Going the Extra Mile – Transmedia Storytelling

Das_MittelElton Lin is a CS college student from Alhambra that is enamored by different tactics toy companies engage in to ascribe integrity to their properties. He spent so long chasing a childhood fictional narrative by Mattel that he found a real and uplifting story buried beneath it. 

 

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell – Confucius

Companies should never have to compromise their integrity in a bid for survival. Unfortunately, some do. In this day and age, toy companies grapple to find a common thread with the hordes of children much more interested in handheld electronics. It is true that companies must prioritize earning profits in order to stay afloat, but keeping the masses pleased rings equally true. It is universally understood that toy companies prioritize catering to the younger demographic, but consequently, older fans may struggle to indulge in the brand as well. With the rise of 3rd party offerings or zealous customizers filling the void for fans, retention of brand loyalty has never been tougher.

As such, it makes it all the more gratifying when a company goes the extra mile and delivers universally enjoyable content through a multitude of platforms. Such a labor of love can be explored through the lens of transmedia storytelling.

So what is transmedia? Think back to a favorite childhood series of yours. Did you get to watch your heroes on TV, then go out to the stores to buy action figures of them? Spend your free time visiting official websites or fansites such as the one you’re currently on to brush up on your knowledge about their universe? What about playing video games or comics that weren’t necessarily canon to their source material? How about fast food or in-store promos? If you answered yes to any of these, you had been met with transmedia, the practice of telling a story across different platforms.

But adopting transmedia is no walk in the park. Great transmedia calls for capabilities of:

-expansion. Being able to carry a story through new mediums as well as reach the target audience is crucial to transmedia.

-engagement. Consumers will not only be enraptured by the fictional world, but also come to relate to characters and examine their own human condition.

-embellishment. Fictional worlds must be convincing to their audiences. The more a universe is fleshed out, the more chances the audience can perceive the universe and its ideals as feasible.

-order. The storylines must follow a pattern with how it is accessed through different digital mediums.

-opinions. It is important for creators not to neglect any of their characters by allowing the audience to witness characters evolve through unique feelings to situations and daily life.

-operation. Every message is another piece of the puzzle that ties into the storyline. The creators, what did they leave for us?

In short, transmedia storytelling challenges creators to put out content on a new plane of superiority in the most unique configurations / re-imaginings of the brand’s identity. Famous examples: a company all about plastic construction toys branched out their mythology and storytelling capability with a theme of unworldly mechs, and a company with unworldly mechs painted a new direction through robots that turned into organic animals.

 

Everything must be able to fall back on another. An overarching theme must manifest, which will contribute to the brand’s image. Obviously, it is important that the message reflects positively on how consumers perceive the brand.

Hot Wheels is recognized by its consumers for its presence/domination on the store shelves.

The message may be prevalent in some contexts. Who can forget the owner of the slogan “Just Do It” as well as its highly aspirational message? Or even “I’m Lovin’ It”, the shot at good vibes through pop culture? But what happens if a company’s brand suffers from an existential crisis or a search for new meaning? What can personify a brand entity and reinvigorate it? How do you continue a legacy of that caliber?

In 2002, Hot Wheels was faced with such a dilemma. The company was thinking of how to celebrate its upcoming 35th anniversary. What started out as a challenge became one of Hot Wheels’s most wholehearted attempts into the analysis and redefinition of its own identity. Back down they didn’t. Hot Wheels went in guns blazing with the mythology of Highway 35 World Race and AcceleRacers (see the respective hobbyDB Highway 35 World Race & AcceleRacers pages for how much investment these series got). The creatives at Hot Wheels took what could have been a disaster into a demonstration of spirit. Not only did Hot Wheels reclaim its identity but also earned new merits. Hot Wheels roared on with new life and an extension of its legacy.

Highway 35 and AcceleRacers, bless them, have been gone for more than 10 years. So what’s the worth in dredging up the past? Why do people still demand its renewal? What’s the point of me getting on my knees and begging hobbyDB to allow me a guest post on their blog?

Simply put, series like these are the bread and butter for the path towards adulthood. Series like these merit the attention and praise for being testaments to creative storytelling and concept development. People think back fondly to Highway 35 and AcceleRacers because those were milestones in Hot Wheels history, times where Hot Wheels became more than just their cars.

These type of series continue to play a part in this uncertain future, where minds like Genndy Tartakovsky do not believe current Western animation is at its full potential. But most importantly, they persist as icons of hope. They strike a void that cannot be otherwise filled, and allow us to grow even when our minds are at ease. They serve as bildungsromans, the guiding lights towards our catharses and the search for value in our everyday lives.

Throughout the years, they’ve always remained larger than life.

Who knew that something disguised as a kid-friendly TV series could conceal so much meaning?

To watch the full video on which this article is based, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWjNOrLhPqI

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Auto-Archives Car of the Month — (Bocar) Bob Carnes’ Short Lived 50s Brand

What is a Bocar you may be thinking? Its no ordinary vehicle, its quite a speed machine.

The Bocars were created and produced by BOb CARnes (do you get where he came up with the name from?) during the late 1950s and early 1960s in Lakewood, Colorado. The vehicles were available in both kit or assembled form. The majority of Bocars were intended for track and competition use, but they could be driven on the road.

Bob’s first creation was the Bocar X-1, which was built using Jaguar suspension and brakes at the front and a Lincoln live axle at the rear. The powerplant was a 283 cubic-inch Chevy V8 engine. The body was made of lightweight fiberglass. The X-1 was entered in the 1958 Pikes Peak Hill Climb where it finished in fifth place in the sports car class. The car was promising, but needed more refinement and power. After several iterations, the XP-4 was born (P for ‘production). An unknown number of XP-4s were available near the end of 1958 and offered as a kit car or as a complete package.

The fiberglass body sat on a 90-inch wheelbase chassis to which Volkswagen or Porsche suspension could be found in the front, of course given extra modifications by Carnes. At the back was an Oldsmobile live axle with torsion bars. One Bocar was given a set of the latest Jaguar disc brakes, but most were fitted with either Chevrolet or Buick drums. Engines were mostly eight-cylinder units from either Pontiac or Chevrolet and matted to a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual gearbox. A completely assembled example would set the buyer back about $6450.

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The Bocar XP-5 (white car above) was very similar to the XP-4. Main changes were to the brakes which now incorporated Buick Alfin drums. Weight distribution was improved; the XP-5 had a 44% of its weight in the front and the remaining in the rear. This was achieved by moving the engine back into the frame and offset to the right. This improved weigh distribution enhancing the vehicles balance and giving it better traction. Several XP-5 Bocars competed in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and proved very competitive in the sportscar class. Bob Carnes himself raced a number of times, competing against local racer Frank Peterson (see image below) for several years. Frank was reunited with this very chassis at the November Hagerty Coffee & Cars event in Golden Colorado this year (below).

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The Bocar XP-6 (the darker car in the top image) incorporated a supercharged version of a Chevrolet V8. The chassis was enlarged by 14-inches to accommodate the supercharger unit. Horsepower was around 400bhp which required changes to the suspension. The suspension was beefed up to include a solid axle with torsion bars in the front and a live axle with torsion bars in the rear. The car was quick, but never really gained much national attention. It seems only one example was ever created and was used as Carnes’ person car.

The Bocar XP-7 was the next evolution of the Bocar racers. It was very similar to the car it replaced and had a Volkswagen front end. At a price tag of nearly $9000, the XP-7 was produced in very low numbers.

Bocar’s last racer built was for the 1960 season, the longer, more streamlined Bocar Stiletto. It would appear that less than four were created and carried a price tag of about $13,000. The car was intended to race during the 1960 season. Power was again from a supercharged Chevrolet V8 engine mated to a four-speed Borg-Warner T-10 transmission, and once again it had a space frame chassis and a fiberglass body.

The early Bocar Stiletto was raced at Pikes Peak by Carnes himself, but it encountered problems. A second example was built and sold to Tom Butz for driver Graham Shaw. This second car had a Hillborn-injected small-block engine. A third example is believed to have been built.

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Arrrrrr! Are There Treasure Hunts in Your Booty? Find Their Values on hobbyDB Now!

Treasure is usually hidden, but thanks to our price guide, its value won’t be – at least, not if it’s the Hot Wheels kind!

Over the last few months, we’ve been working hard to make our price guide a one-of-a-kind resource and today marks an exciting milestone. As well as our Expert Valuations, we’re now calculating values from a variety of sources with the aim of providing the most accurate pricing information for every collectible in the database. First up: Hot Wheels Treasure Hunts!

We’re now displaying calculated values for all of the Treasure Hunts U.S. cards and are working on finishing the values for international long and short cards and sets. As well as being able to check out what your Hunts are worth, we think you’ll be fascinated to see the range of values, from $2 to more than $500 and which ones are the most desirable! Hint; it’s not always the ones you’d think!

Ever wanted to know how much the TV Series Batmobile is worth? Now you can easily find out –

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How about that sweet Dairy Delivery Treasure Hunt – a cool $16.76

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And what about the super cool Cruise Bruiser Treasure Hunt – valued at $22.41

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What’s the value of your favorite Treasure Hunt? For a full explanation of the price guide methodology click here. Interested in getting involved? Contact us to figure out how you can help build out the most accurate collectible price guide in the world!

 

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Cult Scale Models Joins hobbyDB as Latest Official Archive

Cult Scale Models is the latest company to host their Official Archives on hobbyDB. The company specializes in large scale, high end resin models, which is an unusual combination, but when you see some of their offerings, you’ll see how they got their name.

“In the last 100 years of automotive industry many cars have been produced,” their website proudly proclaims. “Some successful cars gained a CULT status, even long after their production had stopped. Cult models now creates these models for you in scale 1:18.” Odd variants of well-known models, unusual nameplates from familiar marques, and underrepresented vintages of otherwise common cars are among their specialties.

Cult Scale Models Aston Martin shooting Brake

If James Bond needed just a bit more room for gadgets or equipment, he might have gone for this Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake. Few were produced, few models have been made of it.

Cult Models is the brainchild of ID bv, the business of Jaap van Dijk and Mark Asbreuk. If those names sounds familiar to collectors, they are also the founders of Matrix Scale Models. “I have always been interested in cars and during my studies I worked at Volvocar company in the design department,” said Jaap van Dijk,  “End of the nineties, I decided to step out and became my own boss.”  Mark had started A.M.C. Miniatures which made high-spec 1/18 Scale models.

In 2000 Jaap bought Replicars where Mark after a stint for Modellissimo then worked.  Later they together formed another company, Neo Scale Models. The difference here is while those brands mostly focus on 1/43 scale models, Cult does theirs in 1/18 only.

Cult Scale Models Mini ClubmanFor instance, despite changing marques a few times, the iconic Mini Cooper didn’t change its styling much during its original production. But in 1969, BMC decided a more modern replacement was needed. Enter the Mini 1275GT and the Mini Clubman. The “hot dog” grill and headlight design was met with a mixed reaction and the original 1959 face (which continued alongside it) ended up out-living it by 20 years. Since then, however, the Clubman has developed a devoted following, for whom Cult offers a 1974 Clubman Estate.

Cult Scale Models Aston Martin LagondaOr take the Aston Martin Lagonda… with its wedgy, very long coachwork, it’s one of the more controversial Aston Martins ever produced. Which is why there aren’t a lot of models of it. (Johnny Lightning made one in 1/64, just to be part of their Evel Knievel series). But Cult was willing to take a chance on it, and considering the very limited numbers they produce, there will be enough fans to buy them all.

Cult Scale Models Jaguar E TypeAnother example is their Jaguar E-Type. Widely considered one of the most beautiful automotive designs ever, Cult’s model is a later Series II car, which featured some minor changes implemented to accommodate U.S. safety standards at the time. While most companies offer models of the more “pure” early Jags, Cult decided the later one needed some love as well.

Cult Scale Models Volvo BertoneCult’s offerings are mostly European marques, although many of them will be familiar to U.S. collectors, yet just a bit strange. The Volvo 262 Bertone carries much of the boxy styling familiar to the brand, but with a lower, sleeker roofline. You’ve probably seen one in person, maybe, but probably never seen a model of one, either. It’s obscure enough that you forgot about it, but you want one now, and Cult has you covered.

A browse through their Official Archive will reacquaint you with of plenty of other cars that feel oddly familiar or familiarly odd. Either way, you’ll eventually want to be part of this Cult.

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Voting for the 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame Class is Now Live!

We’re excited to share this news on behalf of the coalition of collectors that’s organizing The 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame Ceremony – 

diecast hall of fame votingLadies and gentlemen, start your engines! We’ve made it to the final round of the 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame selection process! Let the voting  begin!

Over the last few weeks, our Selection Committee has been hard at work narrowing down the final five nominees for each induction category. We had an extremely competitive 2017 class, with more than 200 fantastic nominations from around the world. And with that, we are super excited to announce the top five selections per category!

With your help, one winner from each category will be inducted into the Diecast Hall of Fame in November. The final winners will be selected based on a combination of committee and public votes. The winners will be announced at the official event in November

Please note:  For each category, you can only vote once. Once you submit your votes and email address, you’ll receive an email link you have to click on to confirm your vote. If you would like to vote for all three categories, you will have to submit your information three times.

 

Collectors – click here to vote

Automotive Legends 

  • Tim Allen
  • Ray Evernham
  • Ralph Gilles
  • Rick Hendrick
  • Danica Patrick

Diecast Customizers 

  • Joe “LoRide57” Alvarado
  • Bannarit
  • Steve Hamm
  • Brian Moffitt
  • Karli “Kraut Custom” Sanger

Diecast Designers 

  • Sei Cho
  • Kevin Geraldez
  • Tony Karamitsos
  • Brad Trimmer
  • Brendon Vetuskey

Diecast Entrepreneurs

  • Lyndon Davis
  • Paul Lang
  • Jennifer & Mark Millhollin
  • Steve Reddell
  • Jimmy Ye

Diecast Historians

  • Bill Bennett
  • Jack Clark
  • Robert Fellows
  • Theodore (Ted) Gray
  • Paolo Rampini

Collector of the Year Award 

  • Paul David
  • James Elliott
  • Gabriel Gomez
  • Woody Itson
  • Timothy Jack

The Selection Committee has further decided to give collector Tiny Wozniak an honorary R.A.O.K. award for his contributions to the diecast community.

 

Brands – click here to Vote

Diecast Dealer of the Year

  • Brian & Ann’s Collectibles
  • CK-Modelcars
  • Diecast Models Wholesale
  • Global Diecast Direct
  • Tacot

Supplier Brand of the Year 

  • Edelbrock
  • Falken Tires
  • GReddy
  • Gulf
  • NAPA

New Model Maker of the Year

  • AutoCult
  • Johnny Lightning
  • Laudoracing Models
  • Matrix Scale Models
  • Milena Rose

Automotive Brand of the Year

  • Bentley Motors
  • BMW
  • Dodge
  • Fast and the Furious Franchise
  • Ferrari

 

Models – click here to Vote

Small Scale (up to 1/64 Scale)

  • Greenlight Ford F-350 Ramp Truck
  • Hot Wheels Fiat 500 Modificado
  • Hot Wheels Mainline Porsche 356 Outlaw
  • Matchbox Nissan Skyline 2000 GTX
  • Schuco VW T3 Westfalia Joker

1/43 Scale

  • AutoCult Gatso 4000 Aero Coupe
  • Matrix Models Chrysler Turbine
  • Minichamps 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Street Version
  • Schuco VW Beetle “Lil Bugger” Camper Van
  • TrueScale Miniatures 2017 Ford GT

1/24th Scale

  • Automodello 1937 Delage D8-120 S Pourtout Aero Coupe
  • Bburago 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia
  • Greenlight 1967 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport from Supernatural
  • Maisto Ford F-150 Raptor Off-Road Kings
  • Welly Mini Cooper S Paceman

Large Scale (1/18th Scale and Larger)

  • Auto World 2017 Ford Mustang GT
  • Autoart Mercedes-AMG GTS
  • Autocult Brandpowder 911 DS
  • Bburago Bugatti Chiron
  • Ottomobile Saviem SB2 Assistance Course Alpine

 

Comments (4 Comments)
Jack Reynolds

The two die cast models that any collector should covet are:

 

1.Pocher 1/8 scale F 40 Ferrari

2.Revell Germany 1/12 Ferrari GTO. Any livery.

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