Wonder why the pegs were clogged with G.I. Joe? Wonder no more…

Wow.  To say this article is eye-opening would be an understatement.  Of course, it’s somewhat misleading as well…  an Associated Press article posted on abc.com focuses on the merchandising behemoth that is Toy Story 3.

But also mentioned in the article were some of the top toy lines distributed from China over the past 18 months, and G.I. Joe Ranked #3.  Toy Story 3 was first, Iron Man 2 came in behind, and G.I. Joe rounded off the top of the list.

This is stunning to me, and is a pretty loud wake-up call to just what the expectations were for G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra.  In my mind, they were exceptionally unrealistic expectations.  As popular as G.I. Joe has been over the past three decades, I think expecting a somewhat rushed film with an incomplete script to sell that many toys at retail was way beyond the scope of what G.I. Joe has been expected to do since the 80’s.

This is part of the reason why I say it’s not that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra sold in terrible numbers, it was more that marketing expectations were so skewed that it was near impossible that The Rise of Cobra would meet those unrealistic goals.

Of course, I do find it quite curious that Transformers appears nowhere on this list…but again, I’m not entirely sure how their distribution works.  Food for thought, at any rate.  Thanks to Jeff Bohn for pointing me towards this article.

21 thoughts on “Wonder why the pegs were clogged with G.I. Joe? Wonder no more…

  1. Although it isn’t news to me that Hasbro doomed RoC all by themselves with unrealistic expectations, I am pretty amazed to see just how high those expectations were. Almost like they were expecting the movie to do as well as if it had come out in 1985.

  2. Yeah, I don’t know why they thought it would do so well.

    On the plus side, those clearanced figures got a lot of people I know (including me) back into collecting. Hopefully it was like that for other people and The Pursuit of Cobra will do really really well.

  3. I think Hasbro was banking on the hype they tried to generate promoting GI Joe RoC. They should have stuck with the original concept of GI Joe as “A Real American Hero” and not as a bunch of international boyscouts!

  4. So they sent out a ton, huh? Thing is, did they just make a TON of the first wave or two? ‘Cause that’s what everyone was clogged with. They put out later waves, but those got bought up QUICK. Very quick. Once those were gone…it was back to wave one! So why was there so much wave one out there? So much so that Target puts out ANOTHER ton to clearance.

  5. Yeah, I’ve seen nothing but Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow for the past two months. I’ve seen a Baroness and a Neo Viper here and there, but for the most part it’s just Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.

    They must have thought every kid in the world would want a ninja.

  6. If they didn’t repack and re-repack wave 1 and 2 over and over and over and over again, they may have been a lot closer to meeting those expectations. Even as a customizer, I can only buy so many Destros and Storm Shadows. They crammed so much of that early stock down retailers throats they didn’t have room for later waves during the holiday season.

  7. >Higher than Transformers and Star Wars? Interesting.

    I’m not sure if Star Wars would’ve qualified as “film-related” merchandise or not – depends on the person doing the counting, I guess.

  8. sad fact is……beyond us collectors, the action figure market is at its winter.

    Fogger: youre not sure if Star Wars qualifies as “film-related”? wow. okay.

  9. In regards to Toy Story, doesn’t this sound familiar – 1st Movie was brilliant and a huge hit, but they couldn’t get enough merchandise out in time to really satisfy the market need. 2nd Movie was good, made more money and the merchandise was plentiful. 3rd Movie just opened and you can’t throw a rock and not hit some piece of Toy Story merchandise.

    I think this article must have not counted Star Wars or Transformers for some reason. Granted, the numbers include ALL merchandise, not just toys. But, still, The Princess & The Frog was #4, and I can’t imagine Transformers & Star Wars was out-merchandized by The Princess & The Frog.

  10. I picked up a couple neo vipers for 1.26$ each this weekend. Kinda nice, but I’d rather have a couple Alley Vipers for 6.00$ each, and I fear the RoC glut will scare retailers off of the more promising PoC line. Probably not, though, since I know waves after the initial ones did disappear fairly quick.

  11. Star Wars and Transformers were not counted, as they had no movie within the last 18 months – the only months tracked as stated in the article.

  12. I think Nomad hit it on the spot… but I can venture my own guess… I think Star Wars and Transformers have such a strong fan-base/customer-base that they probably get counted separately in their own category, even though they don’t have a movie attached to them at the time-being, heck they probably didn’t need a movie attached because of the strength of their respective franchises (I know it’s a stretch…but that’s my two cents…)

  13. “Star Wars and Transformers were not counted, as they had no movie within the last 18 months – the only months tracked as stated in the article.”

    Well, I know Revenge of the Fallen was pretty forgetible, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. ;)

    Yeah, I didn’t mention Star Wars in my post, because I figured they didn’t track merchandise without a film attached, but considering Revenge of the Fallen hit theaters only a little over a month prior to The Rise of Cobra last year, I figured Transformers would have to factor in somewhere…

  14. Hasbro created all that RoC product because the retailers bought it. It’s important to keep in mind that Hasbro doesn’t have a bunch of unsold RoC stuff; the retailers do. This sort of makes sense; they probably made a ton of money off of RoC.

    Whether the line was a success depends on what Hasbro’s goal is. Are they trying to maximize profit in the short-term or are they seeking to create a sustainable brand?

    As fans/collectors we would prefer a sustainable brand. But imagine if Hasbro had “nailed” the production numbers and shipped only what consumers (not retailers) would buy. We’d have loved that. But would it have been a smart business move? Only if the subsequent sell-through the planned (and cancelled) PoC and Resolute waves that would have followed up equalled the money they made off of the RoC sales. I don’t have Hasbro’s internal sales numbers but my guess is that their projections pointed towards unlikely.

    Additionally, if Hasbro sells product like most companies do, the sales team is probably highly incentivized through comissions and bonuses to place in hand sales over potential future sales.

    So was it a smart business decision? Again, it depends on whether the priority is on sustainability of the line or profitability. Mattel’s stated business goal is to maximize profitibility per unit and they’ve jacked somelines with potential to do it. Hasbro appears to float between the two extremes and my guess is they consider the line to be a success.

  15. Oh yah, and I think it’s also worth noting that Mattel and Hasbro contract with polling firms to guage sales interest that have been run out of other industries for allegedly making up data. So it’s not like their statistical analysis and metrix are all that robust to begin with.

  16. I wonder what the split was between the hordes of wave 1 & 2 figures and the rest was from all the other types of merch available.


  17. I am so over anything ROC related. Let’s be thankful for the figures we did get, and even more thankful the year-long Joe hiatus is nearing it’s end. Bring on the Pursuit of Cobra!

  18. I do want to weigh in on this, though. Hasbro clogged up a lot of shelf spaces for unproven merchandise like Action Battlers, Joe roleplaying flashlights and binoculars, and the rumble rollars, Ultimate Sigma suit Duke,, and Combat Heroes. They should have focused their attention on the 3 3/ line, 12in line, and a wider variety of roleplaying kits (not just Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes). Also, both Joe and Cobra have strong female characters, they should have attempted a small marketing move toward the girls (more role-play, Timber, Polly stuffed animals, Barbie sized Scarlett and Baroness for example).

  19. Don’t forget that SW and TF didn’t produce much if anything new for late 09/early 10. They shut it down in late 08 and went with what was out, pushing back and drawing out things over an extra six months to a year.

    Course, it’s the same formula all the time. Movie comes out. Make the toys. Toys languish in retail taking up shelf space for other things that might sell through. Clearanced out. Repeated for sequals.

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