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I would agree we should have shown more than head shots on the backs of the Mass Effect packaging, and we're changing that for TMNT Series 3, I believe, as well as NBX and all other lines. Maybe it would have helped Mass Effect at Gamestop, but like I've said, Kmart TMNT sales seemed to go very well.

But if a large retailer wants blind bags over two-packs, or vice-versa, we're going to give it to them. They know their buyers, no need to tell them what to do. For the smaller retailers, we need to offer them the way we think they'll do the best across the board, and the whole sales team is involved in the decision -- it's a room full of people, not just one guy throwing darts at a board.

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people need to understand this is a business and blind bags sell.

Explain that to TRU. They seem pretty content with blisters and window boxes for Minimates.

Then they're happy with what they have. Having to change display location, price point, whatever may make a format change less appealing, no matter the potential increase in sales. Not every retailer is the same, or wants to rewrite their existing planogram because of Minimates.

I don't think it's a question of one format selling better, or even selling better for certain licenses. I think there are a lot of factors, so it's not a universal "bags or not to bags" situation.

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My TRU stores change display locations on a whim. I really don't think altering the planogram is a factor for TRU. I think they have something that works and don't want to mess with it. But when you're trying to introduce your product into a new market, not showing the product is not the way to draw in new consumers. TRU gets it.

Blind bags got Minimates into a couple new chains because that's what those retailers wanted. Now is the time for DST to go back and get them to take Minimates in packaging that actually reveals the product.

Sell-IN is good for DST. Sell-THROUGH is good for everyone.

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The argument could be made by those retailers that blind products have higher sell through for them than regular mates could. I have a buttload of comic shops around, 1 still sells (though a lot less) minimates, and 1 stopped years ago due to them not selling and have frequently referred me to online friends of theirs. The latter however has since changed its tune due to blind bags and have even ordered a few boxsets here and there. When you can view a peg warmer thats always there, its easy to not pick it up. Blind bags sell because most people will take the risk if they are interested in the product or license since it is a small investment and not a large waste of money if it doesnt go the way they want.

Glad to hear future bags will have more than head shots. I was also concerned about that.

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OK, so this isn't about minimates (directly), but more about "blind box/bag" packaging in general. Now let me start by saying that I like living in the US & like a lot of the things that that affords me, but people here are dumbdumbdumb when it comes to this kind of packaging. Not everyone but huge chunks of people.

For whatever reason, tons of people see all the characters/figs (in the particular series) pictured on the front & assume they will get all of them. Look at any retailer offering Lego Collectible Minifigs/MB Minions/etc/etc (anything in blind box/bag packaging) & read the reviews -- especially TRU & Amazon. Stupid people are constantly dinging these items for "false advertising" & what-have-you because they themselves are the idiots & can not comprehend exactly what "blind box" means.

I honestly can not understand why this concept is so hard for so many people to grasp -- it's not rocket science (which I've stated in comments to poor reviews). It's mind-bottling. (Sorry, I just watched Blades of Glory last nite.)

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My TRU stores change display locations on a whim. I really don't think altering the planogram is a factor for TRU. I think they have something that works and don't want to mess with it. But when you're trying to introduce your product into a new market, not showing the product is not the way to draw in new consumers. TRU gets it.

Blind bags got Minimates into a couple new chains because that's what those retailers wanted. Now is the time for DST to go back and get them to take Minimates in packaging that actually reveals the product.

Sell-IN is good for DST. Sell-THROUGH is good for everyone.

I'm not even sure what you're arguing any more. Are you saying we need to do a better job selling retailers something they don't want? If a chain retailer wants blind bags, then convincing them otherwise is not a battle we push on them, nor is convincing them later that they made a mistake the first time. If they even did.

If you just want DST to be a better at packaging design, and take the blame for Mass Effect Minimates not doing well at Gamestop, for not showing the full figures on the back, or the front, or wherever you think they needed to be shown, then sure, I'll take the blame personally. They were the least expensive thing in the store, based on a popular, undermerchandised brand, and I can't understand why they didn't do well, aside from people not knowing what they were. Or maybe Mass Effect was just too dormant right now. Or maybe gamers didn't dig the blockiness -- once you go hi-res, you never go back. Or maybe I simply didn't promote them effectively enough. All possible contributors.

...Although McFarlane's TWD TV mini-figures showed their figures on the package, and they seem to be in the same situation at my GameStop, sharing a discount bin. Anyway, we'll still have product at Gamestop, so we can always revisit it.

If you want to blame packaging for Kmart not taking more blind-bag Turtles... I don't know that there's anything to blame, since they seemed to do well there, regardless of what was on the packaging. Kmart has other stuff on their plate, .

If people are still seeing blind Turtles and blind Age of Ultron bags lingering at their local stores, I would be curious to hear about it, because that is really the only thing we would have any control over, and even then, we'd need feedback from retailers, not anecdotal evidence. Like I said, Series 3 will have full figures on the back, as far as I know. AND will look different from the first two series. We'll see if that affects anything.

Everything that I have seen with other blind-bagged mini-figures such as Palz & kubricks has come to pass with blind bagged Minimates.

I'll leave it there .

Wait, Minimates have been discontinued?! Or did they just shift entirely to a bear-based format?

The argument could be made by those retailers that blind products have higher sell through for them than regular mates could. I have a buttload of comic shops around, 1 still sells (though a lot less) minimates, and 1 stopped years ago due to them not selling and have frequently referred me to online friends of theirs. The latter however has since changed its tune due to blind bags and have even ordered a few boxsets here and there. When you can view a peg warmer thats always there, its easy to not pick it up. Blind bags sell because most people will take the risk if they are interested in the product or license since it is a small investment and not a large waste of money if it doesnt go the way they want.

Hey, look at that, direct evidence of the success of our blind bag campaign! Thanks, Arnim!

Edited by DSTZach
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I'm saying that DST knows the Minimates brand better than retailers who've never sold them like Kmart and GameStop. If DST discouraged these retailers from blind packaging, good. DST tried. Minimates got into those stores. That's good for the short term.

But I recall a big part of getting Minimates into these stores wasn't to aggravate the existing consumer base but to grow the market share, to introduce new consumers to the Minimates brand. I'm sure DST cares more about that than Kmart or GameStop but if the buyers for those stores pass on another assortment of Minimates because Minimates didn't sell well, then DST needs to defend its brand. DST needs to be the Brand Manager and politely remind these stores how challenging it is to sell a new product sight unseen and illustrate how successful the brand has been in blister and box packaging.

(Unless, of course, DST sold the Minimates brand to these stores as a hot item, something that would draw existing consumers (IE- us) into their stores. In which case we're about to have a very different conversation.)

I just don't want retail buyers' perceptions of the Minimates brand to be unsuccessful because of the way the introductory product was packaged. And they could certainly blame DST for not telegraphing WTF a "Minimates" is better on the package. Or they could decide, "Yeah, blind packaging for a new product really doesn't make sense. Maybe we should do it the way it's been proven to work for over a decade."

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I have a huge collection of games old and current. I want more video games to have minimates. Historically mates based of minimates don't last because of all the people I have gamed with over the years, only 1 other person I know collects toys, but even they are super selective. We are lucky gamestop got us what we got, an exquisite set of mates from an excellent game that doesn't even have a current game out. They have stopped selling toys in their stores on more than 1 occasion in the last 13 years because gamers don't buy as many toys. If everyone can stop blaming the blind bags for failure to get more out of gamestop when there are obviously way more variables no one is considering, that would be great.

It's already been said Kmart asked for blind bags, sold out, and reordered at least once. This was despite their not being a full on picture of a mate on the bags. they didn't order another wave because they didn't order one. When you sell out and reorder, that is a success. So if people can stop bringing up Kmart having blind bags as a failure that would be great.

DST makes toys, and we eventually buy them. DSTs customers are store buyers. Zach is in marketing, not sales, not product creation. I'm not sure how involved his job is with buyers, but from what I've learned from toy companies over the years I can't imagine it's a lot. The sales team at DST hits up every chain at every opportunity to sell them minimates. We aren't privy to those conversations and shouldn't presume that we know how their conversations about blind bags went.

You don't look a gift horse in the mouth. If a company wants to pay my small toy company to make them something a specific way, and pay the amount of money involved in these deals, then you don't argue with them. You smile and sign the paperwork. If you think these giant deals don't go over every minute detail back and forth like the issues we bitch about, you would be wrong.

These are million dollar businesses, we are just a niche market for a niche hobby, on a small corner of the web like lots of other toylines. Be angry and be frustrated but at least we get awesome Shit out of it. Try being a transformers or he-man collector. Try buying a piece of colored plastic that doesn't even look like ironhide, or trying to find your favorite beast man and being out $100 dollars if you get him because Mattel doesn't have faith in their own ip to even stock their main characters.

I will take any and all minimates however I can get them. Nature's best collectible.

Now about that 90s ghost rider.....

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Everything that I have seen with other blind-bagged mini-figures such as Palz & kubricks has come to pass with blind bagged Minimates.

I'll leave it there .

Wait, Minimates have been discontinued?! Or did they just shift entirely to a bear-based format?

Maybe you should ask DST ? yes.gif

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@Arnim: I agree, I think the Mass Effect failure (if it was indeed a failure) has more to do with video game toys than anything done by DST. I'm not a gamer, but few of the gamers I've ever known are also toy collectors, and video game toys never seem to sell very well. This is entirely anecdotal, of course, just based on my travels and the amount of vid product I see on clearance and collecting dust. I think toy companies and retailers expect there to be a big market for video game toys, so they keep trying, again and again.

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I'm saying that DST knows the Minimates brand better than retailers who've never sold them like Kmart and GameStop. If DST discouraged these retailers from blind packaging, good. DST tried. Minimates got into those stores. That's good for the short term.

But I recall a big part of getting Minimates into these stores wasn't to aggravate the existing consumer base but to grow the market share, to introduce new consumers to the Minimates brand. I'm sure DST cares more about that than Kmart or GameStop but if the buyers for those stores pass on another assortment of Minimates because Minimates didn't sell well, then DST needs to defend its brand. DST needs to be the Brand Manager and politely remind these stores how challenging it is to sell a new product sight unseen and illustrate how successful the brand has been in blister and box packaging.

(Unless, of course, DST sold the Minimates brand to these stores as a hot item, something that would draw existing consumers (IE- us) into their stores. In which case we're about to have a very different conversation.)

I just don't want retail buyers' perceptions of the Minimates brand to be unsuccessful because of the way the introductory product was packaged. And they could certainly blame DST for not telegraphing WTF a "Minimates" is better on the package. Or they could decide, "Yeah, blind packaging for a new product really doesn't make sense. Maybe we should do it the way it's been proven to work for over a decade."

I do not believe our sales team ever sells Minimates with the sales pitch that they are a COLD item, that NO ONE will be looking for. But I'm sure they focused on the strength of the license in all cases, and not that the Minimates collector base alone would support them. Although I'm curious what the "different conversation" would be, hopefully not one in which you shake your head at us for misrepresenting the product in order to put it in a thousand locations, closer to numerous collectors, and in front of millions of potential new customers.

And if we've aggravated the existing fan base with this one (or two) figures, I certainly apologize. Getting Minimates in more locations is meant to help everybody, not just new fans, and exclusives often make that happen. Not sure why Kmart got a Mutagen Mikey AND Kraang, instead of April, but I can't imagine that the Kraang was ever going to be a highly widespread figure, available in multiples in every location, simply due to high tampo printing costs. It's unfortunate that the army builder (this army builder, anyway -- we've released four in the line so far) is so complex, but hopefully we make more someday. In the meantime, there are a lot of them sitting in strips in our warehouse, if anyone wants to make the investment.

I should also point out that Target once had Marvel Minimates that were KIND of blind-boxed, with no windows, except you knew what you were getting, and there were pictures on the box. But I don't think they lasted more than a series or three there, either.

When you sell out and reorder, that is a success.

Depends on who you talk to.

I think this was in reference to me downplaying Series 60's perception as some kind of global juggernaut just because Luke sold out. I would say that it was a success with Luke, absolutely. He ran brilliant promotions, he knows his customer base, and this series was made with a lot of love for his base, and this board in general. I would need to look at how it did overall, but we were comparing its performance to other Marvel assortments, which is something different. As far as blind bags and new retailers go, I stand by the idea that TMNT was a success with Kmart, or as much as it could have been. I do not know if it was a success in all markets, but it must have done well enough to keep going.

@Arnim: I agree, I think the Mass Effect failure (if it was indeed a failure) has more to do with video game toys than anything done by DST. I'm not a gamer, but few of the gamers I've ever known are also toy collectors, and video game toys never seem to sell very well. This is entirely anecdotal, of course, just based on my travels and the amount of vid product I see on clearance and collecting dust. I think toy companies and retailers expect there to be a big market for video game toys, so they keep trying, again and again.

If I recall, Playstation was not a big seller for TRU, nor was Tomb Raider, when they eventually showed up. But Halo obviously did well, and PvZ, so we'll keep trying.

More PVZ Minimates in the works.

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More PVZ Minimates...............some good news thumbsup.gif

Playstation 'mates (exclusively TRU) & Tomb Raider, TRU exclusives, are IMHO some of the hardest minimates [of recent times] to obtain [ebay] for reasonable money . I have to accept that either weren't a big seller for TRU but I wonder at how many were produced ?

Edited by buttheadsmate
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Tomb Raider is still plentiful at TRU despite being clearanced (though the exclusive sets are now mostly gone, to be fair), and the Playstation sets lingered for ages. I don't think you can count the aftermarket for those sets as any kind of evidence as to how they did in stores when they were new. Anyway, even ignoring those there's still the Street Fighter v Tekken line, which I suspect was probably the worst-selling Minimate line of all time.

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Maybe the army-building nature of Halo and PVZ makes the idea of collecting little Minimates acceptable to those gamers, while fans of games where a character's physical appearance is central to their appeal - sexy hi-res types in Mass Effect and Tomb Raider and Tekken, or artfully-designed characters like Jak or the Street Fighters - can't accept them in the block-figure format?

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For me, as a huge Mass Effect fan, when I first saw both Shep's I was immediately let down. They're just tampos with some shoulder pads and it looks terrible. DST did Halo very well and that's not to say ME didn't have great sculpts because it did, but when the main character(s) are botched then it's just not worth my money. They could have done a way better job.

Also it was a bad idea because Gamestop literally sells 5 or 6 inch ME figures that are extremely detailed, and those deformed pop vinyl figures right next to the blind bagged Minimates with boring packaging and shoddy likenesses. I think it just comes down to the fact that ME did not translate well and definitely was not marketed well. Both of my Gamestop stores just had all the collectables in a bin you had to dig around lmao.

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I don't know how many times we've been told here that Minimates would be a much smaller line without that one, mass market retailer Toys R Us. Collectors here tend to live in their own little bubbles and rarely look at the big picture. Believe me, as someone who's been doing licensed product development for over 25 years, I get it.

I've also been in meetings with retailers like Walmart and Target where the buyers will insist on something that the manufacturer knows from experience is a terrible idea. But because buyers change almost annually (at least in my business) and don't have that experience with the product or the property, they need to be convinced that, for example, glitter is fine on Hello Kitty but not Batman. If the buyer insists on glittering Batman because their 4-year-old daughter loves glitter and it'll help make the Batman brand appeal to more consumers, we'll acquiesce and glitter the living hell out of the Dark Knight just to make the sale. So again, I get it. Been there.

However, when the next appointment rolls around and the buyer's looking at disappointing sell-through on glittering Batman product, we have no problem reminding her that we argued against it. (Assuming she's still there, of course.)

Now if I'm selling Schtuckers™ to a retail toy buyer who's unfamiliar with the brand, I'm gonna try my darnedest to convince that retailer that his store needs my Schtuckers™. My Schtuckers™ have been around over a decade and they've featured every collectible licensed property from Disney to Marvel. The Schtuckers™ brand is growing and he needs to get on the Schtuckers™ train.

I'll even hand him one of my Schtuckers™ so he can play with it and see it's appeal first hand. He'll see how intoxicating my stand behind your Schtuckers™ can be. But when this guy insists on putting my Schtuckers™ in a blind bag and hoping like hell that the license alone compels his consumers to buy my Schtuckers™, I'm gonna be honest with him.

See, I want this retailer to buy my Schtuckers™ for years, not just once. I'm gonna try to convince him that the best way to sell Schtuckers™ is to flaunt them, not hide them. Because even though I think my Schtuckers™ are pretty hot shit, without Toys R Us, they're not really selling all that well. They're more of a specialty market product but with mass market potential.

I'll tell him that my Schtuckers™ in his store will drive a modest amount of foot traffic from existing collectors but – as this buyer already knows – Schtuckers™ isn't exactly a doorbuster yet. Since his own existing customers probably aren't familiar with Schtuckers™ either, let's actually show the Schtuckers™ instead of making it a mystery product that only existing Schtuckers™ collectors will want and only the people with a certain amount of disposable income will take a chance on. (Let's face it, people aren't shopping at this guy's store because they're loaded with cash. We're not talking about an upscale department store chain. We're talking about one that, quite honestly, has been struggling. It's been a tough economy for everyone lately.)

But if the only way I can get this guy to stock my Schtuckers™ is to use packaging he thinks works best, so be it. We'll give that a try but I'm gonna use all the real estate on that package to telegraph to my new consumer base what the fuck a Schtuckers™ is. I'm not just gonna show a sliver of it and make people imagine the rest. And I'm not gonna add something silly to my Schtuckers™ like a key ring in the hopes that this guy's customers will be more likely to buy my Star Wars Schtuckers™ key ring. I'm in the Schtuckers™ business, not the key ring business.

By the way, I happen to know that my existing Schtuckers™ collectors hate blind bags. It's not universal. There are a few who'll take my Schtuckers™ however they can get them but the majority of my end consumers want to know what they're buying. And since I enjoy a more intimate relationship with those end consumers, I dread that notion of letting them know that, while I'm excited to introduce a hot licensed property that's new to the Schtuckers™ brand, it'll be packaged in a way they despise and introduced with a store that's a little shaky. I know I've told these collectors in the past that they're just a sliver of everyone who buys my Schtuckers™ but telling them that a property they've wanted for a while is gonna be blind-bagged is not news I'd look forward to dropping. Sure, they'd have to deal with it but if this experiment failed to get more orders, they'd never let me hear the end of it.

The moral of the story being don't let licensed branding do all the work or buyers won't come back for more. Stand behind your Schtuckers™.



I think this was in reference to me downplaying Series 60's perception as some kind of global juggernaut just because Luke sold out. I would say that it was a success with Luke, absolutely. He ran brilliant promotions, he knows his customer base, and this series was made with a lot of love for his base, and this board in general. I would need to look at how it did overall, but we were comparing its performance to other Marvel assortments, which is something different. As far as blind bags and new retailers go, I stand by the idea that TMNT was a success with Kmart, or as much as it could have been. I do not know if it was a success in all markets, but it must have done well enough to keep going.

No one called it a "global juggernaut" and Luke wasn't the only one who sold out. It took more retailers than Luke alone to re-order enough of that series to warrant another production run.

And while you might perceive TMNT a success with Kmart, it doesn't appear to be a success for Kmart or they'd be ordering a second series, not just more of the first series, especially with the holiday season approaching.

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