Mattel has just announced that the popular Two-Bad figure will not be available on MattyCollector for day of sale purchases. This is apparently a last ditch effort to try and get more subscriptions for the 2014 Club Eternia. It remains one of the most interesting tactics that Mattel has tried, but it comes as no surprise to me. Despite the fact that Mattel recently said to me that logistics prevented them from revealing this stuff. If anything, I’m more shocked that it took them this long to announce it. I suspect they thought keeping this secret until now would help drum up some last minute sales. Unfortunately, it has the potential to backfire.
The whole purpose behind limiting day of sales for certain figures, in theory, would be that Mattel makes X amount of each figure and believes that certain figures aren’t popular enough to have any more than the bare minimum that the subscription is required to produce. Naturally, this is not the case for Two-Bad or anyone that Mattel has limited in DOS purchases up to this point.
Thus far, three people have been banned from day of sale purchases. Fang Man was first, and as one of the debut Filmation characters, he was very popular. He made no sense being produced in smaller quantities, but Mattel did it anyway. Next was Clamp Champ, who while lower on the vintage MOTU totem pole, was still a fairly popular character. Now we come to Two-Bad, arguably the most popular fully tooled vintage character left.
Why didn’t Mattel limit the production of Icarus? The figure that’s lining Big Lots shelves across the nation. What about those often unpopular She-Ra characters? Nope. It seems that the only figures that can be produced in smaller quantities are the popular, “fan demanded” toys. Mattel limiting DOS purchases of popular characters is flat out, a strong arm tactic to get people to buy the subscription.
Honestly, I’d argue that it makes MUCH more sense to limit the sales of less popular characters, because it would automatically give them some intrinsic “want” value. By falsely making them rare, they could warrant more demand and at the very least make them more popular for resellers (who apparently buy a large portion of Mattel subs) but instead Mattel is only increasing the resell price of figures that were already going to be popular. This has caused places like BigBadToyStore to charge EVEN MORE for Two-Bad, to help offset the price of the figures they won’t be able to get rid of.
It has a doubly negative effect. If characters like Two-Bad are limited, then cherry pickers will be forced to pay 2-3 times as much on the secondary market for them. But all that does is make them like the line even less and potentially prevent them from buying less popular characters on day of sale. If I have to spend an extra $60 on Two-Bad, then I very well may not buy that POP character from Matty that I had considered when I had the extra cash. It would just make more sense to produce more of Two-Bad so that Mattel could get those extra sales, but alas, this is not the strategy that the house of Barbie has chosen to pursue.
There’s just no logical reason for what Mattel has done, other than to try and pressure people into the subscriptions. Naturally a lot of hardcore MOTUC fans are happy about this, because many of the diehards want the line to go subscription only, seemingly because they think that by weeding out the cherry pickers they will turn everyone into a subscriber. Mattel seems to have a similar mentality. Unfortunately, we all know this is not the case. MOTUC is already on it’s last legs, if not because of sub woes, than just because of character selection.
Trying to force people into subscribing by limiting the popular characters just further weakens the line. It makes the market shrink and as a result, essentially floods the market with less popular figures. It’s like packing one Two-Bad per case at retail. It’s just going to clog the pegs of less popular figures. This is essentially what Mattel has done. The philosophy is backwards and unfortunately misguided.
It’s understandable why Matty has this concept in his bag of tricks, though. Mattel tried this tactic last year and it worked. They promised they wouldn’t make Ram Man if the sub didn’t go through, but claimed they would release several of the other figures, which were considerably less popular. It didn’t make any sense then and it doesn’t make any sense now. Sadly, as awesome as Two-Bad is, he’s no Ram Man. Will this latest stunt work? I have no idea. It’s certainly left me even more conflicted about subscribing.
Are you more likely or less likely to sub now that Two-Bad is essentially an exclusive?