Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mattel's messed-up business plan

I don't collect Mattel's online exclusive Masters of the Universe Classics line, primarily because I don't have the money ($20 a figure plus shipping???) and I'm largely content with my 2002 series figures. Still, there's a few I'd like to get--that is, if Mattel didn't so badly manage the line.

If you unawares, last week Trap-Jaw and Battle Cat went on sale. The former sold out in less than ten minutes, and the latter went not long after that. Furthermore, even people who signed into the website right when the items were available ran into page loading problems, costing them figures even if they put them in their online ordering cart. The whole event was a debacle of epic proportions that has had reverberations through the collecting community since, so much so Mattel has had to issue a press release to address the situation. Now, it's great that they acknowledged that there were problems and have indicated that they will make more Trap-Jaw and Battle Cat figures, but one paragraph jumped out at me as quite baffling:

For Adora and Trap Jaw the first two 2010 figures, we did not really have a baseline of what the demand would be above and beyond the 2010 subscription. We sold way more subscriptions in 2010 vs. 2009, so we had to be very careful not to over produce beyond what the demand would be above the subscribers. This is why we produced only a small amount beyond the subscription to start off (especially knowing if we sold out we would and will go back into production for a second run of popular sold out figs!).

So wait, let me get this straight: it never occured to Mattel that there might be more than a few people who didn't purchase the year-long subscription to buy every single figure coming out in a 12-month period? Mattel did not consider that people might not have gotten a subscription because either A). they couldn't afford it, or B). they simply didn't want every figure?


  1. Thanks for the info. I think some of these people who order maybe contribute to the secondary market later.

    This direction is hurting themselves and the toy collector. I wonder how it going to last.

  2. They need to go from ten quantity to two. ANd somehow let everyone buy at the same time.

  3. What I also want to know is why buyers have to wait for a specifically-timed re-release in the fall instead of Mattel replenishing the online stock as soon as they can get more made. It's like Mattel is deathly afraid if they don't sell out of stock in less than a week, which is a baffling way to sell exclusive toys through an online retailer. Imagine if Toys R Us or Wal-Mart worked that way.