Report by Phillip Donnelly
Hasbro was gracious enough to allow G.I. Joe fan websites some time to talk with their own Derryl DePriest about G.I. Joe on Friday morning during the 2012 San Diego Comic Con International. Mr. DePriest is Hasbro's
Vice President of Global Brand Management.
Read along to see what's up! We asked the questions, and got some answers - paraphrased below.
Will wave 1 Retaliation figures be restocked next year?
The toys that went out on shelves is only part of what we produced for wave 1, so when the Retaliation toys come out next year, wave 1 and wave 2 will be out on shelves.
What's the status of the Dollar General figures?
We heard the fans loud and clear on this one. The team in charge actually misunderstood the rules on this one. When told no new figures, they assumed no new parts could be used. Instead, they put out new figures using existing parts. They're great figures, and we're glad the fans like them. We'll be working hard to try and increase their distribution, through online retailers is possible. This will go for the repaint wave as well.
A lot of the Rise of Cobra cancelled items got out in some for - Ross, PoC repaints, etc. Is this standard practice, or a special case because it was a movie line?
When we launch a movie line, it's all about setting expectations. So we work with retailers on how big we think the line will be, and base all of our wave planning according to that. When the first wave doesn't sell to those expectations, it creates a lot of havoc for the rest of the line. That means the subsequent waves can't get out. The inevitability is when make those waves, the only way to go if the mass retail can't handle them, is to clearance them out. We billed the product; otherwise we have to scrap it. So we clearance it out through willing retailers - good retailers - but that goes into an alternate distribution channel.
So I think your question really has two parts: this movie is all about going in with the right size expectations, and trying to get as much variety up front as possible so waves at the back end aren't as risk. So I think this time we've really got the right expectations in line. In fact, we think the movie will leave the community hungry - you know, we'd rather err on the side of shipping short than going long to make sure those future waves come out.
And it actually helps us with the movie coming in March of 2013 because we have more of the year to work with, and presumably we have a DVD coming out in the fall [of that year], so it means that after we see how we're doing, we can make better plans accordingly. We can plan more of the year, and we've got more months to read and react to what's going on in retail and get our mix right.
Retaliation didn't seem to have as large a licensing presence as Rise of Cobra did. Will the move of the movie to a less crowded field help with that? Will we see a Burger king toy line? 7-Eleven?
You're right, Retaliation had a much narrower promotional partner range, because the movie was greenlit really late in the normal planning cycle. You'll notice our first wave of figures don't match what's coming in the movie, it's because we had to "cut steel" before the movie reference was locked down - there's no way we could make our figures otherwise and get them to retail. So it was very late for us, and that pushes it late on promotion partners. And what we call the "quick serve" partners, the Burger Kings, McDonald's of the world, they have extremely long lead times. Now they're starting to work on 2014, for example. So the moving the movie up didn't help because there's still not enough time for them to react for the big promotion partners. It does open up some other ones that didn't exist to us, folks who can react on a shorter time frame. But usually a lot of the biggest ones are already locked down. So we need to be planning the sequel now!
A few rapid-fire things - will we get an update on Battle Corps Duke?
A newer version of Battle Corps Duke.... Is that what fans want to see?
I'd like to see it! What about Battle Corps Beachhead?
I like him, too.
People want more Zarana - you could put another one in a DIC deco.
That's an interesting idea! Would folks want to see a DIC multi-pack at some point? Maybe if we do another Dreadnok pack.
In a perfect, hypothetical world, are there any vehicles you'd like to redo, like last year's Sky Striker?
An old vehicle that we made new molds for? I'd like to do the Terror Drome, but make the interior modular, or make it expandable by being able to add another floor! Maybe the WHALE, too.
There was a rumor earlier this year about a possible New York Comic Con exclusive. Is that happening?
No, we won't be at New York this year.
So there you have it, straight from the floor of the Exhibit Hall!
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