Faefrost, on 31 July 2013 - 04:54 PM, said:
I think those articles illustrate pretty much everything that is ethically bad or unsound with the nature of these exclusives. It just illustrates that the Lego marketing people ave no idea what sort of venue it is hey are attending. They have no idea exactly who their exclusive figures are for, or who the actual target audience or customers is for these, or why doing it this way is essentially pissing on that target audience. They give these things to kids innocently, seeming to fail to realize that all they have done is rigged it so some folks get to exploit their kids for profits.
What exactly does this exclusivity of these figures gain Lego? What is the benefit to them? Yeah it drives foot traffic to their booth, but it overwhelms the products actually being presented. It pisses off heir real fans, who have no chance to get these, all for the apparent obscene benefit of questionable third party sleazy eBay merchants.
So once again, how does Lego benefit from this? There are some exclusives that work very well. The I Love NY Yoda is a great example. It's topical. It's special. But it's more of a soveneir. It's neat to have but the true fan or collector will not miss it if they don't have it. It is a unique variant, not a unique character. Lego would get much better attention, PR and goodwill by making these type figs more broadly available. In store or s@h bonus's. promo things like the chrome red key chain to VIPs, etc. spread the love around a bit so the fans feel it. Making only 1000 pieces that are given out in a single sweaty mercenary nerd fest is just stupid. It's poor business. Or rather it is putting a group of sleazy third parties business needs over yours.
The benefit is that it drives attention to their booth and ensures people who visit will remember what they saw there. It's not really connected in any way to TLG's more widespread methods of minifigure distribution. These are just figs that are produced in small batches for the event. Minifigures produced in the tens of thousands for sets or promotions for the general public are minifigures that TLG expects to be able to sell in those quantities.
I don't see what's poor business about doing something that improves media exposure but doesn't in any way harm collectors who can't make it to the event. And I imagine everyone in LEGO's core audience who knows about these figs will think "that's pretty cool", not "the LEGO Group doesn't care about me as much as the people at Comic-Con". After all, as a kid, not getting everything you want is an everyday reality, and having a complete collection is usually a lofty ideal, not the bare minimum for satisfaction. Otherwise things like Pokémon cards, which are made to be extremely difficult to collect, would not be so successful. I used to look at all the extremely exclusive promo cards in magazines, and my thought was never "man, this is so unfair that I can't get these", but rather "this is so cool; wouldn't it be amazing if I could be this lucky one day?"
I can't think of any other way to describe the bitterness I see over these promotional items in the AFOL community other than a sense of entitlement. And I highly doubt the average kid lets this kind of thing get under their skin. It certainly didn't happen in the BIONICLE community, where the extremely rare Kanohi masks given away as contest prizes and promotional items a cause not for complaints, but celebration. Even today, it seems every time another one of these rare masks is sold on eBay it brings out a wave of happy nostalgia among the members of BIONICLE fansites. Some complain that the aftermarket price is unreasonable and you'd have to be crazy to pay it, but nobody ever suggests that the aftermarket price is the LEGO Group's fault for coming out with those exclusive items in the first place, or that it's "unfair" that those items weren't made more widely available.
Navy Trooper Fenson, on 31 July 2013 - 07:18 PM, said:
If they care about children getting those figures they should sell them.
Like in a set.
Make it available in toy stores and supermarkets.
But you don't understand. It's not a choice between "release these figures in sets" and "release these figures as exclusives". The figures will be released in sets if TLG decides there's demand. Most of the time, to generate demand, it has to either be a timeless and instantly-recognizable character like Batman or Superman, or a set that ties in with some franchise that's being heavily promoted already like The Avengers or Man of Steel. I'm confident TLG determines what characters to put in sets without giving any significant thought to what has previously been an exclusive or what might be an exclusive in the future, because sets are invariably FAR more important than these exclusives and set designers know better than to let a "freebie" from the past limit the minifigure production that is an actual, meaningful part of their business.
Obscure characters in their default costumes, or main characters in obscure costumes, are less reliable sellers than main characters in their default costumes. Shazam is a character I had never heard of growing up. Not once. I first learned about the character through Wikipedia. I can't say I had ever heard of Spider-Woman before Wikipedia either. But Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, and Wolverine are practically household names. Even Aquaman, despite being the butt of many jokes, is still less obscure than many of these characters, because he's a very familiar face from most television and comic book incarnations of the Justice League.
I did know of Venom through video game reviews and Spider-Man 3, and of Bizarro through Seinfeld. :P And as we saw, Venom DID end up in a set. Bizarro still might easily show up in a set if he appears prominently in a Superman movie or cartoon, or if TLG decides there's demand for a Superman set other than a specific tie-in and need to borrow a familiar foe of his other than Lex Luthor. The same is true of any of these characters, really. But to appear in sets, they have to effectively compete against the more mainstream characters' more familiar allies and foes. The more people recognize a character, the more that character will help boost the sales of a set they're in.
No matter what costume an "exclusive" fig appears in, they can still show up in that same costume in a set if TLG determines there's demand. After all, look at the Harry Potter theme. There are several outfits in that theme that are ostensibly derived from the same source material, but which have been re-imagined throughout the theme's lifespan according to changing minifigure design standards. Same goes for LEGO Star Wars. The original figs from the early 2000s have almost all been re-imagined into newer and fresher forms by now, without changing the costume they're supposed to represent. So there's no logic to the idea that making the figure's default costume into an exclusive fig precludes the possibility of it ever appearing in a non-exclusive fig. A minifigure is always an abstraction of a real person or character, and there's always more than one way to translate the same person or character into minifigure form, even without changing their costume one bit.
Edited by Aanchir, 31 July 2013 - 09:15 PM.