Killin teh lien or why Toyguru sends mixed messages.
I've been meaning to take the time out to address the recent controversy with the whole 2013 MOTUC sub fiasco and the major factor behind it: Toyguru
TG goes on and on about how he approves things with bosses, things can't be changed, we can't reveal the line ahead of time etc. and I've finally heard enough of it and finally I've decided to speak up.
1. The lineup CAN be revealed a year in advance, Hasbro has done it before with the G.I. Joe club as have other direct market lines. The idea that there is mystery is one of the things that TG falsely believes creates demand which is true to a very minimal extent- for most people however this creates frustration and uncertainty.
2. TG doing what his bosses tell him to do and having to approve certain figures is a bit of a cop out. Playaction Marketing is his division and he's in charge of mandates from budget to lineup to logistic issues. Where TG bosses come in is when it involves securing money outside of the MOTUC budget, promotional issues on a larger scale with mass media implications, as well as canceling or creating new product/media. When TG goes on record and says his bosses won't let Illumina in the line, HE IS 100% FULL OF HOT AIR. Recently I contacted Tim Kilpin and he was extremely confused by the myriad of complaints and issues plaguing the customer base and the reaction was explained as such: HE SIMPLY DIDN'T KNOW THESE ISSUES EXISTED.
Toyguru is the brand manager for a reason: he mandates and selects what he feels is best for the property and as long as it doesn't involve higher ups in a legal issue or promotional issue IT IS 100% UP TO HIM WHAT HE DOES WITH THE BUDGET. Approval decisions only go to his bosses when an item is either, 1. Above a certain tier of pricing "Granamyr" would fall under this instance as would items such as Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, and 2. If a decision he makes crosses into another brands territory, legal implications, or an issue with a brand license. Other than his duties to report finances and quarterly earning reports and demographic studies, Toyguru makes 100% of the decisions.. PERIOD. The Four Horsemen are very regularly asked to make suggestions and input on the line but the decision ultimately rests with TG. (I'm sure anyone at 4H will be glad to confirm this), which somewhat bothers me when TG passes the buck to them on mistakes such as the attempted snafu on Stinkor until fans called him out on it.
3. The notion that product can't be changed is 100% false as well. Although initial work on prototypes STARTS 6-10 months in advance, there is always time to change something up until around 2-3 months assembly time and this exists in the industry as a norm to prevent safety hazards and last minute changes in legal issues and clearance. Example: Netossa comes out in January 2013 and can't be altered yet Frosta coming out in October now CAN have her deco changed- it's just an untrue falsehood. Now if we're talking about tooling issues then yes there is a much more narrow margin for correction but as of now we are still about 5 months and change from January and there is more than enough time to tool a crown for Netossa or modify the pliability of her cape.
These are all issues causing tension by Toyguru whom I don't think has the intention of lying in any way, but more so seems to be incredibly flustered and at a loss for how to deal with the numerous issues that are on his plate both at Mattel and from consumers.
One last note: The recent revamp of MOTU through DC is doing INCREDIBLY HIGH SALES, the digital editions are selling like hotcakes and clinging to the charts weeks after release. Next week, people will hear the first news about the director for the MOTU movie, and everyone already knows about the incoming retail products from companies such as Icon Heroes, Funko, Incase, and several other license holders. Does this sound like a property that is in danger of losing it's funding?
Thanks for listening to my brief soap box rant and have a good day!
Former editorial graphic design freelance on Toyfare (yes I'm the one who used to have to edit the MOTUC ads in Toyfare).