UA-100768763-1 Jump to content

Recommended Posts

You have some very interesting points and it sounds like you have some insight into how the process works.So Ill respond.

A lot of this supports everything I already said. Despite the insight you may have you still seem to be drawing conclusions on a few factors without leaving room for numerous variables. You cant assume That any sales conversations went that way, you can't assume that every retailer DST pitched too responded that way. We don't and likely will not get detailed accounts of these meetings. Retailers/buyers are trying whatever they can to make some money. There is plenty of blind boxed crap that sells well here and now, and Japan has been doing it for a long time with success. Buyers also come with their own personal preferences and may not like minimates, or maybe they want them in bags by the registers and not in the toy aisles since their layout is full of toys from a company with more money than DST. Its all about Variables and it is what it is.

I might not like blind bags, but I sure like that Im getting predator mates, NBXM, more ninja turtles, etc. I would much rather have a hard time finding what I want than to not have the option to ever have it because they couldnt afford to get made any other way.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 85
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

From a collectors point of view, I understand that you'd want to get something rather than nothing.

But from a collector's and a business perspective, I'd rather see the ordering continue. And that's not what's happening at Kmart and GameStop from what we've been told.

It's nice that Kmart wanted a little more of the first series but the fact that they didn't order the second series tells me something went wrong. The Turtles brand continues to be strong so I doubt that's it. People still use keys so those key rings are a valuable commodity. If it's the product itself then I'm sure Kmart or DST's customer service would have heard about it. (Like saying there's a mutagen Raphael when it's actually a mutagen Michelangelo.) It's not the margin or price point. Those things are determined up front. So again, it's gotta be the packaging that failed to let new consumers know what a Minimates is.

And GameStop is just a flat-out failure. I doubt it's the brand. It may have been the execution but, again, the uninitiated had little idea what these things looked like thanks to the blind packaging and tiny amount of real estate used to depict the characters.

So yeah, if DST said, "Hey, we're gonna offer more DC Comics Minimates but they're gonna be blind-bagged because that's the way Walmart wants them," I'd bite the bullet and do what I had to in order to acquire them. But don't try to convince me that blind packaging is a great way to introduce the Minimates brand to end consumers who have no idea what one looks like. It might get the first assortment into a major retailer but it certainly won't guarantee repeat orders.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gamestop, comes down to gamer's and toy collectors not being synonymous. I had a friend who bought halo minimates because I had always talked about minimates (he didn't really care for them) and they were way cheaper than mcfarlane halo or mega block sets.

Gamer's who are toy collectors as well are way way less common than one might think. The whole reason gamestop carries toys is for young gamer's who come in with their parents and impulse buy stuff for their kids. Which is exactly why they have veered to cheaper, blinder collectibles. Of course they do have some statues in some gamestops now so clearly they are still trying to figure out collector mentality in a gamer environment.

I think the bags should have had a mate pictured like the back of 2 packs, or at least on the box the bags were in like the blind lego boxes, but they didn't. Zach said they are changing this for wave 3 of tmnt and hopefully they can make this adjustment for ALL future bags so we can all rest easy on that. Whats done is done, as more companies start using the blind format, more companies adjust to the learning curve involved in their sales. It will get better buddy.

Edited for atrocious spelling

Edited by arnim zola
Link to post
Share on other sites

It does seem like Gamestop is in an experimantal phase when it comes to collectibles. Obviously they're most comfortable with brands they already sell (like Mass Effect) but if the packaging doesn't tell people what a Minimates is, then you're only appealing to a niche of a niche market. Which from DST's short-term POV is awesome. It's incremental sales. But from DST's long-term POV, it's yet another loss for the Minimates brand because GameStop is unlikely to return to a product that had disappointing sell-through. (Unless DST can convince them it was the packaging that contributed largely to the failure, but that doesn't seem to be a battle they want to fight.)

So yes, obviously the bags need to do a better job of depicting what product MIGHT be in the package. At least with baseball cards people know what a baseball card is. Over a decade later and Minimates is still brand building.

In all fairness, the TMNT package does say "figure" and "mini-figure" in the description but it also says "Minimates" three times on the front alone. The Mass Effect packaging only says "Minimates" twice and "figure" once. A full shot of those figures would probably help.

Link to post
Share on other sites

pack1270f_lg.jpgpack1270bk_lg.jpg

(Hail Ivan)

Looking at a Mass Effect bag in front of me, I only see "Minimates" twice -- in the Minimates logo, and in the Minimates website. That's branding.

We also say:

- 2" figure inside!

- Swap Parts and Accessories!

- Collect Them All!

On the back, we show head shots of everybody, and they are clearly squared off. You can feel what is in the bag, how big it is, and that it is flexible. If people know what a Lego block figure is -- and everybody who sees a Minimate at SDCC knows what a Lego is, I can hear them talking -- then I think they know what they're looking at once they pick one up.

I think we COULD have showed them full-body on the back, but I no longer think that there would have been a huge difference. I think showing them on the front would have worked well, but I honestly do not know if that would make a Mass Effect fan MORE likely to pick a bag up, or less. And I do not know the details of the sale, but if a retailer wants a product a certain way, it may not really be open to discussion, nor is that discussion likely to change later. Pegs may be limited, but a flat surface for a display box may be plentiful. If that is still the case after a clearance, then "our product would work better on a peg" therefore becomes "our product would work better than what you currently HAVE on your pegs," which is a whole different conversation. Retailers work with what space they have.

ME may still live at specialty -- we have something in the works, but we'll see. Maybe we'll get them back into GameStop, but we have other products for them, and other retailers taking Minimates that maybe a better fit. I do not think this is a failure that somehow needs to be undone for the survival of the brand.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Has there been a licensing hurdle that kept a full wave pic from being shown on the back of any of the bags or the boxes? Either way I look forward to seeing how tmnt 3 turns out and how the bags progress from this point forward.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Why do the figures look so well done on the back of the packaging yet turned out to be nothing close to what we got? Garrus' head shape, and the overall coloring on just about everyone is way better on the back of the package but clearly did not translate to the figures themselves.

Link to post
Share on other sites

pack1270f_lg.jpgpack1270bk_lg.jpg

(Hail Ivan)

Looking at a Mass Effect bag in front of me, I only see "Minimates" twice -- in the Minimates logo, and in the Minimates website.

I'm glad you agree with me.

On the back, we show head shots of everybody, and they are clearly squared off. You can feel what is in the bag, how big it is, and that it is flexible. If people know what a Lego block figure is -- and everybody who sees a Minimate at SDCC knows what a Lego is, I can hear them talking -- then I think they know what they're looking at once they pick one up.

So now we're talking about marketing to gamers who buy collectibles and went to DST's booth at SDCC. That's a niche of a niche of a niche market. I have to wonder how many ME Minimates DST realistically expected to sell through with that kind of narrow demographic in mind.

I think we COULD have showed them full-body on the back, but I no longer think that there would have been a huge difference. I think showing them on the front would have worked well, but I honestly do not know if that would make a Mass Effect fan MORE likely to pick a bag up, or less. And I do not know the details of the sale, but if a retailer wants a product a certain way, it may not really be open to discussion, nor is that discussion likely to change later. Pegs may be limited, but a flat surface for a display box may be plentiful. If that is still the case after a clearance, then "our product would work better on a peg" therefore becomes "our product would work better than what you currently HAVE on your pegs," which is a whole different conversation. Retailers work with what space they have.

That reminds me; if the retailer has space for a counter display, then DST has a lot more real estate to show the product. I'll give DST the benefit of the doubt and guess that the reason control art was used instead of photography was to get the packaging approved quicker.

ME may still live at specialty -- we have something in the works, but we'll see. Maybe we'll get them back into GameStop, but we have other products for them, and other retailers taking Minimates that maybe a better fit. I do not think this is a failure that somehow needs to be undone for the survival of the brand.

The brand would have survived just fine without GameStop. As I understood it, the point of getting Minimates into a new retailer – GameStop or Kmart – was to grow the brand. And it's harder to grow a brand when end consumers don't know what the product is (even if they're gamers who buy collectibles and have been to DST's booth at SDCC.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, so at this point I think your grievances are obvious as you have repeated them quite a few times. So what kind of response are you looking to get here exactly? I don't understand why you are repeating yourself when its already been addressed that changes are on the way. This is more aggressive than I'm used to seeing you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You should have seen me on the Art Asylum boards before the 2" figures were made. This is nothing. ;)

I guess the only kind of response I'm looking for is one that makes sense. I'd elaborate but, you know, I'd end up repeating myself.

CA07S7EF.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites
I’ve just discovered this thread and I love it. I’ve made no secret of my disdain for blind bags and still can’t wrap my brain around the marketing for it with minimates. I’ve been in advertising/design/marketing for over 25 years and I’m not seeing it. But my only comment here is this. When Gamestop clearanced out the ME minimates and I went searching for them, more than once I was met with “What are those?” or “I didn’t know what those were.” by the employee at the register checkout.
If the packaging doesn’t sell it, the gimmick(blind bags) doesn’t hook someone, and the face-to-face doesn’t know it, then it doesn’t move. Maybe the window boxed single figure model would have worked better, but without me knowing the marketing data, that’s just a face-value opinion at this point.
Link to post
Share on other sites

I know there are co-branding restrictions regarding licensed branding. For example, the packaging can't have the Minimates logo appear larger than the licensed property's logo in many cases. And unless you're an established brand, some licensors won't allow co-branding at all.

There are ways around it, with displayers, for instance. But the displayer would have to hold multiple licenses as well to justify not branding it with a specific trade dress.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at a Mass Effect bag in front of me, I only see "Minimates" twice -- in the Minimates logo, and in the Minimates website.

I'm glad you agree with me.

I will admit that I misread your point, which was that TMNT was BETTER for saying Minimates three times. I was taking that number as overkill, but you seem to think that saying it more makes people know what a Minimate is more, which I'm not 100% sure is true. In that case, I guess we are improving our branding!

On the back, we show head shots of everybody, and they are clearly squared off. You can feel what is in the bag, how big it is, and that it is flexible. If people know what a Lego block figure is -- and everybody who sees a Minimate at SDCC knows what a Lego is, I can hear them talking -- then I think they know what they're looking at once they pick one up.

So now we're talking about marketing to gamers who buy collectibles and went to DST's booth at SDCC. That's a niche of a niche of a niche market. I have to wonder how many ME Minimates DST realistically expected to sell through with that kind of narrow demographic in mind.

My point was that block figures (like Legos) are a fairly common and recognizable thing at this point, to THE WORLD -- it's not like we're trying to sell a foreign object, like a schmucker or schmacker or whatever. Even gamers who AREN'T collectors were probably once kids, or know kids, and they definitely know what Legos are, like most people. And there are as many Lego-age kids in any given GameStop as there are "gamers" -- games may be all-powerful, but kids still have other toys. (And I only mentioned cons because that is where I meet the largest number and widest variety of customers at once, from moms to kids to granddads to gamers, and many of the people who come through our booth at cons automatically think -- and uncontrollably verbalize -- "Lego" when they see a Minimate.)

And I'm not saying the success of our brand depends on the marketing of another, stronger brand, but we don't exist in a vacuum. In fact, it sounds like you think we should basically emulate Lego bag packaging, which... isn't a terrible idea, although cramming eight detailed Minimates together on the front of a bag with the logo might not be as successful as it is with the more simple Legos.

I think we COULD have showed them full-body on the back, but I no longer think that there would have been a huge difference. I think showing them on the front would have worked well, but I honestly do not know if that would make a Mass Effect fan MORE likely to pick a bag up, or less. And I do not know the details of the sale, but if a retailer wants a product a certain way, it may not really be open to discussion, nor is that discussion likely to change later. Pegs may be limited, but a flat surface for a display box may be plentiful. If that is still the case after a clearance, then "our product would work better on a peg" therefore becomes "our product would work better than what you currently HAVE on your pegs," which is a whole different conversation. Retailers work with what space they have.

That reminds me; if the retailer has space for a counter display, then DST has a lot more real estate to show the product. I'll give DST the benefit of the doubt and guess that the reason control art was used instead of photography was to get the packaging approved quicker.

No, it's still one picture for them to look at, and all of the toys are approved by the time we do packaging. I think our plan was similar to the bags, with highly recognizable character art and the Minimates brand logo front and center. If they want to see what the item is, they pick up a bag, and then we go back to your original argument about imagery. Which I've already said is not invalid, I just don't think it played as big a factor as you say.

But then, I'm not even sure what you're arguing for any more, or what you want me to say. I thought this thread was about how Blind Bags were bad, but it's really about how they weren't done RIGHT. Do you want me to say that we've already put toy pics on future counter displays? Because we have. AND we've put full body shots on the bags. All before this thread ever happened. Progress?

ME may still live at specialty -- we have something in the works, but we'll see. Maybe we'll get them back into GameStop, but we have other products for them, and other retailers taking Minimates that maybe a better fit. I do not think this is a failure that somehow needs to be undone for the survival of the brand.

The brand would have survived just fine without GameStop. As I understood it, the point of getting Minimates into a new retailer – GameStop or Kmart – was to grow the brand. And it's harder to grow a brand when end consumers don't know what the product is (even if they're gamers who buy collectibles and have been to DST's booth at SDCC.)

Growing the brand and growing the market are two different things. We may not sell more Mass Effect Minimates at GameStop, at least not right away, but we got 18 or more Minimates into a thousand locations across the country, and at one point people everywhere were able to get some great Minimates for a dollar. (Keep in mind, I have given away a thousand Minimates at one convention for free.) And when we offer more through comic shops, I'm sure a percentage of that customer base will be interested in tracking them down. It may even benefit comic shops in the long run.

Obviously it would have been nice to sell a Series 2 into GameStop, but at least we tried. We could have done nothing: not gone after a big game license, not gone after a big new retailer, not tried out a new way of selling Minimates, and not made a really cool set of figures. These just happened to be our first blind bags ever. I'm sure everyone here has not always done everything right the first time.

The blind bags idea is not over, we're still in GameStop with other categories, and we have new retailers on board. Onward and upward.

Edited by DSTZach
Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you want me to say that we've already put toy pics on future counter displays? Because we have. AND we've put full body shots on the bags. All before this thread ever happened. Progress?

That's a start but you may want to doublecheck when this thread was started. ;)

I know block figures aren't new but I'm not even convinced the notion of a block figure was conveyed on these blind bags. Obviously if you can see the product, whether it's a full photograph or a window, it's obvious what DST is trying to sell.

By all means, if DST is convinced that blind bags were successful for Kmart and GameStop, then it should be pretty easy to talk them into a followup series, especially with improved graphics.

Obviously I'm interested in seeing what progress is made. While I'm not a fan of blind bags at all, I like my Minimates. I'm just flabbergasted by some of the decisions being made to promote them (like using portraits of control art instead of full body shots of approved figures). Even if I don't agree I'd like to understand.

My biggest takeaway from this thread is that Zach has given away a thousand Minimates at a single convention for free. Clearly I need to start attending conventions. I don't suppose DST will be at BronyCon this weekend. biggrin.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't understand our thinking by now, PL, I honestly don't know how else to say it.

I think I qualified my definitions of "success" sufficiently, as well. And sales has pursued all avenues open to them, so if a chain is not taking something, it is not because an "easy" argument was not made.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On the topic of copying legos working bag formula, has any discussion been had about a little paper insert for the bags? Even the blind Nintendo bags from knex 's include an insert. As a kid I LOVED looking at pics of toys I wanted.

Also since I've not mentioned it before, I'm not a fan of how big the bags are at the moment. The Lego bags are pretty good for that size figure, but a little hard to feel if the fig has a lot of parts. For mass effect and the avengers bags (especially the avengers) since there were a Lot of simple figs that were light on the accessories I felt like there was too much empty space inside. I also wish the display boxes had a lid that you told back like other display boxes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A smaller bag means less real estate on the packaging to showcase what's inside, and it's tight enough as it is. There are those who think were not showing and saying enough already.

The old counter displays had an upright component because they were pretty small, and the single boxes had even LESS real estate to showcase the product. It's really only a convenience of design that the upright doubled as a lid. With these larger counter displays, and larger package fronts, I think that the perception is they're not necessary, and might even be too tall.

Also, I'd be curious to know how many people are opening a case, opening the figures in the bags, and them putting them back into that display for storage. I could see that with the boxed figures, but...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, I'd be curious to know how many people are opening a case, opening the figures in the bags, and them putting them back into that display for storage. I could see that with the boxed figures, but...

That's what I've done with mine for easy storage. They are snuggled right back into the display case/box.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Im trying to collect at least one of the display boxes, and enough bags for the set of figs at the least. I have all 3 blind boxes so far, ME, TMNT, and AOU and all of them are filled with a ridiculous amount of blind bags. And while I would like the bags smaller, I also really love consistency. So if the bags and display cases stay the same size and shape for now I would be fine with that.

I haven't tried folding one flat yet which would work for storage. I suppose if I did I can flatten my bags together and store them in a ziplock bag. But explaining why im keeping trash and hoarding it will be my next problem...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...