so.  There were a ton of guys in that room and not one child that I saw.  It was adults with disposable income that build armies and buy secondary characters. 

I'd thought Hasbro might be figuring it out by releasing all the new lines really targeted at kids (whether adults buy them or not) - Force Battlers, playskool-ish stuff, etc.  The kids did seem to like them at C3.  Great, target them with that and then figure out the action figures for collectors predominantly. 

We've been re-inundated with case 1 so Vader can be found here, as can clones, Grievous and Royal Guard.  I guess a $7.44-9.99 price point detracts the ebay crowd to some extent.  But good luck finding anything other than a basic clone (which is a challenge by itself).  I found a pile of them on Friday, upwards of 30 each at Walmart.  All gone the next day.  By Thursday this week I'd expect that store to be in the same boat as DP has described. 

Dump some Obi/Ani/Yoda out of the cases, please.  Don't throw in more Bail/Mon/Padme.  Fill it up with clones, Grievous, Vader. 

Odd observation: wookies are sitting around here collecting dust.  I expect that will change by this coming weekend.
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Offline Darth_Anton

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2005, 03:32 PM »
Wow! Finally a mature discussion about the problem with the case assortments. I really agree with most of what's been said.

Yeah, Hasbro has an excellent resource to gauge what will sell (the collecting community) and they refuse to use it. But, coupled with the fact that when they do give us something we've been begging for, like the Shuttle, it gets handled poorly and doesn't sell, giving Hasbro further reason to ignore us.

I'm all of the opion of what was said earlier, when it all comes down to it, it's the suits with their Harvard business degrees calling the shots, and they don't necessarily know what's happening in the real world.
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Offline Gregorbian

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2005, 03:41 PM »
I agree with the general sentiments of these posts (I would love to have a case of clones!) but I don't think that it's entirely hasbro's fault that we're seeing some pegwarmers and having a hard time finding "good" figures.
Hasbro has to cater to the retailers first, so whatever Target and walmart want in their cases, they get.  Then TRU and lesser chains such as KB can input their needs.  Since walmart and Target have to cater to everybody and not just toys and not just to collectors, they want figures that look good on the pegs as well as a wide variety of figures.  If a mother walks down the toy aisle of walmart and sees only clones, she might buy 1 for her kid, but she's going to be mad that there's "not much selection."  Target and walmart want to see the "heroes" on the pegs and fully stocked because those are the figures that kids want.  (How many people had tons of vintage royal guards and only 1 Han Solo figure when they were little?)
I just think that we, the collectors (adults w/discretionary income  ;) ) have to accept our place as second-class citizens for hasbro's bottom line.  Hasbro is too big of a company to take big chances like shipping a full case of clones to mass-market retail stores, they'd rather play it safe and ship assortments with a mix of heroes and villains...and senators... :P

On that note, I also think that hasbro has done much to appease us.  The Entertainment Earth Exclusive Clone Trooper Army Builder sets were one thing that I thought that I would never see.  These sets really show that hasbro does listen to us and sometimes even does something about it.  It also showed hasbro that we are willing to shell out a little extra cash for great figures that wouldn't sell that well in retail stores.  Successfully catering to us through alternate routes (such as online retailers) showed to hasbro that the market is ripe for things like army builders and special exclusives.  

I don't want to sound like I'm a big-hasbro supporter because I will readily admit that they have made and continue to make huge mistakes/errors of judgment on a lot of things, but i'm just saying that things like case assortments are a little bit out of their control; some of the blame really needs to be placed on the large retail stores.

I really saw the proverbial "bright light at the end of the tunnel" after getting my set of EE Clone Troopers.  I am hoping that hasbro realized the huge market potential and will bring forth other sets (come on, ep. III Clone Trooper builder sets would be a piece of cake, as would VOTC Stormtrooper builder sets).  
Sorry if this seems like a rant, I am really enjoying this topic and just wanted to put forth my 2 cents for everybody's consideration.   ;D
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Offline DoctorPadawan

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2005, 04:40 PM »
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Hasbro has to cater to the retailers first, so whatever Target and walmart want in their cases, they get. 

Wal-Mart (believe it or not) has no say in what figures are included in what case assortments directly.  Hasbro takes care of all that themselves based on what they think retail wants.  They have those big meetings with the retailers where the higher-ups get to see film footage or photos of new items and they pick from assortments (like the basic line, deluxe line, Force Battlers, etc) what lines they will carry.  No major retailer (WM, Target, or TRU) says "We want a case with this many Obi-Wans, this many Anakins" and so on because what one retail outlet wants does not always match up with what the other retail outlets want.  If Hasbro did what the retailers wanted individually, they would have five times as many case assortments as they do now and it would be much more confusing and much less cost efficient for Hasbro.

The only places where retail has a say in how many they get of an item is with exclusives.  Target says to Hasbro that they would like "something special" to attract people to Target above the other retailers.  Hasbro says, "Well, we've got an idea for a Clone Trooper that has a logo on him that looks just similar enough to a Target corporate logo that might work."  Target says, "We could probably sell 50,000 of those."  The order is placed.  Target doesn't say that they want a case of mass market figures that can be bought anywhere else for the same price because then there is nothing that makes Target's selection unique.  Same with the other places.

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Target and walmart want to see the "heroes" on the pegs and fully stocked because those are the figures that kids want.

I think the next two weeks will see whether or not kids are going to be buying this line at all.  I've seen very few (I can count them on one hand) looking at SW toys lately, and if the young'uns and their notoriously short attention spans don't get all hyped up about an Obi-Wan or a Yoda after they see the movie, they aren't going to get hyped up at all.

I don't deny that it is important to get the main characters out there, and I'm certainly not implying that we need to do an "all background character" line for a year, as that would be destined to fail.  The problem is that there is an absolute glut of several main characters out there right now, almost none of the others, and with kids' interest in the line/movie being a more or less temporary thing, collectors are the ones that are going to be buying the majority of this stuff, all claims by Hasbro to the contrary. 

If the glut of Obi-Wans and Anakins is not cleared up by kids soon, and with Hasbro insisting on shipping even more of those same figures for the next few months, the collectors who drive this line aren't going to be able to find anything new whatsoever due to the pegs that retail will consider full, and retail will complain to Hasbro that sales are down.  Then Hasbro will scale back their plans for next year, and it's very possible that retailers (particularly WM, who has this kind of pull) could stop supporting the line.

Is that retail's fault?  I don't think so.  Hasbro likes to pass off the blame for their own backwards thinking onto retailers or consumers all the time because they are in their ivory towers in Pawtucket away from it all.  If there is too little product on the shelves, Hasbro blames it on retail not ordering enough.  Never mind the fact that the reason retail isn't ordering enough is because Hasbro has continually sent out stuff that they already have in abundance for the past 10 years of this line that ends up being clearanced.

Likewise, if there is an overabundance of a particular figure, this is also retail's fault for overordering the assortments that Hasbro makes up themselves.  When it comes right down to it (and I've said this several times before), Hasbro is never wrong, Hasbro never makes mistakes, and Hasbro wants us to buy, buy, buy, because we are good consumers.  Be productive.  Consume.  Buy.  Buy and be happy.  :)

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Hasbro is too big of a company to take big chances like shipping a full case of clones to mass-market retail stores, they'd rather play it safe and ship assortments with a mix of heroes and villains...and senators...

Hasbro has shipped solid cases several times before.  They did solid cases of Stormtrooper Luke, Vader, and the Jawas in the POTF2 days; they shipped solid cases of Jedi Duel Maul in the Episode I line; and the new 12" cases with more Grievouses mixed in shows that they knew there was a shortage of those at retail.  So there is a precedent.

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On that note, I also think that hasbro has done much to appease us.  The Entertainment Earth Exclusive Clone Trooper Army Builder sets were one thing that I thought that I would never see.  These sets really show that hasbro does listen to us and sometimes even does something about it.

The EE Clone four packs are going to come back and bite us all in our collective hindquarters.  Are they cool?  Undoubtedly so.  Are they overpriced?  Again, undoubtedly.  Hasbro listens to us when it benefits them and at no other time.  Their attitude toward collectors is one of disgust and disrespect, and if anyone doubts that, I'm sure JediMAC can dig up the Q&A the JD staff did with them at ComicCon last fall that pretty much had the Hasbro reps calling collectors idiots in so many words. 

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It also showed hasbro that we are willing to shell out a little extra cash for great figures that wouldn't sell that well in retail stores.

And this is the problem.  It starts with the Clone Trooper four packs (which I disagree with you on regarding how well they would sell in stores; one only look at the complete lack of Clones hanging on the pegs for ROTS to see that), which costs 35 bucks, plus shipping, for figures that would cost 20 bucks at retail, and continues with the Target Clone, which Hasbro had advertised at 10 bucks and Target charges 13 for.  Where does it end?  All these little exclusives are a way for Hasbro to gauge just how much we are willing to pay for Star Wars stuff, and the more we pay, the more they are encouraged to raise the prices.  It's a slippery slope, and one that could very well cause me to quit collecting the 4" line before too long.  I can handle 13 dollars for a Clone Trooper maybe once a year; but if they start doing ALL the figures like that, I'm out.

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I don't want to sound like I'm a big-hasbro supporter because I will readily admit that they have made and continue to make huge mistakes/errors of judgment on a lot of things, but i'm just saying that things like case assortments are a little bit out of their control; some of the blame really needs to be placed on the large retail stores.

I don't want to sound like I'm a big Hasbro-basher either; I'm a fan of the films, first and foremost, and I collect the figures because I like having a piece of the films, in some goofy way, to take home with me.  My disappointment comes with the fact that Hasbro has been doing POTF2 since 1995, and they are still making the same mistakes they did at the beginning of that line.  They haven't learned anything when it comes to how to market the line; all they have learned is how much they can make off of it.  Sometimes I wonder if they have even seen the films.   :D

And I'd like to point out that none of this post is directed at you, Gregorbian, so I hope it wasn't taken that way.  I am always interested in hearing everyone else's opinions on a topic like this, and it's one of the reasons I enjoy JD so much as a whole.  Had I started a thread like this in other unnamed forums, it would have devolved into me being called names, and people with too many Gs in their names closing the thread out of a fear of it insulting the cash cow for their Wise Leader.  ;)

EDITED:  eye spel gud.   :-*
« Last Edit: May 16, 2005, 04:46 PM by DoctorPadawan »

Offline ruiner

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2005, 04:49 PM »
Yes, it is frustrating when you browse through the assortment breakdowns (see entertainmentearth.com for case breakdowns).

The SA clone must cost Hasbro a lot more to produce (compared to "regular" NA figures) for the simple fact that he constitutes a very small percentage of the 3-4 assortments he's in.

Hasbro has GOT to know that there is a lot of demand for this figure (based on the reponse from the SA AOTC clone trooper AND secondary price this figure commands).

The same "logic" applies to most Unleashed figures.  The popular figures are still packed 2 per case (Vader, stormie, Fett, etc.).


Offline Gregorbian

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2005, 05:52 PM »
Interesting counter-points DoctorPadawan ;D  You make a very strong argument and I definitely agree with you on a lot of it, I was just trying to put out a second opinion and place a little more blame on the retailers.
I still think that hasbro has to bend to the will of the big retailers to an extent (maybe I was mistaken when I said that the retailers can dictate the case assortments directly) because the big-guys want to see a variety of figures filling the pegs, especially the good guys. 

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If the glut of Obi-Wans and Anakins is not cleared up by kids soon, and with Hasbro insisting on shipping even more of those same figures for the next few months, the collectors who drive this line aren't going to be able to find anything new whatsoever due to the pegs that retail will consider full, and retail will complain to Hasbro that sales are down.  Then Hasbro will scale back their plans for next year, and it's very possible that retailers (particularly WM, who has this kind of pull) could stop supporting the line.

I agree with you completely here, and that's really the same logic that I use when I say that stores like wal-mart and Target have pull on what figures hasbro ships.  These big stores want a lot of the hero figures because they are easier to mass-market and because a lot of their customers are non-collectors.  I've seen countless mothers/kids picking up the figures at my local Target stores and they always go for the Obi-Wans, Chewies, Yodas, etc etc.  (side note: Once I saw a grandfather and his granddaughter picking out some figures.  The granddaughter really wanted a Chewbacca figure so I helped her look for it, but came up bone dry.  I offered her a #23 Blue Senate Guard that I had picked up but she didn't like him.  She ended up getting a Spinning Yoda and a Jedi-Kick Obi-Wan...poor girl.  :P )  Anyway, back on topic, if somebody that is unfamiliar with Star Wars is in a toy aisle and they're going to buy a figure for their son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter/etc/etc they are more likely to pick up a well-known character than a Senator Bail Organa "Republic Senator!" figure (unless they're a Jimmy Smitts fan  :P). 
I stopped collecting figures during the green card days so I was unaware of hasbro shipping entire cases of 1 figure, but I don't see how retailers would like something like that.  Also, those figures are now $2 each on eBay so maybe hasbro will tend more towards the corrective case assortments than solid-packs (#23 royal guard being packed with current assortments as opposed to cases of #23).  Don't get me wrong, I would be a big fan of solid-case assortments of various clones, but I just can't see the logic of it from a retail standpoint.  I think, from a manager's point of view, it would be much better to see a wide assortment of figures than a wall of clones (man, that would be awesome  ;)) . 

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The EE Clone four packs are going to come back and bite us all in our collective hindquarters.  Are they cool?  Undoubtedly so.  Are they overpriced?  Again, undoubtedly.  Hasbro listens to us when it benefits them and at no other time.  Their attitude toward collectors is one of disgust and disrespect, and if anyone doubts that, I'm sure JediMAC can dig up the Q&A the JD staff did with them at ComicCon last fall that pretty much had the Hasbro reps calling collectors idiots in so many words. 
First, I would definitely love to read that Q&A; I could definitely see that happening.  As for the EE Clones, $10/figure after shipping is a lot, definitely, but I like the precedent that has now been established.  Now, hasbro can fill collector's voids by making relatively small production runs of figures that cater almost exclusively to collectors.  I don't see these selling that well on the mass-market because at a $35 price point, I can't see casual consumers picking many of these up; they would almost go exclusively to collectors (and spoiled kids ... and spoiled collectors  ;)) .  If the price point was lower, which would be possible given a higher mass-market production run, then they would fly off of the shelves.  I think that's part of the reason for the upcoming Evolutions Sets. 
Hasbro is a big company, so the bottom line will always be $$$, and if hasbro sees a way to exploit a collector-niche market, they will do so. 
I think I've side-tracked my self a bit...
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Where does it end?  All these little exclusives are a way for Hasbro to gauge just how much we are willing to pay for Star Wars stuff, and the more we pay, the more they are encouraged to raise the prices.  It's a slippery slope, and one that could very well cause me to quit collecting the 4" line before too long.  I can handle 13 dollars for a Clone Trooper maybe once a year; but if they start doing ALL the figures like that, I'm out.
 
Yes, the Target Clones flying off of the shelves (and costing $25 on eBay) is very scary, because now hasbro and Target realize that they can charge that much and still sell out completely.  Hasbro is just raking it in right now because we are, for all intents and purposes, a "captive audience."  (I bought some sort of gooey candy just because it had a Darth Vader head on it the other day  :'().  If it came down to it though, like you, I would drop out of collecting (again) if the prices went too high or if the quality went too low.  Will other people drop out as well?  Sure.  Will a lot of people stick around and continue to buy?  Of course.  With no more films (apparently), hasbro will have to cater to us more and more in the following years. 
I think a lot of the problems that people are having right now with finding figures is that so many people are buying them.  People that wouldn't normally buy figures are picking them up because of the hype and that further reduces the amount of figures for us to find at retail.  I personally haven't had a problem finding any figure so far, but I understand how frustrating it can be to search and search and not find the figures that you want. 
OK, I seem to be way off of my original point and have started rambling.  Basically, yes, hasbro messes up a lot and should really pay closer attention to the needs of collectors (if you cater to the early adopters, you don't have to worry about anything), but I think that the retail stores add to the frustration just as much.  It just seems that neither hasbro nor the big retail chains learn from their mistakes. 
I hope that my points achieve some semblance of coherence, and, DoctorPadawan, clearly none of this is directed as an attack at you.  I really enjoy these types of conversations and I'm glad that we can have one without everybody resorting to calls of "scalper!" "hoarder!" and "idiot". ;D
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Offline DoctorPadawan

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2005, 09:16 PM »
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I still think that hasbro has to bend to the will of the big retailers to an extent

And I've made some veiled comments in the past here about Wal-Mart ultimately holding the fate of the SW line at retail in their hands, but I didn't know how far to take that explanation for people that don't know how much pull Wal-Mart has on brands in every area of the store.  They've caused several companies to file for bankruptcy, they have been partially responsible for the decrease in quality of Levi's jeans and many other products that used to be synonymous with the word "quality", and as far as it relates to toy collectors, they are the number one toy retailer on the planet, sadly, and if WM isn't down with something, it can effectively kill that line.

The thing that worries me with the ROTS case assortments as it relates to Wal-Mart is that if WM gets stuck with a whole lot of excess figures that they cannot get rid of (like the Deluxe Obi-Wan) at half price, they're going to become upset.  I'm of the opinion that the majority of WM toy managers hate Star Wars and the collectors of said line, because the SW section at WM is without a doubt, the most disorganized and least stocked area of the toy aisle.  In a non-movie year, WM is lucky if they stock figures once in three months, and when they are your only outlet in small, rural areas, that makes collecting tough.  Even now, in a movie year, one of my local WMs hasn't restocked figures more than twice since April 2nd, and their SW section is a disaster area. 

This doesn't even take into account the "hot" exclusive Early Bird set that Hasbro convinced WM was a great idea.  I've not heard of many areas that don't still have gobs of these on the shelf at full price; the other retailer exclusives have already come and gone and sold like gangbusters.  50,000 Lava Vaders in less than a day for Target, while WM still has the bulk of its 50,000 empty envelopes.

I have a tendency to ramble too, as you can no doubt tell, but my point is this: something major is going to have to happen as far as people other than collectors buying the figures between now and the end of the summer (late July) months or else WM is going to look at the pegs jammed full of Obi-Wans and Anakins and Yodas and say, "Star Wars just isn't selling.  Don't reorder."  And we all know what happens when WM decides not to reorder and put something on clearance: a lot of times, that line doesn't even enter back into the store.

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Anyway, back on topic, if somebody that is unfamiliar with Star Wars is in a toy aisle and they're going to buy a figure for their son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter/etc/etc they are more likely to pick up a well-known character than a Senator Bail Organa

Oh, I don't doubt this a bit at all.  I'm actually someone who looks forward to a decent Obi-Wan more than I do some of the weird background characters (I am also a minority in that, I think).  My point was that there is a glut of certain figures out there, and by glut, I mean that 4 out of every 5 figures are either Obi-Wan, Anakin, Yoda, Mace, R2, Chewbacca, or the Super Battle Droid.  Despite this, Hasbro is continuing to mix several of those figures into case assortments for later this summer (I read over at EE that the Mustafar Anakin case will include figures 25-28 again since stores aren't drowning in Tarffuls enough these days).  It's good to have variety, and I don't dispute that, but when the variety consists of 6 of the same figures over and over with a random background character mixed in, variety ceases to exist.

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First, I would definitely love to read that Q&A; I could definitely see that happening.

It was very telling as far as what Hasbro (or at least those particular reps) thought when someone wasn't blindly kissing their asses and asking actual questions.  I'd actually like to read it again if someone could dig the link to the story back up.   ;D

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I hope that my points achieve some semblance of coherence, and, DoctorPadawan, clearly none of this is directed as an attack at you.  I really enjoy these types of conversations and I'm glad that we can have one without everybody resorting to calls of "scalper!" "hoarder!" and "idiot".

Well, that's the great thing about JD when you compare it to most of the other message boards (you know who I'm talking about).  I know I'm all "Chicken Little" sometimes when it comes to the SW lines, but I can say that kind of thing here without judgment.  People may disagree with me, people may agree with me, but at least here you're granted the accordance of polite consideration, and no matter what, I give others the same.  It's the best forum on the web for SW toys, and I don't just say that because I'm posting it here.  Other places your thread would be locked and you would be banned, but not until you got 50 spam emails with no "unsubscribe" link.   ;D


Offline Morgbug

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2005, 10:59 PM »
Sorry, this thread is severely lacking in short posts. :o :P
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Offline Gregorbian

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2005, 11:28 PM »
Haha, DoctorPadawan and I are "wordy"  ;)
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2005, 01:32 AM »
I tend to agree with Dr. Padawan that Hasbro's got enough of a hand in this that they could be doing better...  There's no Clone multi-pack on the market, yet it was inevitable Clones would be the hot thing... 

Army builders aside, my gf's kids want Clones and just can't find the damn things...  they've actually focused instead on Legos since they said, and I quote, "I got Clones with this walker thing...  You can't even find a Clone!  Haha!"

Yes, a 7 year old gave me a "Nelson Ha Ha" because he got a Clone with his AT-RT Lego...  God Dammit.  :)

Anyway, I think Hasbro can do better...  I think retail can do better though as well, and they are a step in the process, but Hasbro's got the majority of responsibility here ultimately...  It's their job to make the assortment and sell it...  You'd think retail would be able to looka t their pegs and say, "ya know, we would like more Clones actually". :)

I tend to disagree with the EE Clones being such a GREAT thing though however...  I like them, the concept's as sound as it gets, but the price is prohibitive to the actual intent...  I don't know anyone going ape**** with army building with these really...  And I debate just how well these sold, or EE wouldn't have declined more I think, and the exclusive wouldn't have shown now at other outlets...  I think a lot of information on these is still in the dark, and may remain that way.

For what it's worth though, even in new packaging, by the case from EE, these sold for $6.25-ish/figure shipped...  that's what I'm paying my buddy who bought a few cases for local collectors to divy up...  EE made a profit even at $6.25 each, though admitedly a smaller margin since they were selling by higher volume.  An all -white case would've been an ideal, to ship alongside the white/officer case.

Anyway, these figures don't really cost more than the other to make and sell, and if it's a figure like Clones/Troop Builders then increased sales should more than make up every cost incurred by simple volume of sales.  The construction of a SA Clone isn't anything more spectacular than a Mon Mothma...  There's just a few more parts to snap together.  If one part of production cost more than anything it's "injection molded" pieces (the ball/socket shoulders and whatnot), but that's been a more common feature in the ROTS line than ever...  It's not an expensive process really, nor more time consuming... 

What really can cost on a SA style figure are the fixed costs like mold toolings and such, which are expensive, but which depreciate as more and more of a figure is sold...  For every Clone put out, that cost is a little less, and the margin of profit isn't so narrow.  Costs are incurred to produce more, but the price of a sale always covers the cost of production (+ a retailing MSRP/profit factored in) otherwise none would be made or sold.

The EE Clone set still just irks me that its very purpose (to army build) was dashed by overly expensive packaging, and an unnecessarilly high price per figure if you wanted only white Clones...  I personally can't justify more than the couple sets I got, and only then because of their coming from cases bought by friends.  :-\  I'm a guy with 100's of army builders, and sadly this one it looks like I'll not have too many of.
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Offline DoctorPadawan

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2005, 07:03 PM »
The EE Clone packs were a good idea that was poorly executed, like many of Hasbro's exclusive items over the years.  From what I can tell, the Stormtrooper/Sandtrooper FC 4-packs in the plain white boxes sold really well years ago (to the point that I never got the Sandtrooper pack, the only one I wanted), and they could have easily (and more cheaply) extended an olive branch to us and made them a mailaway exclusive four pack back in 2003.  Sadly, they chose to use the JMPs for those stupid auctions and I'm sure there are still thousands of people with gobs of them sitting in a drawer to this day.

But, instead of selling the Clones directly to the people the very idea courts (army builders) for a decent price, they give them to one of the e-tailers that does the most markup on warehouse stock of anyone else (meaning that they get their stock directly from Hasbro, unlike other etailers who will not be named), slaps them in a fancy box, and doesn't say a word when EE makes it fairly cost prohibitive for anyone who doesn't have an oil refinery in their backyard to get a complete set.  As it is, I had trouble scraping together enough money to get the one set I actually wanted, and it was only because of one of the fine people on this board that I'm going to have that set.

A window box wasn't necessary, a poster wasn't necessary, and 35 dollars plus shipping was definitely not necessary.  It's just giving Hasbro ammunition to say, "Well, they paid approximately 8.75 a figure for these Clones, they paid 13 for the Target Clone, how much will they pay for (fill in the blank here)?"  It's a case of "giving an inch and taking a yard."

But anyway, to shed further confusion/light on Hasbro's case assortments, we have a few vehicles coming later this summer, all of which will have to be ordered under the same UPCs that are still on the shelves.  The Wookiee Copter is part of the Small Vehicle line (along with the Boga, BARC, and AT-RT) and I don't know about you guys, but if I see another BARC Speeder, I'm going to vomit.  The Boga is selling okay, and the AT-RT comes and goes, but the BARC is going to be the thing that keeps the Wookiee Copter from showing up in great numbers.  And what do you know, it's seemingly the last one in that assortment!  How predictable!

I think that Plo Koon's Starfighter is going to be a major dud even when it does hit and no matter how many of them are packed per case.  Knowing Hasbro though, they'll ship more of the Anakin and Obi-Wan Starfighters with it, since you know, there just aren't nearly enough of those around these days.

I have a feeling that the Deluxe line is going to be the one that results in a massive cluster**** later this summer though.  There are so many Obi-Wans hanging on the pegs right now that the majority of the retailers I visit don't even have room to restock the figures even if they wanted to.  Only Target has more room for the newer ones, which disappear after a few days, but WM is choking on the Obi-Wans and if I see any of the Wave 3 Deluxes there, I'd be amazed.  At least Hasbro is being smart and not reshipping older Deluxes in cases with the new waves (yet).  And this doesn't even take into account the massive disaster that awaits when the Clones come out in Wave 3, especially if they do several color variants at their usual 1 per case ratio to make room for the big seller: THE SPIDER DROID!  KIDS LIKE TOYS THAT WIND UP CONSARNIT!

And yes, I'm very verbose, but the amazing thing to me is how often I use parentheses in posts.  I really need to cut that out.   :)

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2005, 09:30 PM »
I liked the EE exclusive sets a lot (I know, I seem like a major contrarian) and I thought that, all things considered, they were well done.  They catered to army builders and carded/MIP collectors (I thought that they looked excellent in the package) and were easy to get.  Granted, the price point was nigh ridiculous (and destroyed my wallet) but I'm happy that I was able to get some more Ep. II SA Clone Troopers.  (the eBay price for these guys was upwards of $20 each for a Clone Wars loose figure) so paying $9/figure wasn't that much a comparative deal. 
As for the dangerous precedent that we as collectors have now set in terms of "exclusives" and "army builders," I completely agree.  Hasbro learns through their mistakes and tries to get away with as much as possible (which I guess is normal corporate strategy), so if they can get away with charging $15 a figure for "exclusive" clone troopers, then they will.  However, as was previously noted, the initial price of the Target Exclusive Clone was $9.99 and Target jacked the price up to $13; furthering my frustration with retail stores...
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: Hasbro's Continuing Case Assortment Ignorance
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2005, 10:46 PM »
I can appreciate the frustation, but there is one factor that has not been discussed here at all:  TIME.  The toy line for REVENGE OF THE SITH is only about 6 weeks old.  In that time there has been a great deal of buzz and attention on the line.  That makes some things tougher to find (for a little while) and other things seem to be pegwarmers.  Give it time for things to settle out.  I took a good look at some of the case assortments that are current or upcoming.  There are still a good number of the figures that have been mentioned here on the way.  All you have to do is check out some of the case assortments that EE or Newforce Comics have listed.  I think the long term trend is going to work out much more favorably.

You also have a couple of artificial factor that's being applied on stock levels at stores.  Those are the speculators/scalpers and the army builders.  Add in fairly zealous collectors who are at the store every morning and you've got a tougher environment for collecting.  Give it time.  Army builders are going to buy their fill, scalpers will move onto other items, and collectors will find what they're looking for.  Give it time.  Seriously, patience is the most obvious answer to so many of these kinds of posts and you'd think that people would learn it's only a matter of time before you find some things.  There are 40+ basic figures out there along with 8 Deluxe figures.  You're going to find them eventually.

Thus far the distribution seems to be much better than that of 1999 and 2002.  There doesn't a glut of first wave product clogging shelves to the point where orders for future waves are being cut back.  However, Toys R Us stores are still getting a number of first wave cases to keep the core characters like Obi-Wan, Anakin, Vader, Yoda, Grievous, Palpatine & Clone Troopers out there.  I went to a store last week and saw 7 cases worth of just such an assortment going out.  These things are going to wind up being more favorable to both collectors and the casual fan.

As for the comment about a lack of Clone Trooper multi-packs...HELLO.  The Evolutions 3-Pack?  The Deluxe 3-packs that are modeled on the Clone Wars 3-packs?  What are those?  And once again...we're only 6 weeks into the line. GIVE IT TIME.  Do you seriously expect Hasbro to blow their load all at once?  Why don't we at least give Hasbro until Comic Con (otherwise known as the Summer Toy Fair) before passing judgement.

It's this kind of impatience that really makes the collecting community seem like a dog chasing it's tail at times.  Hasbro has the master toy license until 2018.  Let them space it out a little bit in order to keep it interesting and vital for years to come.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2005, 10:50 PM by Nicklab »
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