Get a comfy chair and some coffee or tea for this one...
Okay, so these aren't "course correction" and clearly ARAH isn't selling well, but "TRYING these to see if it is Joe fatigue in general"? So if these super obscure characters from 50+ years ago don't sell well or don't make it past solicitation, it's because nobody wants anything GI Joe related? There is no GI Joe fatigue at the moment for the majority of the companies holding the license. This is a uniquely DST problem.
While Star Wars Black Series and Marvel Legends are struggling with fans at the new price point, GI Joe Classified is one of the best selling toy lines out right now. Hasbro just revealed like 12 new pre-orders last month while still waiting for previous solicitations to ship. (hint hint). While I don't have any, the Super7 Ultimates line has been generally well received and 3 additional waves have been solicited while the first wave just launched! (hint hint) Mezco has solicited 4 $100+ figures before even the first one has shipped. (hint hint) These lines have consumer confidence that "if I invest my money in this product and I like it, there is definitely going to be more product for me to buy down the road."
TRU died years ago and nothing is changing at DST. I'm not talking about getting new big box or online retailers to support the line, but the stale mentality about how product is supported, advertised and marketed. There's no creativity. No thinking outside the box. There is no congruity between lines for packaging or pricing. Are Minimates $30, $40, or $50? Are there 4 per pack? 5 per pack? 6 per pack? Single carded or box sets?
Looking at DST's own YouTube channel, I had to scroll back 8 months to even see a Minimates product video!
Of all the many DST/Gentle Giant Showcase emails I received this month, not a SINGLE one mentioned Minimates anywhere in the email so I never even bothered looking at the Showcase.
Apparently DST/Gentle Giant has the Indiana Jones license now? Guess what...no Minimates. Looking at the advertised brands on the DST website...Pacific Rim? No Minimates but D-Formz. Cobra Kai? Jem and the Holograms? Cthulhu? Mortal Kombat? The Crow? Avatar the Last Airbender? Invincible? John Wick? Green Hornet? Uncharted? Lord of the Rings?
The reason many fans are upset is because we know what is going to happen. We've seen it line after line after line. Instead of changing anything about the how the line is produced, supported, or marketed or trying anything new to improve sales, it will eventually be ignored and swept under the rug, forever flaunting what could have been in the Minimates Database archives. I believe the official response is something like "the line is on hold", but "never say never".
- Star Trek Legacy
- Walking Dead
- Nightmare Before Christmas
- Kingdom Hearts
- The Muppets
- Spongebob Squarepants
- TMNT* (this is the only example here that has actually been "revisited at a future date".)
- Marvel MCU Minimates
- Marvel Animated Minimates
There is a pattern here.
We all know what is going to happen.
It's currently happening to GI Joe. AEW is next. Then MMPR. Then Transformers. Marvel 616 is on life-support.
This is one of the longest running toy lines, oh right....2022 was the 20th Anniversary. What a celebration the line had.
Okay....rant over. Now for some cheer-leading.
Look at what Hasbro and Mattel have done with official crowd-funding via their own websites. Sure Hasbro has had some misses in the Star Wars and Marvel realm, but the HISS HasLab was funded almost immediately. I bought 5 because I am insane!
Since the fall of TRU and the immediate gut punch of years of COVID uncertainty, adult toy consumers have proven one thing, they are more than willing to get creative to work with companies to get the product out there that they want, more so if they have a healthy history of toy manufacturing. Capitalize on what DST does right. You have all of the means of production to make it happen, DST isn't a dude with an idea on Kickstarter trying to make a shitty Kill Bill rip-off. (It still stings...) Try it, see if it works. The word of mouth alone in the GI Joe community for a box set of the Original 13 Joes as Minimates would be insane. Price it at $100-$150 and see what happens. That's 4-6 Classified figures! 3 Super7 Ultimates! One Mezco One:12!
But don't cut corners, figure out a solution and include the backpacks. Make the box set sturdy and the figure cards re-closable with a slip out backing card. Make the unique weapons. Make the weird helmet attachments like Short Fuze and Flash's visors, Steeler's binocular-thingy, Breaker's headset. Give the figures helmet-less hair pieces. Use the correct color variations for each green shirt. Maybe it's time for Minimates arms to get "Swivel Arm Battle Grip", specifically for the Joe line to help connect with fans. Give Snake-Eyes his Timber, Mutt his Junkyard, Croc-Master his Fiona. None of the pets need articulation, just like the vintage line.
Imagine the possibilities of crowd-funded box sets of all the characters released each year of the 1980's series. If crowd-funding works, see if Hasbro would let you crowd-fund Minimates VAMPs and HISS Tanks. Maybe a Dragonfly, or Rattler, or Whale. Terrordrome! You could actually pull it off in Minimates scale and make it affordable in today's high-end collectibles markets. Offer a monthly payment plan option like Partial.ly or Affirm and you will bring in more customers willing to take the jump knowing it isn't hitting their wallet all at once.
Dream big with this license! Go all in and make GI Joe the Minimates flagship license and you will bring in new customers that may pick up other lines as well. Don't just let it wither away because of a rocky start.
[Zach - I speak purely out of frustration at the state of the brand. I have massive amounts of respect for you and what you have done for both the brand and my collection over the years. In January I purchased four of the recent box sets (TMNT/MMPR/Transformers/GI JOE) and sent them to a YouTube reviewer that I enjoy, in hopes he might do an unboxing, but I never heard anything back. I just messaged him to see if he plans on doing anything with them and will let you know. If he asks, can I give him your email?]