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Mattel Q and A

I’m a couple days late on posting this, but I wasn’t around when the answers were sent to me. Thankfully it’s better late than never as we got some great answers this time around. All of these questions were submitted to us by you, so if you have more for another round feel free to respond or email them to me!

1. 2013 started off as a relatively cheap year for MOTUC fans, with the sub decreasing in it’s overall figure number. However shortly after Castel Grayskull was added and now the Filmation sub. Is overloading the fan’s wallets a concern for Mattel? It seems like this would likely account for some dropoff with subscriptions.

We are conscious of this, but also keep in mind that the Castle is a one time thing. We don’t expect to repeat it every year. Without the Castle, 2012 and 2013 are about the same with the Filmation series taking the spot of the 30th anniversary skus.

2. Back in June 2012, the retail team on Matty’s boards alluded to a possible exclusive Batman:Brave and the Bold pack for Target, around March of this year. Is there any information about this BATB pack and is it still a go? Will is use the new non-hex hole buck that leaked on Ebay? Nothing was mentioned at Toy Fair.

There is a Justice League line that is exclusive to Target, featuring an assortment of singles, figure/vehicles, as well as a 7-pack. This line features Justice League characters, including some of our favorites: Lex Luthor, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman. These items are starting to hit shelves, so be on the lookout for them in stores!

3. What’s the basis for selecting who goes into the Club Infinite Earths subscription? Does DC mandate the characters or is it something Mattel and the 4H decide? Maybe based off fan interest, even?

We work closely with our partners at DC and Warner Bros as well as work with all the members of the Mattel team including design, engineering and marketing on the final roll in. And we do extensively look at fan lists online which is why you see figures like Wally West, Elongated Man and Huntress showing up.

4. Is there time to reshape the wings on the new Batman Beyond figure to more closely match what was depicted in the cartoons and comics?

The wings are final.

5. Ringside Collectibles has had pretty good success teaming with Mattel for one or two yearly fan demanded exclusives. Has Mattel considered offering 1-2 special catered WWE exclusives to the MattyCollector site? This seems like a good way to get in a fan demanded repaint of say, Sgt. Slaughter or Terry Funk without having to commit to doing a whole “line” as before. They could even be tied to an event, like a SummerSlam exclusive or a Wrestlemania exclusive, each year around the time of the event.

We haven’t but it’s something that we’ll continue to consider in the future and the idea of tying the release to a major WWE event is a great one. We were excited about launching our Legends line on MattyCollector.com in 2012 but the performance of the program didn’t meet our expectations. This year, we are going to make some collector favorite figures from our Elite Collection available on MattyCollector.com so there will be a WWE presence on Matty!

If you have questions you’d like submitted to Mattel (I sent in a few this round from folk’s submissions to be answered next time around), email me or reply here with a question and I’ll try to get it asked. No matter what your question, I will ask it of Mattel. I need some good questions folks.

Matty’s back, but half the team isn’t around. We get some answers anyway!

1. So MOTU has been strong enough to get a lot of stuff greenlit. Even though it hasn’t been as strong as it was in year’s past, we’ve still gotten Filmation subs, Caste Grayskull, etc. So how about the Mini Masters? Why are they still out of reach?

We are still looking into these and hope to find a way to get to them. Too cool not to if we can!

2. Obviously this would likely be on a case by case basis, but if the Filmation sub does good, could we potentially see other small subs like this in the future? Say another Filmation sub or a Mini Comics sub? To help those core teams.

Anything is possible but right now we are concentrating on the 2013 Filmation sub first.

3. With the Adam West Batman line, is everyone on the table, such as auxiliary characters like Alfred or Aunt Harriet or is this going to stick to only the biggest names in the series?

Sorry the DC retail team was unavailable to answer questions this round.

4. Any chance for MattyCollector exclusives for the 66 Batman line, such as a two pack of Secret Identities or something that might not be as suited for retail?

Sorry the DC retail team was unavailable to answer questions this round.

5. In March, Elizabeth and 97 HBK, will both be for sale on MattyCollector. Could we potentially see more Flashbacks released on Matty like this going forward? Not exclusive figures, but just an opportunity on MattyCollector. So many fans struggle to find the Flashbacks, it seems like a great incentive for Early Access subscribers and a good way to get more of those figures out into fan’s hands.

It is possible and we are looking at ways of brining more collector WWE figures to Matty. Please continue to let us know what you would like to see!

If you have questions you’d like submitted to Mattel (I sent in a few this round from folk’s submissions to be answered next time around), email me or reply here with a question and I’ll try to get it asked. No matter what your question, I will ask it of Mattel. I need some good questions folks.

It’s time for another Q&A with Mattel, fresh back from ToyFair, what beans do they have to spill?!

1. The protos for King He-Man showed a broken crown. We were told this was an actual break and that the figure wouldn’t come that way. Now test shots have surfaced and they also show a broken crown (albeit in a different spot) is there something wrong with the mold or is King He-Man supposed to come with a broken crown?

Editor’s Note: I didn’t get an answer here. I don’t know if they lost the question (quite possible) or if they didn’t want to talk about it because I brought up a test shot that leaked on Ebay. Either way, the King He-Man at ToyFair had both crown points, so I think it’s safe to say that there’s just potential for them to break off and it’s not in there by design.

2. Is Evil-Seed the type of character that fits into that “core” that could finish out the line, or is he more considered a “fringe” character?

Considering he was in both Filmation and Mike Young series that would definitely bump him up a bit. But no plans to announce right now.

3. There was a fair amount of issue with Granamyr breaking for many fans. Is this something that Mattel is aware of and looking into for future larger scale figures (should they come about)?

While there was some quality control with Granamyr, based on the number of individual posters (not the same customer posting multiple times) and actual requests for returns/exchanges, the QC rate was incredibly small and we do replace any defective product. This was a bit of a case of a very small number of units with QC seeming like a much larger issue due to the nature of the internet. We aren’t saying there were not QC issues, but the overall number of units with issues was extremely small.

Editor’s Note: I’m sure a lot of people will question the validity of this one, but it makes sense. Although I seem to recall hearing more issues about Granamyr than I did other QC things like Green Goddess, but then again, I didn’t count them up, so who knows. I think they likely got less returns on him because some people were able to fix the issue and others would rather have a broken one than none at all, but that’s speculation on my part.

4. And idea if Mattel will be at C2E2 this year?

No, we will not be at C2E2 in 2013.

Editor’s Note: Boooo! Hiss! I wonder why Mattel has stopped going to C2E2? They had such a nice roll out 2 years ago and were very well received. I’m blaming PowerCon.

5. Flashbacks have become a great way to get Legends into the line, but the distribution on them is really a pain on collectors. Given that they’ve proven to be popular sellers, why are they still often being packed 1 per case and sometimes not at all in revision cases? Couldn’t they at LEAST be packed 2 per case?

We are always looking at the best case packs that offer figures for collectors and kids. We totally here you on this one and will pass the comments on to the team.

If you have questions you’d like submitted to Mattel, email me or reply here with a question and I’ll try to get it asked. No matter what your question, I will ask it of Mattel. I need some good questions folks.

It’s the last Q&A of this year. Check it out!

1. We couldn’t help but notice that there weren’t many GB figures on sale during the Black Friday sale and even the speical Halloween Ghostbusters sale didn’t have many GB items. Is there any chance the figures that were released earlier this year (GB2 12″ 2 packs, RTBY Peter, Zuul) will be on sale again, or are those items completely gone for good?

That is simply because stock was not avail. The GB 6″ line is winding down or at least on hiatus whole we wait on news from our partners at Sony on the future of the property!

2. Is King Grayskull’s lion’s “offical” name Battle Lion or is it just a fan name for it? As it was never mentioned in the 200X cartoon.

Yes, we like to use (the name) Battle Lion for Grayskull’s mount if the toy ever happens.

3. Obviously Granamyr is a lot of original sculpt (practically the whole thing!) but was he potentially designed to have any parts reused down the line?

Nope. He reuses Draego-Man’s wings but otherwise he has always been considered a new sculpt.

Editor’s Note: Well now that I found out his shoulders aren’t balljoints, I’m glad.

4. Was the Temple of Darkness Sorceress figure a success? Obviously you guys already have another exclusive con figure planned this year, but did she do well enough that this promotion is considered a viable way to get out unique variants and extras?

Well she sold out completely so yes, that would pretty much make her a success.

Editor’s Note: So she actually sold out? Cool.

5. The WWE figures on Matty have mostly been immune to sales. They never really appear in Mad Matty and although there was a discount on Black Friday, it wasn’t directly related to them. How come the WWE figures haven’t had a sale?

We haven’t needed to offer them at a discount.

If you have questions you’d like submitted to Mattel, email me or reply here with a question and I’ll try to get it asked. No matter what your question, I will ask it of Mattel. I need some good questions folks.

Finally got in another Q&A with Mattel. Thanks to Scott for the quick turnaround on these. SOme nice detailed answers for the most part too. Check em’ out!

1. Obviously you can’t reveal too much, but between some quick sell outs for certain figures and the success of Castle Grayskull pre-orders, is the MOTUC line looking “healthy” again? Obviously the line isn’t perhaps as popular as it was a few years ago, but there seemed to be an awful lot of doom and gloom earlier in the year. Are things starting to look up and is MOTUC on track to be still considered successful enough for Mattel to keep it going?

As long as we get the min number of sub holders each year it is doing just fine. As of now, we are planning the Aug 2013 release(s) and are starting to look into what a 2014 line could look like. Our goal is to get two more years (2014 and 2015) to try and “wrap up” the essential figs. It doesn’t mean 2015 is “the end” but it gives us an achievable goal, using years beyond that to possibly fill any holes through convention or special offerings if we can’t continue the sub due to rising costs and other factors.

2. It’s too early to know for sure, but if Castle Grayskull proves to be a big success, would Mattel potentially consider add-on packs? Stuff like the weapons rack (which has already been produced) but things that might could help dress up the castle? Alternate rooms or gear, as an example.

Yes, we could potentially look at this but no plans right now.


3. Castle Grayskullman turned out to be a huge hit. Arguably one of the best selling MOTUC figures in recent years. His fast sellouts were something of a surprise to many fans. We know that no figures were supposed to be re-released, but could he potentially be an exception if fan demand was high enough?

Definitely not. As a 30th anniversary figure he is special for 2012 and won’t be re run.

Editor’s Note: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Look for the prices on this guy to continue to skyrocket. Meh, I wanted one eventually too, but I won’t pay top dollar.

4. The Temple of Darkness Sorceress was announced as going on sale in December. She showed up in November’s Black Friday sale. She sold out. Is there still stock for a December sale or is she not going to come up for grabs again?

No, she is completely sold out at this point. We moved her up to Nov due to both Granamyr and Procrustus slipping to Dec (Granamyr was supposed to be Sept). Shipping dates are always subject to change.

Editor’s Note: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Again! Seriously, I don’t like that they did this. I realize she was on sale for several days, but they advertised her in December. I never got an email telling me otherwise. Oh well. I managed to miss her too, even though I had her in my cart. As soon as I tried to check out, she sold out. I guess I didn’t need her anyway. I liked the simple variant though.

5. With a new Superman movie on the horizon, is Mattel planning a similar roll out to the Green Lantern toys or will Superman get an even bigger and better selection of products, since he’s a more popular name? Likewise, did you guys learn anything specifically from the Green Lantern line that you might apply to the impending Superman toys?

We’ll have more to announce on Man Of Steel ideally at NYTF!

Editor’s Note: Hopefully some new Kevin Costner figures!

If you have questions you’d like submitted to Mattel, email me or reply here with a question and I’ll try to get it asked. No matter what your question, I will ask it of Mattel. I need some good questions folks.

Ask Matty Mattel

Mattel was on holiday for Rosh Hashanah this week (no joke) so we just got in our Q&A answers. Was Matty in a particularly festive mood as a result?

1. It’s been mentioned before that the success of MOTUC sort of caused the road map to be padded out a little bit, but then the road map was adjusted again due to the slow sales on the most recent subscriptions. Is the new road map closer to the original one before the success of the line or is it a whole new list entirely?

There was only ever one road map. It was always intended to deliver the most diverse line up. We added or subtracted or made edits as demand changed over the years (like when we added “beasts/oversized” slots) but there was only ever one road map. Now that prices have gone up beyond what some fans will pay, we are tossing it out in favor of cranking out as many fan requests as possible based on how many slots we get from management.

Editor’s Note: I like how there’s an effort here to correct what I said and then it’s followed up by repeating exactly what I said and what he just said wasn’t true. If you’re adding or subtracting to the original road map, it becomes a new road map, doesn’t it? And if you toss out that road map in favor of a new list of characters, isn’t that sort of like… A new road map?

Semantics aside, I’m really starting to get the feeling that Scott’s already been told that MOTUC is getting few if any SKUs for 2014. He’s just tossing that around too liberally without any real reason to. Definitely makes it feel like the “subscribe to 2013 for a great 2014″ thing, was a bit of a rouse… But I digress.

2. We’ve seen a variety of weapons packs through the life of MOTUC, is it possible that we might see some bigger items in future ones. Such as a new harness for Gygor or Battle-Cat?

Always possible but nothing is planned right now.

3. One of the things that’s been mentioned before is that MOTUC has almost no advertising budget and stuff like that. As the line begins to struggle, is this something that could be worked on? Obviously it couldn’t do much this year, but a few well placed ads in some comics or something, might help for next year.

It would be nice, but right now we are putting all of our resources into the figures. We’d rather keep more accessories and paint ops with the figures vs take out print ads which studies have shown do not draw as many customers as samples sent out to sites… It is less expensive for us and gets more eyeballs on the product. Everyone wins!

Editor’s Note: Did Mattel do studies to see if their print ads were attracting more buyers versus their sample reviews? If so wouldn’t that money have been better served for other advertising? All kidding aside…

How about sending some sample reviews to some new sites? You know, like Infinite Hollywood? It’d be different than sending to the same guys who always give the same glowing reviews for any and every product. That way it wouldn’t seem so much like you have certain reviewers more or less “on the payroll”.

4. We’re seeing a lot of great figures in the new Batman DC line. Has retailer response been good for these figures and do you think it will help provide a strong base for DC at retail?

Yes, the reception has been phenomenal. Now, we’re hoping that what everyone thinks proves out in 2013.

5. A long time ago, a history of Mattel toys was mentioned as being in the works on MattyCollector. We know the offices of Mattel have some cool items (we sometimes see rare pieces in Scott’s video backgrounds) but there hasn’t been any mention of this in ages. Obviously resources are scarce, but we are seeing more stuff on the Matty website such as JR’s corner and the development logs. Is this something that’s still a possibility? It seems like educating fans about Matt Mason, Big Jim, MUSCLE or some of the other brands of Mattel through the years might spark interest in a revival of them.

This is something we want to get to. But our first priority is getting the “my sub” page up and running and continuing to improve customer service.

Editor’s Note: Heh, I been bugging them about this since 2008 if you’re keeping score at home.

Pretty solid set of answers this go around. Apologies for so much editorial commentary this go around, but sometimes there needs to be more said here. Remember as always, if you have questions you’d like submitted to Mattel, email me or reply here with a question and I’ll try to get it asked.