View Full Version : Is Hasbro shooting itself in the foot with the street dates?

El Chuxter
07-24-2010, 12:35 AM
Hear me out. I'm being totally serious.

The purpose of the street dates is most likely to put the retailers on even footing and manage when items are available. However, I saw something this evening that made me think things may not work quite the way the folks at Hasbro want them to work.

The obvious side effect of a hard street date is that retailers know to get rid of old stock before that date, and they either mark the older stuff down or simply don't replenish it. So, right now, in most stores, there are practically no Star Wars figures, nor are there many Transformers or GIJoes (who also have a street date in August, possibly the same date).

Trouble is, the target customer is a little boy, someone who isn't good at saving money when it's in his pocket. Maybe not quite as big an issue for GIJoe, since the movie bombed and there's no cartoon right now to put it in kids' minds, but suicide for Transformers and Star Wars.

Tonight, I was in a Wal-Mart. Their Transformers were limited: movie Skids, movie Mudflap, a few two-packs of smaller figures, and a couple of Voyager-class movie figures. Maybe one or two others. Stuff that's been there for months. The Transformers section was a cornucopia of selection compared to GIJoe (a dozen movie Storm Shadows) and Star Wars (a Leia/Xizor comic pack and about ten Jeremoch Coltons).

It was in the Star Wars section that there was a kid, about ten, going through the figures. I was walking through the aisle, and it only took a second to realize everything was as it was three or four weeks ago. I heard the kid say, "No, dad, they're all the same. Just this guy. They don't have anyone I want."

I asked the dad if he was looking for Star Wars figures, and, when he said yes, told him that I collect them and keep up with them, and the new stuff was coming out on August 6; most stores just won't be putting anything out until then. He asked his son if he understood, and asked if he wanted to wait a couple of weeks to get whoever it was (I didn't ask who).

What's the kid do? He leaves with a couple of Ben 10 figures instead.

It's exactly two weeks until the street date for the Vintage and new Clone Wars stuff. And, like I mentioned, the shelves have been this barren for over a month, maybe two. (I haven't been paying especially close attention, but it's been a long time.) There is nothing for boys there that's made by Hasbro for at least six weeks (since Marvel stuff vanishes there as soon as it comes out).

I can understand if there's a concerted launch around a new movie or whatever, but this whole "hard street date for all three lines just because we're changing packaging" might work for adult geeks like the folks here, but it seems like they're pretty much asking the kids they target to spend their money on toys from other companies.

07-24-2010, 02:04 AM
I for one agree with you for the reasons you spelled out above, but I think it extends to collectors, too.

I collect LEGO as well as Hasbro SW stuff, as well as non toy related items that are much more expensive than toys and much easier to find when I am ready to buy.

My discretionary and disposable money is modest, but allows me to pursue my various collections and if Hasbro wants to have street dates, fine. But I have money NOW and something else that I want is available, so I am going to buy THAT instead.

I had NO problem paying a higher price at TRU for all of the items that I picked up before Hasbro's silly (deleted) street date.

Last week, TRU had new LEGO sets on the shelf but no AT-AT's. I wanted new toys, so I bought 2 AT-AT's worth of LEGO sets (that the local LEGO store won't have for 1-2 more weeks. LEGO does scheduled releases, but at least their "on shelf" dates are accurate).

You have it, I will buy it.

Street dates, IMHO, are idiotic. You have product to sell? Sell it. I get that marketing people need to do something with their degrees, but without a media event to tie into, just ship and sell the GD toys. Or I will spend my hard earned money on something else.

07-24-2010, 06:32 AM
Unlike Ando(even though I also have a modest budget for my SW hobby), I could not(and would not) pay what TRU was asking for Vintage...even though I didn't see them at retail. I have a mortgage, car payment & a special need child, so 10.00 plus tax for another LUke, Leia & albeit crappy Han was not in the cards. I've lost alot of juice for SW collecting this past 6 mos. I'm most excited about seeing new characters from the SW universe rather than yet another Vader(I understand, Hasbro, the need for keeping core characters in the marketplace). I'm not an opener, persay, so the actual vintage cards are what intrigues me the most, but I'm not laying down $110 plus tax for a whole wave. Thank you, no! I DO think perhaps an 8/6 Midnight Madness event might have been the way to go on the street date issue. I enjoyed the anticipation, and especially meeting fellow characters & making new friends with the same interests. You're always going to get retailers who don't adhere to what Hasbro mandates.

07-24-2010, 09:23 AM
Well, the street date causes a problem with collectors as well, since many are impatient to wait for an arbitrary street date when they know that the toys are available through other sources. So those collectors will go to online stores, who seemed to have completely ignored the street date, or those questionable (to put it nicely) Ebay sellers from overseas, who are either stealing directly from the factories or selling reject and defective figures.

This means that many of those collectors will have completed the first wave of TVC long before the street date. Thus, they won't be checking their local Walmarts or Targets and that will leave those retailers with a bunch of new stock and an even smaller collector base than they would have had without the idiotic street date.

So, yes, I believe that Hasbro is shooting itself in the foot. Especially with putting the street date at the tail end of summer when parents are going to be allocating more money to "back to school" supplies and less to overpriced toys.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-24-2010, 10:48 AM
And what about those here who've said they can order them online already? I know that the site may wait to ship them until after the street date, but isn't that basically Chux's point? They have the items, and so they sell them.

I wonder if they are just advertising like it's 1999; when fans lined up to get stuff at midnight (madness! ;) ), since their funds for collectibles were even more dispensible back then, and everyone was drooling for new SW items. Much of that's not the case anymore (if it ever will be again).

I expect a 2011 exclusive figure: F'oot Shott (a Mandolorian former-Sith bounty hunter cyborg alien). :pleased:

Mr. JabbaJohnL
07-24-2010, 01:40 PM
Part of it, I think, was to help clear out the red/white packaging before stores got inundated with the blue/black and Vintage stuff; that's also why all three stores were putting the figures on sale so heavily (aside from TRU's normal Christmas in July stuff). In the last Q&A, Hasbro said that the sales worked better than expected, and that everything cleared out sooner than they planned. That might be true, but it also seems that they at least pulled back Saesee Tiin and Plo Koon, if not everything at some stores (as I have a hard time believing my local Targets all sold out of Malakili in one weekend), which obviously helped a lot.

With the other street dates, it helped to build excitement for the upcoming movies. I was nine in 1999, and I knew the Episode I stuff wasn't coming out until May 3. Same for the other ones. I could wait for it - but, there was also stuff to buy before then, if I recall correctly.

I'm not opposed to street dates in general. I loved being able to go to stores on the July 26, 2008 weekend and spend hundreds of dollars on SW stuff, and it also allowed me to save money beforehand. I love being able to go into any store and get a new item, or several, instead of the slow, random trickle throughout the year that occurs without the street dates.

This year's street date, I feel, was mismanaged and poorly thought-out if not simply a bad idea. There's no big "event" to tie it to aside from the 30th anniversary of ESB (which was back in May and doesn't likely have much meaning for most kids) and the premiere of The Clone Wars' third season (which isn't until October, and the only other TCW launch event was for the film and series as a whole). There's also the fact that Hasbro itself didn't announce the street date, apart from saying that new stuff should be available in August (similar to how they mention any other release, which are often unreliable), and we had to find it out by seeing the sticker on the cases ourselves. When this is combined with the pull-back and/or sell-through of almost everything (or at least everything interesting that hasn't already been sitting there for six months to a year) on shelves, it can indeed have a detrimental effect.

I proposed a question in the Q&A thread about the street date, so you turds should go vote for it. :p

El Chuxter
07-24-2010, 03:04 PM
Even a couple of years ago, when they released the BMF and the first Build-A-Droid figures, the date wasn't tied to much (or was that the year Clone Wars came out in theaters?), but it at least coincided with Comic-Con. I'm sure there are a bunch of p***ed vendors who can't sell anything at Comic-Con, or at least not openly.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
07-24-2010, 03:48 PM
Even a couple of years ago, when they released the BMF and the first Build-A-Droid figures, the date wasn't tied to much (or was that the year Clone Wars came out in theaters?), but it at least coincided with Comic-Con. I'm sure there are a bunch of p***ed vendors who can't sell anything at Comic-Con, or at least not openly.
It was July 26, 2008 - The Clone Wars movie premiered on August 15 that year, and the series started October 3. I think they released the Legacy stuff for collectors who wouldn't be doing the animated style, and to reaffirm their commitment to the older media even with TCW coming up.

07-24-2010, 06:42 PM
I'm not so sure Hasbro is shooting themselves in the foot. It seems, to me, that new waves were constantly being pushed back because of delays. There have been times in the past couple years where I wouldn't find anything new from Jan thru Aug anyway; things would get pushed back until the second half of the year and then there would be a huge load of new figs (though I didn't always find them then either).
Now, they've cut the number of new fig's they're producing, combined with this 8 month hiatus, hopefully they'll have a better chance of meeting their plans.

As for TRU having already released some new product, my theory is that they were allowed to since they took the EU wave as an exclusive. I haven't stayed up on all the goings on, but could that wave have just been cancelled?

I ordered the AT AT on line the other day, and I should get it Mon 7/26.

07-24-2010, 07:26 PM
I haven't stayed up on all the goings on, but could that wave have just been cancelled?

Hasbro underestimated demand on the EU wave and it sold out really quickly. It wasn't cancelled.

Actually, I think the increased demand was due in part to the fact that the wave was changed to a TRU exclusive. This made people, who had probably never even considered buying these figures otherwise, sit up and take notice. I actually considered buying some of these figures to use as trading fodder later on. Something I absolutely never would have considered otherwise. It most likely piqued the interest of the scalpers also, who took the opportunity to clear the pegs of the EU wave every time they saw them.

Anyways, I did my part to help out today by buying the very last remaining Legacy figure from my local Walmart. A half-opened Pons Limbic with a crushed bubble for $4.05 (after my employee discount). Now they just have about 20 SL Plo Koons and Saesee Tiins, but they are on their own with those two figures.