Q&A With Mattel

by Jay Cochran
April 15, 2009
TNI: I wanted to follow up with a question from the last Q&A about distribution problems with DCUC. When I was comparing DCIH with DCUC I was indicating that DCIH seem to get to shelves with no problems whereas DCUC do not. In a nutshell, why are you still having problems getting DCUC figures to shelves in large quantities? Is it because retailers just do not want to carry the larger scale figures anymore? There definitely seems to be a preference for the smaller, less expensive figures among retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and TRU based on what I am seeing on their shelves.

Mattel: We continue to ship figures in exactly the quantities ordered. If a retailer orders more, we will ship more. We can only ship as many units as a store orders. If you are not seeing your favorite figures in your local store, ask to talk to the toy aisle manager to order more!

TNI: Another follow up from the last Q&A is about what you are doing to ensure collectors are getting the figures they want online. What we were looking for is an explanation on how you determine what actual characters are offered for these online exclusives. If the continued success of these lines are based on sales, I would think it would be essential to know what those targeted consumers want to buy. Can you walk us through the steps – for instance, how did you choose the characters of Ultraman and Alex Luthor to be the figures for your next DCUC 2-pack Mattycollector exclusive?

Mattel: We want to focus on figures in the online offerings that are new and different and may not work as well at retail while still having enough bang for your buck. Ultraman and Alex Luthor were ideal candidates as they are awesome variants of Superman and Lex Luthor that will appeal more to the collector vs. the mom and kid purchase needed at retail.

TNI: My last follow-up question from the previous Q&A is in regards to what you are doing to get the word out as far as advertising for these lines. You said you wanted Mattycollector to be a premiere place for people to come and buy your collectibles and mentioned you were running some magazine ads in the toy trades and DC Comics. Is that all you are doing? I ask because every study I’ve seen in recent days indicates that sales for print publications are declining and that more and more people are turning to the Internet for their information. Is Mattel planning to do an extensive advertising campaign with the online media as well as magazines and comics? You mentioned your page on Facebook, but again that requires advertising to make people aware of it. I would be interested to learn if Mattel plans to do more than word of mouth/viral advertising online or if they will really be putting resources to promote these things so that they can reach the largest number of collectors out there?

Mattel: We have lots of new promotional plans in the works!

GHOSTBUSTERS Classics Dr. Egon Spengler with SlimerTNI: Has a release date for the Ghostbusters figures been determined yet, and how much will the figures cost on Mattycollector.com?

Mattel: The first figure will be Egon and Slimer at SDCC. He will be $20.00 with new 6” figures ideally every other month at the same price point.

TNI: Who is responsible for writing the new bios on the back of the MOTUC cardbacks, and how did the decision come about to give the Hordak character the name Hector?

Mattel: The bios for the card backs are written by Mattel staff members who are also HUGE MOTU fans. We have not yet revealed Hordak’s card bio but would be happy to comment on it after we reveal it!

TNI: From Reader Leon34: The DCUC Wal-Mart exclusive Metallo wave never showed up in my town. I was lucky enough to snag a Riddler on a trip but could not find any of the others. Will these figures ever show up again or be mixed in with some of the greatest hits waves? These figures are unaffordable on eBay. If so, any chance the Eradicator's visor will be re-tooled with the clear plastic?

Mattel: Doing the Wal-Mart wave was an essential part of our overall marketing strategy to get DCUC figures to Wal-Mart in general. At the moment, no these figures will not be reissued. However, Wal-Mart has noted increased fan demand and will be increasing the number of stores carrying DCUC in the future! In the end it is our retailers who control how much of any particular product they carry, which includes exclusives or customized items.

TNI: From reader Da Top Cat: Is there some way Mattel could offer a case with the entire DCUC wave of figures to online retailers. There are 10 figures in a case (I think) and 9 figures a wave when you include the 2 variants. So a case with all nine of the figures, plus a repacked figure with stand or whatever could be offered through sites like Entertainment Earth. I would gladly buy something like that rather than resort to Ebay or driving around in vain to stores that just have Wonder Woman figures.

Mattel: This is something we are looking into for 2010. We are currently offering all of the figures individually as “open stock” so that all online retailers can make their own case packs.

TNI: You mentioned before that Battlecat would be coming to the MOTUC line. Will something like this cost the same as the other MOTUC figures or will it be more; if more can you tell us how much so people can plan to save up for this one?

Mattel: We are still looking at the price point, but yes, Battlecat will be larger than a regular figure and will be higher priced.

TNI: It was recently announced that an old Mattel toy line was going to get the big screen treatment with Matt Mason. Any plans for a new toy line you can tell us about?

Mattel: Nothing we can announce quite yet, but Matty is a big fan of Major Matt Mason…

MOTUC Tri-KlpsTNI: The knives on the back of the new MOTUC Tri-Klops figure is a nice addition. Who or how are these kinds of additions made? Do the Four Horsemen get to make those decisions and do they design all the figures, or do they just sculpt them and someone else at Mattel does the designs?

Mattel: We have a very close relationship with the Horsemen, and we discuss a lot of the figure details back and forth. In the end, we leave it to them to make these types of decisions. In the case of the knives, this was not something asked for by Mattel but was an awesome surprise the Horsemen included when we saw the final sculpt.



Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
RobbieDigital - 2009-04-16 @ 3:39 pm
Gh... Read More
MrBear - 2009-04-16 @ 3:29 pm
I just saw over on t... Read More
Jeff - 2009-04-16 @ 2:55 pm

I just saw over on the Mattel Facebook page that Mattel customer service reps are telling people outside the United States their orders for Merman were canceled because the US customers got priority over the International ones and that they should try again next week when the other shipment of fi... Read More

buzz86us - 2009-04-16 @ 2:13 pm

I'd really like wave 7 of dcuc if it didn't take forever to complete its virtually a retail blackout for dcuc7 (they take months to come in and days to sell at both TRU and Wal-Mart) most of what I did find is coming from the online stores like TRU.com and Amazon. The others are intent on overcha... Read More

alkatrazzz - 2009-04-16 @ 4:03 am

Until they resolve the issues with GLEEK or someone promises me that they would get me the set with gleek, i'm going to hate them...

Rollo Tomassi - 2009-04-16 @ 3:29 am

Ghostbusters is going to have a short life anyway. Like the Indiana Jones line, it doesn't lend itself to sustainability. You get the four main guys....and then what? The William Atherton character? The Mayor? The blonde student from the beginning of the film? All highly sought after figures... Read More

RobbieDigital - 2009-04-16 @ 3:04 am

I know this is the MOTU forum.....but I'm really nervous about the Ghostbusters stuff......its been so long that they have had any type of merchandise for people of that fan base to buy. Plus, action figure collectors like myself that are big fans of the movie that want to get their hands on this... Read More

Rollo Tomassi - 2009-04-16 @ 2:16 am
And so, to sum up, "it's the retailers fault".
SlushyFrog - 2009-04-16 @ 1:23 am

I'm still kinda confused about the Ghostbusters exclusive. Is that going to be offered online at or around the same time as SDCC?

HissCommander - 2009-04-16 @ 12:43 am

you gotta give to TNI, they sure dont disappoint when it comes to Q&A's.

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