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What do Minimates need to get to the "next level"?

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I honestly never thought I'd become this enthralled and deeply enveloped in a toy line, let alone one that is the scale of Minimates. Anyhow, onto my question. What do you think the line needs to propel it to the next level in terms of market visibility, brand recognition and to make them more popular overall.

A new line of Minimates? Heavy advertising? Something we can do? I mean they have Squinkies, Fighter Pods and other "mini" toys taking up large display, I am almost certain that from an aesthetic stand point Minimates are way more pleasing to the majority of people, especially kids. They look like Lego figures on steroids.

It just bothers me seeing sub-standard products more widely recognized and marketed than Minimates. It frustrates and confuses me. I mean if not for the product and how much fun they are, Minimates should be more in the public eye because of the truly wonderful team behind them at DST! ( zach, chuck, digger and everyone else who I can't think of )

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I would love to see Minimates at Walmart and Target again, I think DST is doing a wonderful job with the line though, a bunch of licenses, exposure at Toys R Us, and plenty of product.

Edited by Heroic Slacker

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Lack of sales aside, I'm not exactly sure why target stopped carrying them. Suncoast went out of business as did media play where I spotted them the most. Barnes and noble started carrying munnys all of a sudden along with other kitchy and anime toys you'd expect to see at a comic shop or hot topic. I don't know why they aren't carrying them yet. I think public awareness is what's keeping them from being seen as knock off legos (as people in my office call them) and sold to mass retailers. Nobody but us here

knows anything about them or that the line has 50 waves.

Seems to me dst is happy with the current standings and

getting money from the average fanboy hitting up the comic shop every week than taking the chance with Joe public.

shop

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I agree with what most have posted. I want to see these guys at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target. I want to get them in the mail with a tiny tube of toothpaste and a small box of laundry detergent. :tongue:

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The only reason I posted this because the amount of display place of for other inferior, both in design quality and creativity , toy lines is huge and people seem to keep buying them. Imagine if DST set up a little Minimate display box at every TRU...people would love it! I know when kids see the toys out like that they know what they are getting and get more excited than they would by just packaging.

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Gideon. That is all.

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At Christmas time I buy the reduced(and some regular priced marvel) and put them in the toys-for-tots bin @ TRU. Just to get them "out there" :)

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I like the idea of a display case. It could show all the articulation, and even have a few mix and match guys in there to show the swap-ability of the parts. When I take my son thru target or tru, we always stop at the Lego displays, and he tells me he wants all them guys. He's only 3, and loves it

Also, "swivel-arm battle grip "is an upgrade that would be totally sweet!

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Branching out of the 2 and 4-pack formats. I'm talking deluxe sets with some kind of mix and match accessory packs, "gift sets" like super hero squad had (heck, the TRU 10-pack was like the best thing ever to me when it came out), blind bagged (as much as we would hate this) singles, etc. The next "big thing" must be blind bagged stuff because every time i walk into Target, TRU, and even Walgreens, the isles are loaded with all kinds of them.

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Gideon. That is all.

Bam!

And another Big license. Star Wars or DC. Unrealistic, yes. But so far in house licenses and vehicles haven't brought the expansion that I had hoped for. Marvel has done well, and is poised to continue. With the rising costs of toys, the cheap two-pack (less than one MU) has got to become more desirable. Even so, another Big license is what it is going to take. And, no, I don't think that license will be Thundercats, Walking Dead, Munsters, the Expendables, Battle Beasts, or videogames, those are cool, long strides but not Big. There needs to be another license with brand name familiarity and desirability, not something with niche appeal.

Edit: The only reason I don't collect Kubricks is the blind bagging. It would probably be the only reason I didn't collect Minimates too.

Edited by Turtle

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Edit: The only reason I don't collect Kubricks is the blind bagging. It would probably be the only reason I didn't collect Minimates too.

Blind-bagging,if properly policed & managed is a great marketing ploy.My knowledge of toy-collecting is confined to about 3 or 4 lines ,1 of which involved blind-bagging another that still does . Palz ,now defunct,had 2 lines that were blind-bagged & had figures that were supposedly rarer in varying degrees of rarity :unsure: Palz died when Palisades folded years ago & since then the main ebay sellers of Palz ...who coincidentally were the guys who had run Palisades....have sold dozens.... nay hundreds.... of the secret rare figures . So what ? Well all I can say is that I must be about the unluckiest person on God's earth because I bought a ton of those boxed,blind-bagged,shiny-cased ,randomly-packed ,minty-fresh,factory-packed in factory-cartoned Palz over the years & I've found diddly that's extremely rare. Make your own minds up ..I have.

Kubricks are much the same & are almost sold in a multi-level marketing manner ....very elitist & geared up as a cartel IMO. If you're ever thinking of buying a sealed case of kubricks make sure that the case hasn't been opened from beneath the case rather than from above....that might not make sense to you now but it will do when you buy one.

All that said I want to make it absolutely clear that I'm not painting all toy-companies with the same brush ,all I am saying is that blind-bagging is a system of marketing that can & often is abused .

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I think it'd definitely have to be a new big license, to get them back in the Walmarts and Targets. Plus, add in some cross-promotional things. I'm thinking like how Lego did the video games, the Lego Star Wars and Lego Batman series are killing it for them right now.

So since Star Wars and DC are out, since it's already been done, I'd say the other biggest licenses out there have to be either Transformers or GI Joe. Transformers would be a tough sell I think, since the main purpose is to, you know, transform....plus we saw how well the Kre-O did with that. GI Joe has some potential though.....that and Star Wars I think has been the best about having a deep line of figures, plus vehicles as well. Add the minimate asthetic, and a good video game to get the visibility up, you'd have a killer combo. Once that caught on, it'd pave the way to make a Marvel video game too maybe, bring the Marvel 'mates back into the mass market....

Completely wishful thinking, but I think it could work.

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Or we could just be content with our little slice of heaven instead of trying to figure out how to let everyone else in on it... :sweat:

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The reason I wouldn't want to see Marvel minimates in Walmart or even Target again is the assortments. Target always had different mixes that duplicated one new figure with one I already had. And you better believe if Walmart carries them, every single assortment will have Spider-Man, Iron Man and Wolverine. Will they sell? Probably. But I think direct market already gives us a fair share of duplicates and heavy hitters.

The exception I could see would be movie waves. Maybe we'd actually get some of those missing characters (I'm looking at you Hogun, Fandrall and Heimdall…) if Walmart or Target carried waves and wanted exclusives like TRU to compete.

As far as another big license to bring in the general populace? Well, right now there's not too many bigger than Avengers, and we have those. As a matter of fact, they've been sold out at my TRU for a while now. Marvel's pretty expansive and if that's not big enough, then I don't know what would be with the exception of the DC big hitters.

As much as I'd love G.I. Joe minimates, I doubt it would be successful, given the failed attempt of Combat Heroes.

Lord of the Rings minimates, as awesome as they could be, and I'd buy every single one, would be hard pressed to compete with the LEGO sets at retail. Same goes for Star Wars.

An all encompassing Star Trek line at retail may actually have the best chance - as long as it's not competing with an action figure line simultaneously. But there would have to be vehicles and a playset. Toy fans, Trek fans and minifigure fans all would probably be in for a Trek line, covering all iterations of the series and movies.

I'd actually love a Star Trek line of minimates like that, at all retailers...

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I agree, the next level is another big "anchor" property that can run for years. That's the one reason I don't think DC will ever be truly dead, because I'm sure Chuck realizes how valuable it can be. Having another anchor property would also go a long way towards convincing other retailers to give Minimates another look. And, let's all be honest here: how long do you think Minimates would continue without Marvel? Certainly, they'd die at the specialty market. And TRU seems happy, but would that still be the case without Marvel? Another anchor property would be great insurance in case Marvel ever decides to end things.

You guys have listed most of the properties with big character libraries (DC, Star Wars, GI Joe) that could be a great compliment to Marvel. There's two more to add:

-WWE. I'm surprised this doesn't come up more often. I think WWE is the potential sleeping giant for Minimates. You've got great brand recognition and a vast character library. Better still, it's easy to keep redoing the same characters, because wrestlers' looks are constantly changing. Heck, every time John Cena has a new shirt, there's a new Minimate. Plus, you have great potential new outlets in WWEShopdotcom and the other wrestling collectables sites. You might even see Minimates sold at arenas around the country.

-Disney. Why not? Marvel seems happy with Minimates, and the Disney Store seems happy with Minimates, so why not expand the relationship? Again, you've got a big character library (including some of the best-known characters in the world). Plus, you've got a whole new market for Minimates: girls. I know my daughter would go NUTS if I brought her home 'mates of Ariel, or Belle, or.. well, you know.

DST's done pretty well at augmenting Marvel with secondary, short-term lines like BSG, Ghostbusters, and Halo, but those properties just don't have enough characters to run indefinitely. Adding a second tentpole is a must.

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Or we could just be content with our little slice of heaven instead of trying to figure out how to let everyone else in on it... :sweat:

as we say here in NOLA, True Dat!

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I could see the wrestling minimates as having potential. Very expansive, and a wide appeal. As long as I get a Macho Man/Elizabeth 2-pack and an Andy Kaufman/Jerry Lawler 2-pack with stretcher, I'm in. Throw in a Sgt. Slaughter/Roddy Piper SDCC pack and it's gold.

For Disney, they just seem to have so many versions of so many characters of so many different style toy lines, that I don't know where minimates would fit in. I think they'd be fantastic, but a drop in the toy bucket for them, which would easily get neglected at retail.

Now if Disney narrowed it down a bit to say, Pixar characters, and made them in exclusive specific movie themed 4-packs available in Disney stores, parks and online, then it may be a good start to enter that world.

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Actually, I think one of the benefits of Disney would be that there's really nothing else like Minimates in the licensing arsenal. They don't have Disney Legos, right? And Imaginext has made Toy Story toys, but I think that's it. Kubricks, I suppose, but those aren't a mass-market item.

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Well, there's Disney Toy Story, Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean LEGO sets, but none of their flagship properties that I can think of. While I would be 100% all in for Disney minimates, I think they would probably see LEGO as more of a proven retail moneymaking workhorse, if they had to choose.

I think it would all come down to how minimates were presented to Disney (or any major company) as a viable profit machine that retains the integrity of their license. The continued success of Marvel is a big step in that direction.

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All those Disney Lego lines are currently on hiatus or finished, the only current Disney properties put out by Lego are the Disney Princess Duplo theme, and the Avengers.

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I'm waiting for Zach to chime in on this. I am genuinely just curious as to whether there is some sort of grand plan for Minimate expansion at DST or if they are happy with what they have going now, which seems to be sustaining itself well and even growing albeit at a slow and steady pace.

I just love Minimates and I wish everyone knew how awesome they are!

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The thing with Minimates is that they're basically a collector's line, something major retailers avoid.

They should try the building blocks again with kid-friendly licenses. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the only one that comes to mind with a collector market appeal too. That and re-design the hands to hold other brick-type weapons.

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Box sets/ waves of certain films/ characters that are iconic

Aliens

Predator

Robocop

Nightmare on elm street

Halloween

Friday the 13th

Planet of the apes

Etc.....

Jump on the bandwagon of popular TV shows with stayin power & a huge fan base

Game of thrones

True blood

big bang theory (bit of a stretch but I know i'd buy them)

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i dont think its iconic licenses that the line needs, what it needs is its own original content.

i think battle beasts and MAX are the first step forward. As ive realized lately is that a LOT of people still call minimates "Lego's" an error that is hard to excuse, especially since it means people may look for them in the lego section and never find them. The main thing that Minimates need to differentiate themselves is their own stories and characters that are original, the same way Lego has Monster Hunters, City, Etc

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I'm waiting for Zach to chime in on this.

I would be surprised if he did. Zach generally avoids these kind of discussions, and I don't blame him for that.

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