The Mekaneck Thread (September, Samples Pg. 3)

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Re: October figure email (possible spoilers)

Postby dayraven » Wed May 23, 2012 12:03 am

Tekwych wrote:So, on a product line that needs to be constantly cut back on to meet production costs they spent extra design time and other resources to remove what should have been a basic and obvious feature.

That's logistics for you


and by logistics, you mean the dumbest damned thing you've ever read? yup, that's sounds about right.

riddle me this tekkie... you're the old cogger 'round these parts, been arond, seen some stuff, that kind of thing... have you ever, in your many years of collecting, heard of a line this consistently mismanaged that survived? or this more common place then we realize for the industry? cuz man, from where i sit, this dude just sounds wildly incompetent to run a toy line. like, i know he doesn't have limitless power to run the line, but even for middle management, he seems... bungling, to put it nicely. am i just really badly educated on the behind the scenes... scene, or this guy a serious skid mark of a brand manager?
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Re: October figure email (possible spoilers)

Postby PrfktTear » Wed May 23, 2012 12:01 pm

I wonder if this had been any other brand: Transformers, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, etc. would it have even lasted as long?

Also, it makes me wonder if this line had gone to retail if it would have lasted as long as it has. I’m sure a lot of trouble with DR would have been cut out --- but as much of a nightmare as DCUC was to collect, I think a retail MOTUC would have been ten times as worse.
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Re: October figure email (possible spoilers)

Postby Tekwych » Wed May 23, 2012 10:18 pm

dayraven wrote:riddle me this tekkie... you're the old cogger 'round these parts, been arond, seen some stuff, that kind of thing... have you ever, in your many years of collecting, heard of a line this consistently mismanaged that survived?  or this more common place then we realize for the industry?  cuz man, from where i sit, this dude just sounds wildly incompetent to run a toy line.  like, i know he doesn't have limitless power to run the line, but even for middle management, he seems... bungling, to put it nicely.  am i just really badly educated on the behind the scenes... scene, or this guy a serious skid mark of a brand manager?


I'm sure if we were to dig we could find something but I can't lay this all at Scott's feet. I do think he has made bad decisions but he is one cog in the oldest ship of the toy industry fleet. Mattel's management team has been stuck in the 1970's. In general they have never understood boy's toys and would not know a peraneial line if it was dropped in their lap (as He Man was). An action figure line, to Mattel, is one or two waves put out over the corse no more than two years. After that boys have moved on and society wants the next best thing. Even though brand managers have forced things like MattyCollector on them management stil does not fully recognize that their is a collectors market let alone that it is big enough to design and market for.

Mattel has never been a force in the boys isle the way it, with Barbie, dominates the girls isle. Hasbro now, and Mego, LJN, Tomy, Kenner, and even Remco have in the past retained twice the peg space, or more, at retail then Mattel could. Even the Batman / DC lines were hit or miss, start and stop, redesign and rebrand. The reality is that He Man was a fluke for the company and it's management of the 200x re-visit is proof that they, management, still did not understand what they had. There are those in middle management and below that do understand the currant market but do not wield enough real power to do any good within the Goliath of Mattel.

Look at the (partial) list of Mattel toy lines, and ignore corporate purchases like Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Matchbox, and you have very little that lasted more than two years. MOTU, Big Jim, and Max Steel are notable exceptions but few on a long list. Major Matt Mason was considered the biggest toy line of its time yet it lasted less than 4 years, had 8 different figures and, if you count repackaging and 'gift collections' a grand total of 70 SKUs that went to retail. They held the license for M.U.S.C.L.E. but could keep it at retail for only three years. 

On a side note of cost - While every other company in the world that wants to sell toys in the USA must pay for third party testing of their retail products, a process which costs thousands of dollars per figure, Mattel, and Mattel alone, has received legal option to do all testing in house and certify their toys without any overwatch or third party inspection.
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Re: October figure email (possible spoilers)

Postby Lay Ze-Man » Thu May 24, 2012 1:45 am

I've been saying for a while that MotU would do better in the hands of another company. Mattel doesn't have to lose the rights necessarily, but it's been curious and kind of a shame to see such potential be sat on for so long.

Yeah, MOTUC is a good line, and we're seeing a new comic mini series, but these things are tiny drops in the bucket.

MotU has the potential to be modern mythology, and it's extremely short-sighted to consider it first and foremost a nostalgia brand as the current team has.
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Re: October figure email (possible spoilers)

Postby dayraven » Thu May 24, 2012 10:13 am

i can't help but think that if scott were as competent as i wish he were, he could convince the execs of their error. market research can be hard to refute, and matty collector does change the old paradigm.

but he is also enormously stupid, as a person. he constant self-congratulatory attitude and back clapping are hard to stomach, and his inability to execute PR says they ought to employ someone else to do the PR work. when you have as small a fanbase as this line does, the last thing you want to do is piss on their face. and scott makes a habit of it at such frequent occasion that my chin is starting to smell like a porta potty floor at burning man.
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Re: October figure email (possible spoilers)

Postby PrfktTear » Thu May 24, 2012 5:01 pm

I don't know. Scott seems like he's being earnest and that deeply cares for the line. Historically Mattel has proven that they have absoltuely no idea how to manage a boy's line. So now you take a small, in-house brand that the corporate powers that be don't give to sniffles about and give it a pittance for a budget and see what you can do?

I think he'll be the first one to admit that they have made mistakes and seems genuinely concerned about the line. I think he's in this position of being between a rock and a hard place --- like trying to tap dance with cement shoes on.
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Re: October figure email (possible spoilers)

Postby Tekwych » Thu May 24, 2012 8:16 pm

The problem is that Scott is too much a fan and not enough a manager. He allows his own wants and hopes to cloud decisions that need to be cold and thoughtful business choices. While at Palisades I stayed abreast of the Micronauts line and offered opinion but never would have made a decision about the line because I am too close, that is my collecting focus so I would have been blinded to business decisions that had to be made.

I have also had personal interactions with the management team at Mattel that preceded the currant one and getting them to understand that people were interested in documenting the Big Jim line was like balling out the Great Lakes with a teaspoon.
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Re: October figure email (possible spoilers)

Postby Lay Ze-Man » Fri May 25, 2012 5:35 am

Tekwych wrote:The problem is that Scott is too much a fan and not enough a manager. He allows his own wants and hopes to cloud decisions that need to be cold and thoughtful business choices. While at Palisades I stayed abreast of the Micronauts line and offered opinion but never would have made a decision about the line because I am too close, that is my collecting focus so I would have been blinded to business decisions that had to be made.

I have also had personal interactions with the management team at Mattel that preceded the currant one and getting them to understand that people were interested in documenting the Big Jim line was like balling out the Great Lakes with a teaspoon.


Well-spoken here, Tek.

The problem with Scott's fandom for me is that IMO a true fan would place the legacy and integrity of the brand far and above personal desires, every step of the way.

So yes, he's too much of a fan in the "making the line for himself as a collector" sense but not too much of a fan in the "protective of the brand" sense.
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Re: October figure email (possible spoilers)

Postby PrfktTear » Fri May 25, 2012 10:19 am

You got no argument from me there.

Sort of like a surgeon performing open heart surgery on his infant son or a man seeing his wife as a therapist. Too much conflicted interest.

What about the Four Horsemen? Are they too close to the property? Or do you think they're able to walk the fine line between professionalism and fanboyism? Or is that not really as relevant for the sculptors?
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Re: October figure email (possible spoilers)

Postby Lay Ze-Man » Fri May 25, 2012 10:57 am

The 4H are definitely not too close. Aside from Treadaway, none of them were kids when MotU was in its heyday. And Treadaway didn't even collect the whole life of the line. Don't recall exactly, but he was out at least as early as the Snake Men. So chalk them up more as fans of all cool toy stuff in general before you'd call them diehard, hardcore MotU fans. True, they did the relaunch, but as many nostalgia purists will tell you through wrinkled noses, those weren't exactly holding the originals as sacrosanct. Certainly not the Filmation stuff.

In fact, one of the big complaints from the MotU fanbase was how Mattel frowned upon the 4H's relationship with he-man.org, in particular the "off the books" consulting they were getting from Emiliano. Precisely because the 4H know they're not the biggest and most knowledgeable MotU fans out there (unlike others who would attempt such a hubristic claim) they'd tap Emiliano, who aside from being a walking MotU encyclopedia has access to MotU lore that even Mattel and Scott were clueless about, thanks in no small part to Mattel's spotty record regarding treatment of their own creative talent and disregard for the potency of the brand beyond cash cow status.

Look, I don't wanna be in full-on "bash Scott" mode here. I do give him genuine and 100% deserved props for getting the ball rolling and successfully pitching his bosses on it--only after, of course, the 4H already delivered an unsolicited He-Man figure better than any seen since '82, which any toy company exec would be brain damaged to not see dollar signs in, but I digress... :lol:

But after initially getting the greenlight he should've done the right thing and bowed out, serving as consultant only. Of course Scott would have us believe he was the only guy for the job, because he really wanted that job. Turns out it's his entire motivation behind getting a Mattel job in the first place. So yeah, with that kind of bias you gotta take everything with a Grayskull tower of salt. :wink:

Plus, you gotta consider his hand in non-MOTUC stuff and really judge the value of his influence there also. At the end of the day, as we've seen with Mattel in-house product, and really anything looking across the industry, DCUC would've been nothing without the 4H's talents behind that line as well. Ghostbusters? A fairly middling line overall. The GL movie lines? Less said the better. The (intended or not) insulting, dismissive rapport he's adopted with online communities aside, I just don't see a solid track record. And certainly not one deserving of the perks and influence he's had on the MotU brand as a whole.
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