On the subject of Mattel and its subscriptions

You ever hear those stories about drug dealers who work at school cafeterias, who salt the french fries with cocaine or speed to get kids addicted, then sell them the product later?

Well, no, probably not, unless you still haven't managed to explain to your grandmother what Snopes is and how not to forward you every fake email story she gets. But imagine that was a real thing.

And then, imagine those drug dealers were selling something you could only get from them, and they decided to sell it at a pretty high cost but people wanted it, so paying that high cost was the only way you could get the product you wanted.

After a couple of years of doing that, they said "we're jacking up the price," but didn't comment on a multitude of problems that their customers had with distribution, delivery, quality, etc.

When the amount of people buying their product dropped (supposedly), suddenly they went to the internet and started begging people to buy, in that the product would no longer be made if they didn't have more and more customers - but still not addressing any of the concerns their customers have regarding actually getting the stuff they want.

Then they threatened the customers saying that if more and more people didn't get on board, they'd have to continue jacking the price of their already overpriced product just so it could still be made.

Look, we like Mattel's products. We buy Mattel's products. Poe and Shocka love MotU Classics. Monkey Boy and yo are down with DC. Rustin is into both. Everybody spends their money on Mattel stuff. So when we say that this situation is INSANE, know that we're speaking not from hate, or a desire to cut them down, but just from reality.

If you look around online, you can find all sort of pleas from people asking you to support the subscriptions, so these lines don't die. Even the Four Horsemen have gotten in on the act, explaining their love for the characters and which ones they dream of seeing brought to life. At this rate, the next Mattel update is going to have a Sarah McLachlan song playing over images of toys lying in the mud.

There's a lot of commentary online about why the subs are failing and what it means. We're not going to repeat it here, because you already know the score: high prices, bad character choices, insufficient communication from Mattel... pick your poison. Maybe it's just time to admit that there isn't as much interest in these characters as we wish there was.

There are people on forums who are saying that they're considering buying a second subscription, just to get the numbers up. Do they not realize how stupid that is? It's Mattel's bad practices that are dragging things down, and buying doubles only reinforces them. And if there isn't enough interest to get these figures off the ground in the first place, who are you going to sell those duplicates to, anyway?

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13 Responses to On the subject of Mattel and its subscriptions

  1. Rustin Parr says:

    Maybe it's because I'm only a "casual" collector of MotUC but I think it's fairly out of line to get so angry at the people who are big fans of it. The beginning and closing of this piece read like an attack on people who collect it, and are passionate enough to support it at any cost. It's called "voting with your dollars" and god bless 'em if they want to buy multiple subscriptions to keep something they are passionate about alive. It doesn't affect you - it's their money, who cares what they spend it on.

    I do, though, agree with the points regarding the CAUSE of the downfall of the line - they are clear to all and discussed in depth. Yet, after a week's worth of rumination on this subject I've come to the conclusion that the subscription itself is the cause.

    Now, whose fault is the subscription? Fan's demanded one be added, but would they have if it weren't for all the infamous WSOD issues? I'd say yes, but probably not as loudly. What the sub has really done is removed the "vote with your dollar" ability of the line, which has screwed us sub-ers over with nonsense like The Star Sisters and screwed Mattel over because they were given a false sense of complacency.

    Pre-order figures were a big discussion at the Behind the Plastic (http://www.oafe.net/blog/2012/07/sdcc-2012-panels-behind-the-plastic/) panel at SDCC this year, and frankly I think that's really the best route for Mattycollector. That will effectively put the power back in our hands. That then gives them a gauge of sales on a per figure level and will guide them away from low/no demand figures towards ones we're all more interested in, and that they can sell more of/return a higher profit. If we all "vote" that the higher price on Ram-Man is a-okay then maybe they'll realize we'd rather pay a premium for characters with all new tooling. And maybe then they'd realize A-list characters like Wally West Flash belong in the retail line and on Mattycollector!

  2. yo go re says:

    I'm down for Club Infinite Earths again. And for Black Freighter, because I want Watchmen/. But I'm not about to go out and try to drum up business for Mattel, either. We all went through that last year, and I'd rather spend my time trying to get people to support The Hero Project, because that's something that actually NEEDS fans' attention to survive...

  3. Black Arbor says:

    Some valid points here, to be sure, but I don't think people buying multiple subscriptions would help much. It's great that they want to help, but not too many people can afford a $1000-ish bill (more if they buy more than two), so I don't know how much good it'll do. Also, this article says it was written by OAFE. Does that mean this was a collaboration, or is OAFE another contributor, like Yo or Rustin? I've never seen OAFE review a toy...

  4. prfkttear says:

    See, I read a bit of a subtext in there. If Matty is the drug dealer in this situation, what does this make the fans? The addict of course. There’s just a hint of negative connotation.

    As Rustin mentioned with all the discussion of this topic I don’t feel that it’s really accomplished anything. Then there are the pleas, which I will admit have gotten a little ridiculous. Is a video from Pons Maar or a Tweet from Alan Thicke really going to convince someone to subscribe? I’m not going to rain on someone’s parade --- if someone has enough passion and believes in the line enough to take their own time to share their thoughts because they feel it needs attention to survive.

    What I don’t particularly care for are the Debbie Downers who are chastising those who are in support of the line. The argument is the same everywhere, “2013 Subscriber: ‘I love MOTU and I’m going to support it until the end’ and then there’s TreasureTroll83: ‘Yew f00l, Matty is teh devil!’” In the end they are accomplishing so much less than those who are trying to at least do something positive. But this is really nothing new for the line --- it’s always been polarizing.

    In the end Mattel does not have to answer for any of the aforementioned “issues” --- however it’s not good business. Consumers have effectively lost the power to vote with their dollar with the subscriptions, it’s either all in or nothing. Whether consumers are subscribing or not, this is their only chance to be heard.

  5. Oh please says:

    Sounds like the typical condescending BS from yo go re to me. I think the best part is how he condescends his fellow reviewers in his posts half the time, and can't even accurately assess situations where he himself makes lofty fanboy opinions. NO go re as I've come to call him am the worst reviewer I have ever read had to read.

    I won't bother leaving the laundry list of instances here.. The guy would try to defend himself and would never have the possibility of him being wrong about anything, ever.

    If NO go re is reading this, do kNOw that I won't GO REad another one of your articles again lolololool

  6. cd says:

    Wow, some people really read too far into things. Look, as a consumer who spends too much money on Mattel products, they do have to answer for their bs, if they want me to give them anymore of my money. If they Scott wants to keep BS'n people in the askmatty Q and A, then whatever, won't give you anymore of my money. Honestly I'm so fed up with them, after I buy the remaining figures for my DKR line, it's goodbye Mattel. And I pray that soon DC and Mattels partnership will end because Mattel is running it into the ground. Others say what you will, but Mattel is garbage, and are the reason MOTUC is ending.

  7. yo go re says:

    So both MotU and DC are moving forward! Woo!

    I guess Watchmen didn't make the cut, since Scott didn't mention it?

    • monkey boy says:

      that's the only one i put in for! i didn't even know it was in danger of being on the chopping block, i thought it was a done deal! oh well, if it doesn't go, that's money back in my pocket...

      • yo go re says:

        Huh, I guess that's possible, too - that they were doing it regardless, and the subscription was a convenience? Thanks for continuing to be bad at communication, Mattel!

        • monkey boy says:

          yeah i mean thank god i didn't watch a frigging video of scott neitlich assclowning just to get no info whatsoever about the sub i cared about...but still it'd be nice to know. i had thought there was no question about the watchmen sub happening. i can't imagine they wouldn't hit their numbers on that front; people have wanted comic watchmen toys forever.

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