I think I speak for the majority of collectors when I say the Transformers Alternators rule! Finally, adult geeks have been given the one thing we've been requesting for years: super-poseable, updated versions of classic characters geared toward adult collectors.
But how many non-collectors would absolutely love this line and buy one or two--if not the entire series--if only they were aware of it? I'm sure you know that collectible cars are a huge market, and you can see droves of people visiting Wal-Mart every morning in the hopes of finding one or two new cars for their collection. They check every peg in the toy car aisle. . . which is just one aisle away from where Smokescreen, Sideswipe, and soon Hound anxiously await their chance to leave the store.
Over the weekend, my brother-in-law, who hasn't bought a toy in years, visited my house. I have never seen him get more excited over anything than he was when he saw my two Alternators and the 20th Anniversary Prime. I would not be at all surprised if he buys them soon himself. Which equals more money for you.
First, this is the person you should be marketing to: someone who doesn't collect Transformers, but collects cars, loves his (or her) car and would like a transformable version, or just is nostalgic for the old toys.
Second, think of the many ways that you could use the possible audience for Alternators in getting licenses for new figures. Car companies love unique, memorable ads, and are willing to pay a lot of money to produce them. I've lost track of the music, footage, celebrities, etc, they've used in ads just to make them stand out. Why not a character everyone knows and loves?
If the rumors are true, Volkswagen denied a license to produce a Bumblebee (or Gold Bug) figure. But would they be so willing to do so if you offered them the free (or discounted) use of the character and logos in commercials? Especially given the popularity of this character, they'd be downright stupid to do so!
Who could possibly not remember this commercial (and be more likely to buy the Alternator, if not the car) if it aired during, say, Survivor:
Heck, if VW is too dumb to go for it, approach someone else with the name "Cliffjumper" or "Ironhide" or whatever.EXTERIOR: CYBERTRON. A kid sits playing with his Alternator Bumblebee, making "vroom vroom" noises. A CG Bumblebee walks nonchalantly into the frame. Accompanied by original sound effects from the cartoon, he transforms into a VW New Beetle (with Autobot insignia on the hood, of course) and begins to cruise the metal streets (maybe with the kid riding or something), possibly accompanied by "The Touch" or an instrumental version of the Transformers theme music.
Small text on the bottom of the screen reads: "Autobot driver on a Cybertronian course. Do not attempt!"
A voice-over, preferably Peter Cullen, reads a blurb about the Beetle, ending it with something catchy like "It's more than meets the eye!" or "It's out of this world!"
Finally, the standard text ending to a car commercial pops up, including copyright info regarding the Transformers and a url that will lead to a Hasbro product page for Bumblebee, and the voice-over continues: "2005 model available soon. Autobot Bumblebee available from Hasbro wherever action figures are shown.
Oh, and if you're worried about me suing if you use this idea, don't be. I'd be more than willing to relinquish any rights regarding the concept.