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Mattel Q&A For August 15, 2010 - Answers & Commentary (UPDATE)

Mattel: Jay Cochran - 2011.08.16
UPDATE: In regards to this first question, we are now being told "unofficially" that an official statement about Evil Lyn will be forthcoming from Mattel. When or if we get that statement we will be sure to pass it on to your all.

TNI: We have gotten a few readers asking about the BG Evil Lynn and why a new tunic wasn’t created for the figure. It was said on the Matty forums that this was a artistic decision made by the Four Horsemen even though they were given permission by Mattel to create new tooling for the figure. Especially since this is a subscription figure that many people don’t have the option of not buying, they are looking for a more detailed explanation why this decision was made. If it was a decision made by the Horsemen then they would like to hear directly from them why they went the route they did when so many people have been asking for a new female tooled body to be created and a more true looking 200x Evil Lynn figure?

Mattel: We will reach out to the Horsemen and see if we can get a more specific answer but as they are busy in NJ sculpting they are not here to answer our bi-weekly sessions. These sessions are for Mattel brand managers and designers to answer. The Horsemen are not exactly “on call”. But it was a design choice they and Terry made, not direction from management or anything.

TNI: We would like to note here that these questions were submitted several weeks ago which should have given Mattel plenty of time to get some kind of response from the Horsemen. When we first started getting emails about this from readers back in July, we tried to reach out to the Four Horsemen ourselves and never got a response back from them even though we have always gotten fast replies from them when it comes to questions about their own toy line. We once again reached out to the Horsemen yesterday to try and get a response one last time before going to print with this, still no response.

Now I will be the first to admit that I feel some of the public outcry over this figure seems a bit misplaced or overblown. The figure itself isn't a bad one. Even though Mattel may have said the Four Horsemen could make new tooling, it still seems likely to us if the money was used to do that, in-turn it would mean that money would have to be taken from someplace else or maybe the figure really just looks better this way. The Four Horsemen are certainly the best ones to make that call. The problem here isn't really the figure itself, but the way in which Mattel and the Horsemen (since Mattel has clearly put this in their lap publicly) has handled addressing the concerns of those who seem to be upset over the figure. The standard response, if you don't like it don't buy it, doesn't really apply here because this is a subscription figure and many people are locked into it. In my opinion I think Mattel could have done a much better job addressing these concerns instead of letting them fester and anger some folks like they have.

TNI: You announced a DCUC subscription service at SDCC where you said 6” figures wouldn’t be going away from retail altogether but you did seem to hint that the more fan-favorite or obscure characters would now be sold primarily online. Is that an accurate assessment and if so, how will you determine which characters go to retail and which are sold only online?

Mattel: There is a great audio interview on Actionfigureinsider.com done at SDCC with the whole DCU team that does a great job of answering all of these questions. Check it out on their site!

TNI: So Instead of taking the time to try and answer this question for the average 1.5 million readers that come to this network on a monthly basis, Mattel would rather have you search around for some audio podcast on another site for the answer. Even worse, the guy who runs that website posted a podcast just last week where he says and I quote - "That was messy too, I sat down and I talked with Mattel and I still don't know exactly what that means, but I don't get the sense it is what we have seen before." You can hear it for yourself here at about 27 minutes in.

So we went back to Mattel's Scott Neitlich and pointed this out saying if the guy who conducted the interview was still confused then perhaps Mattel should try and take some more time to give us all a better answer. After some back and fourth emails with Scott, the best answer we got was telling us we should try and set up a 30 - 60 minute interview with them at some place like New York Comic-Con. That would be fine, but that event isn't until October, and by then this whole thing will probably be moot.

Mattel has been repeatedly saying that the sales for this DC Subscription service haven't been stellar, threatening to pull the plug on the whole thing if people don't start ponying up their money. Maybe it's just me but if I was that concerned with trying to increase my sales for something, and I was given the opportunity to address 1.5 million potential and targeted customers, I think I might take a little more time and come up with something better than this, of course that is just me.

I want to make one final note. I am not in the habit of sending my readers to another competing site for information they should be able to find right here, but If I had honestly felt real answers were to be had in the interview on AFI, I would have sent you there. I will be the first to say that not every critique that gets leveled at Mattel is always fair, but this is just plain sloppy, and frankly I get tired of hearing Mattel complain about sales when they are unwilling to do the simplest of things to effectively advertise or promote these things. Mattel is the largest toy company in the world and to hear excuses like "Give them a break they are at least trying", or be told by some it's our fault cause we aren't willing to just pony up lots of money on these things during one of the toughest economic times our country has seen, well it's enough to make even the most level-headed collectors mad.

TNI: Will Mattel have an official involvement with the upcoming Power-Con convention for He-Man like Hasbro does with the Botcon and Joecon conventions, and will you be debuting any new products at that convention?

Mattel: We will be at the convention and will likely reveal some new product but we are not involved in the logistics of the show.

TNI: Will you be offering any exclusives at NYCC this year and if so can you reveal any of them to us at this time?

Mattel: Our traveling JLU 3 packs will be at NYCC just as they were at C2E2 and Wondercon. These will be the only items sold at the show.

TNI: Other than the Hot Wheels, there was nothing revealed at SDCC for Back To The Future. Are there any action figures planned for this license?

Mattel: Not at this time. We are always looking into possibilities but nothing is locked in now.

Let us know what you think. Do you think Mattel is handling the DC Subscription service well, are we being unfair to Mattel with our points made here? Let us know below. We also want to note that any profanity, name calling or other types of inappropriate comments will be deleted.

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