Founder of HWCM

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mattel marketing strategy, need some improvement‏

Hi cpyeo,

Saw your post bout the latest wave to hit Jusco and I'm still disappointed that Mattel did not do their homework, again.

I believe Mattel has some sort of sales strategy for all its products, be it Barbie dolls and Hot Wheel cars. I also believe that they want to move stock as fast as possible to minimize floating stock and incur immediate profits. Due to the huge market for Hot Wheels they are capable of mass producing huge quantities of stock very cheaply and as fast as possible. Whether their manufacturing process is ethical to the workers is another story (I have read horror stories bout toy production lines in China).

Anyway back to Hot Wheels sold in M'sia, I dun seem to understand why would Mattel make a well sought after car a rare car that comes 1 per case. It is not even a T-hunt or a chase figure! It is like any regular cars to be sold on the aisle.

You see, the only reason why any company would want a figure to be rare is to make the customers purchase alot of stock. You got to buy cases or lots of items, cars in this case, to get what you want. This is true for products like Magic the gathering, Mechwarrior collectible minitures game (do not ask me how much I have spent :P), Star wars minitures game, Pokemon trading card game etc. Companies involved are Wizkids and the all to famous Wizards of the Coast. However thier business strategy is very very different.

Take for example Mechwarrior by Wizkids. To get figures you buy a booster from the shop. Inside the booster there are 2 infantry, 1 vehicle and 1 mech. There is 100% no indication on what the contents are inside until you buy the booster. To get what you want is sheer luck or some inside source at the store. In fact, in 1 case of mechwarrior there are 48 boosters, whereby out of 48 boosters maybe 1 has a chase figure, 6 more has rares and so on. So to increase your chances to get the stuff you want, either you buy an entire case or go to ebay looking for ppl who have found them by sheer luck or have bought several cases.

Sure Mattel wants to have chase and rare cars, but they forgot one thing where Wizkids and Wizards of the Coast excel at; the cars can be seen and chosen instead of buying a "booster" and seeing if you strike. So where a store can still sell boosters even though a rare figure has been found since they could be more hidden. In Mattel's Hot wheel case, once the T-hunt or rare car is taken from the lot, no one will buy all the ugly cars that can be seen.

Let's turn the tables around now. Mattel sell Hot Wheel cars in sealed boxes. You won't know what's in them until you open them. Chances are the cars (even the most ugly ones) will move since ALOT of people will keep on trying thier luck to see if they strike a T-hunt or rare car.

I'm not asking Mattel to be like Wizkids or Wizards of the Coast. You need extremely deep pockets to sustain hobbies made by those 2 companies and I'm sure the fanbase will riot if they do.

What I'm asking is that Mattel make the cars we customers want. I'll give you an example from your competitor (or maybe Arch nemesis) Hasbro.

A long time ago, a short while after the Transformers movie (that time Mattel went through some tough times), there were a ridiculous demand for a figure representing a key charactor in the movie. I am talking about Bumblebee Concept Camaro 2008 aka BB08. At one time it was said that striking 4D was easier compared to finding him at major toy stores. The hardest to find was the Deluxe movie version, followed by the Ultimate version (UBB). So what did Hasbro M'sia respond?

They flooded the market with Bumblebees. At one time there were so many Bumblebee 2-pack that if you bought one at a scalper's price you would CRY. Even now the super rare Ultimate Bumblebee can be seen in TRU. Same thing happened for Optimus Prime (regret buying him too soon, should have waited a while longer), Ironhide (regret even more). Of course in the case of Transformers, the lack of supply was caused by several factors like weak movie related sales of of toys (spiderman 3 is the culprit).

But for Hot wheels, it is different. You know what will sell well, why make it rare? Does Mattel make profit from the secondary market? Make you customers enjoy "the thrill of the hunt"? I did it once for Transformers, alot of times for Mechwarrior, but grew tired of it. Not to mention the time lost, the amount of money wasted, the agony of not finding the stuff you want. Sure they are some who would go to 40-50 7-11's to search for a T-hunt, but those are the die-hard collectors. The rest of us just want to get the stuff we want as easy and as painless as possible.

It surprises me that Hot Wheels is rated for 5 and over. To hunt down the nice cars need a label of something like "adults only".

Oh ya, do not think kids will buy the ugly cars too. Last time my parents will CHOOSE and SELECT the best looking cars; nice paintwork, no paint chips, no defect for me to play with. If the parents like the car, they will buy it for thier children.

Now to an example; At Carrefour checkout there is a parent ready to pay for thier groceries. As they pass by the checkout the parent noticed the Hot wheels aisle and decided to take a peek. Two things will happen here;-

1) They noticed a cool looking blue Enzo Ferrari, Bugatti Veyron and some other cars. They decided to buy the Bugatti since their son have seen the lastest Top Gear magazine (you know, the latest one with the 3 Veyrons) and can relate. Wow, first the son saw it in the mag, now he can play with it!!!!

or

2) all they see are 1946 fords, blimps, ugly.... rubbish.
Can see where this is coming to?

I am surprised Hot wheels didn't come up with a Bumblebee colors Camaro Concept. Maybe liceince issues?

That's all for now. I think if Mattel is reading this someone will be kicking themselves silly. Hope something will come out of this. :P

Thank you

Regards,
Paanjang16.

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