Baby Yoda From a Toy Industry Perspective

Thoughts of Richard Gottlieb from Global Toy News
Richard Gottlieb is the Founder and CEO of Global Toy Experts, the globally recognized consultant to toy industry leaders. In addition, he is the Publisher of Global Toy, the toy industry’s independent voice.  Richard is also a member of the hobbyDB Advisory Council.

Whether you call him Baby Yoda, or “The Child” as the Walt Disney Company would prefer, he is the best thing to come along for the toy industry this Christmas season……except that he didn’t. At least not as a toy. That will come later, much later.

It is crucial that we study Disney’s decision to postpone licensing until after it introduced Baby Yoda. It teaches us in the toy industry some valuable lessons: We don’t count as much as the entertainment side of the business, and Disney may have just launched a whole new paradigm in how studios introduce new characters.

The Walt Disney Company chose to delay the introduction of Baby Yoda because it a) wanted to create a sensation with its new Mandalorian franchise and b) more importantly, it wanted to generate a frenzy of interest so that consumers would subscribe to the new Disney+. In doing so, the company was willing to forgo the resulting revenues from consumer product sales. They saw the loss of consumer product dollars as an investment in what was a larger target, launching their Disney+.

The Walt Disney Company’s decision certainly made sense to its senior management team, but it was an unmitigated disaster for the toy industry. Think of not only the missed Baby Yoda toy sales but the loss of incremental revenue that any hot toy brings as people invade the toy department in desperate search of the latest hot toy.

Yes, Disney will capture some sales later but the demand will be satisfied far more quickly. To paraphrase an old saying: Time waits for no man, and it doesn’t wait for the Walt Disney Company either.

But what comes next? Has the Walt Disney Company created an alternative paradigm for launching new characters? Will content producers in television and movies feel that keeping a secret about a new character or plotline outweighs the incremental value of toy sales? We will have to wait a few months to get that answer.  Or what do you think?

This post was initially published here.
Comments (1 Comment)
Karl

I wonder if something else is going on here?  Disney is large enough to launch two products at the same time.  Maybe Disney+ was so encompassing for them that they put "all hands on deck".  Does not seem optimal at all...   The two products are in different segments and do not compete with each other, so I am still confused about their decision.

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Media Franchisees are becoming ever more pervasive

Musings By Joschik
Christian Braun obsesses over collectibles, pop culture, antiques and toys more than the average person, but (he hopes) in a productive way. Documenting collectibles has been a passion since working on a book about his favorite childhood toys from Timpo almost 40 years ago.

Titlemax did this very handy overview of which media franchisees are the biggest out there over time.

Nice Job!  And maybe somebody can do this exercise for every decade since the 1930s?  My assumption is that it all happens faster and faster.  So while more than 1/3 of the franchisees in this list such as 007 or Lord of the Rings are more than 50 years old and Cars, the youngest franchise in the list is from 2006 a future list will have a number of new entries in its 2029 version.  Take Fortnite, Epic Games’ most recent Blockbuster.  The franchise is not even 3 years old and already made estimated revenues of around $4 billion.  It is also interesting to see how matters become more blurred as there is growing appetite for mashing things up, like Fortnite’s John Wick edition or this Avengers: Endgame promotion  –

Who do you think has the pull and staying power to make the 2029 list?  Please let us know in the comments?

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What are We Thankful For at hobbyDB? A Lot, Thank You!

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

As we spend our long weekend preparing the turkey (or the tofurkey) while enjoying football and avoiding politics (or avoiding football and enjoying politics), this is the perfect time to reflect on the things that make life great. Here at hobbyDB, we have much to be thankful for.

Geek Culture. (And Nerd Culture, Fanboy Culture, Collector Culture…) It’s what drives the collectibles world. But the best part is when we talk about the things we go crazy for, we don’t judge each other. What’s the real difference between someone who collects vinyl art figures of obscure cereal spokes characters or someone who tries to snag one of every vintage Hot Wheels Redline button ever made? They’re the same person, really (Okay, that person is me. I do both. Along with license plates, lunchboxes, Star Wars action figures…).

thanksgiving collectiblesThe companies that keep making all those wonderful toys and collectibles. Some of us collect toys from old, defunct brands, which results in a finite set of items and variants to find on the road to “completion.” Reaching that final destination can be bittersweet. So thanks to companies like Mattel, Kidrobot, Funko, Hard Rock Cafe, and thousands more who ensure that our hobby of collecting never really has an expiration date.

Architect Charles Haertling. He was the Frank Lloyd Wright of the Denver area, known mostly for his wild mid-20th-Century commercial buildings and churches as well as some very unconventional house designs. In 1969, he created as strange, curved, multi-level, rounded building for an eye surgery clinic in Boulder. That building is now known as Tatooine, the home of hobbyDB’s global headquarters (and other fine companies as well). The walls are loud primary colors, very few of them are parallel or perpendicular, and it’s the perfect space to feel creative and playful at work.

Al Gore (or whoever invented the internet). At least, he sort of claimed he did on the campaign trail in 2000 (but let’s avoid politics, right?). Regardless of who deserves credit for our online world, hobbyDB couldn’t exist the way it does without it. Heck, we even have a European office and a South American office, and the camaraderie with those friends thousands of miles away is the same as it is with the person sitting at the next desk.

thanksgiving collectiblesthanksgiving freddieThe hobbyDB family. That includes you, our Users, our Curators… In addition to the fine folks who work here, none of this is possible without those of you who log in daily and make hobbyDB even better. From the Users who add to our database, to the Curators who expertly ensure our data is correct and complete, to our Advisory Council who shine their experience like a guiding light, you have helped build an amazing resource for collectors. And of course, our Marketplace has become a great place for Buyers and Sellers to come together. So, thank you all!

The holidays themselves. As much as we enjoy coming into the office at hobbyDB, there’s something to be said for the occasional long weekend. We love to celebrate various holidays around the calendar, and what better way than to look at some of the holiday-related collectibles out there?

As for my family, it’s turkey meatloaf, football all day, no politics allowed, and lots and lots of slots! Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Interested in becoming an even bigger part of the hobbyDB family?  Learn more at our Wefunder profile. We thank you!

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John “Spanky” Stokes, the Stroll and a New Vinyl Art Database

The world of vinyl art toys is full of weird, wonderful creatures, some of them mass-produced, some limited, and some that are truly one of a kind. Thanks to John “Spanky” Stokes, hobbyDB has an influx of many of these characters, especially from the rare end of the spectrum.

spankystokes stokes

From every direction, Stoke’s studio is full of wonderful, weird creatures.

spankystokes stroll

Stroll, the lovable mascot of Spankystokes.

Stokes runs his own blog, Spankystokes.com, about vinyl art characters, with an emphasis on unusual custom jobs. “The philosophy behind my site, from the very beginning, has been to spread the word about the Designer Toy world,” he said.” To help promote artists who don’t have a voice and to just share how cool and unique all of these amazing creations are!”

While his website is frequently updated with news about cool new items, none of it is cataloged and cross-referenced to make it very searchable. That’s where hobbyDB comes in providing his site with a  handy database. So far the database covers Kidrobot and Superplastic but there are plans to expand it adding eventually every designer Spanky wrote about (which will then also come to hobbyDB!).

spankystokes custom“When I first got into the Designer Toy scene, I started my site as a personal blog and did not post much Designer Toy news on there,” he said. “But as soon as I became more and more fond of the scene I not only started to write about the things I found interesting but also dove into the customizing scene.”

spankystokes dunnyHis interest in such figures stems in part from his own custom work, too. The site’s mascot is Stroll, a cycloptic, furry yeti.  “I created monsters, really furry ones with gnarled teeth and drool. My dad liked the way they looked so much that I guess it crept into his subconscious,” Stokes said. “Dad named him Stroll, a combination of Stokes and Troll. Stroll has been immortalized by Kidrobot in Dunny form.

Stokes started customizing in 2007, going strong until 2014, when his daughter was born. “I really want to get back into it as I crave that creative outlet… but having recently moved, I am waiting to build a new studio so I can have a dedicated space – once again – to get back into the swing of things.” So for the past few years, his blog has been the focus of his hobby.

Luckily, since he had a website for those years, he has a pretty detailed record of his work, straight from the horse’s mouth but without the fog of time. His new database will really enhance his ability to keep it all organized.

spankystokes collectionHis work really revolves around creatures, kinda gruesome for the most part. “I have a lot of fun making those as I can manifest the cool monsters that I have been dreaming about since I was a young child. I always loved fantasy/sci-fi type things growing up, and played my fair share of AD&D along with Magic The Gathering, and on top of that – so many rad comic books and movies have inspired me as well.”

He started customizing with Kidrobot Dunny figures, mostly with decoration. His figures have become more complex and scratch-built ever since. “I start off, most of the time with a base platform… Dunny, Munny, MAD*L and everything in between, then build on top of that with a 2-part epoxy called Magic Sculpt,” he said. “I normally have some type of eyes involved and those are cast glass, so they find their way into the epoxy compound as well. Then I paint using acrylics along with airbrush vinyl paint. Lastly, I cover certain parts of my creations with faux-fur.”

spankystokes stroll variants

Stroll, the cycloptic yeti spokes character of many colors.

More recently, he has worked with resin casting so he can create limited runs of his creations instead of one-off figures. As his daughter gets older (she is five now), it’s likely he will find time and inspiration to get back into his studio and create. And when he does, expect to read about them at spankystokes.com!

As for his nickname, he got it in high school. “My offensive line coach though I looked like Spanky from ‘The Little Rascals’… and from that point forward, it’s followed me through all stages of life,” Stokes laughed. “Thirty-eight years old now… and everyone calls me Spanky.

spankystokes friends

Stokes has made a lot of friends in the vinyl art design world.

After a decade of running a Designer Toy blog and being involved with the scene in general, most artists, (“who I used to fanboy over”) are now his close friends. “I love having pieces by all of them in my collection as it reminds me of the great times we have all had… it’s also awesome to surround yourself with so many fantastic creations – I soak up this stuff like a creative sponge – looking around my office at all the unique creations really brings me joy! 

 

 

Interested in joining forces with hobbyDB to take charge of our collectible destiny? Learn more at our Wefunder profile.

Comments (1 Comment)
Joschik

Hey Spanky, it was great to meet you at Designercon and I look forward to make this work!

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Anthony Frandsen Showcases His Nerf Collection on hobbyDB

Anthony Frandsen, who lives in Pottsville, PA (home of Yeungling Beer), has added his growing collection of Nerf shooters, weapons, whatever you call them to the hobbyDB database. Blasters is the preferred term to the Nerfing Community,” he says. And yes, you also just learned that “Nerfing” is a thing. Besides his Nerf Collection, XyberDAWG, as he is known on hobbyDB, has close to 500 items in his hobbyDB Showcase and counting.

nerf showcaseThe Showcase is a relatively new feature on hobbyDB. In the past, collectors could add items to the database even if they didn’t actually own a particular item. Then they could mark items they actually do have in their collections. But with the Showcase, it’s possible to publicly display your collection without having to dust your shelves every now and then.

nerf star warsIn the interest of providing soft-serve spongy toys for relatively harmless fun, the earliest Nerf blasters were usually single-shot, air-powered devices to launch foam projectiles with either suction cup or rounded rubber tips. Like all the kids, Frandsen prefers the newer models with their rapid-fire action. “My collection’s main focus is the clip-fed ones, actually magazines, but Nerf calls them Clips,” he said. “Along with attachments (scopes, Shoulder Stocks, barrel extensions, etc.)… of course, I have a passion for the Star Wars related Nerf Items as I am a huge Star Wars geek.”

nerf nitronIf you’ve been to a kid’s birthday party over the last decade or so, there’s a good chance a Nerf battle may have erupted. Heck, it’s likely attendees were asked to bring their own blasters as the main theme.

Frandsen enjoyed playing with Nerf toys as a kid but didn’t really consider himself a collector.  “As a boy, I loved them, but didn’t have many, just one or two at a time,” he said. “But it’s something my boys like as much as I do. So about a year ago, I started building a collection for my sons.”

nerf rapid fireSome of his inventory predates that one year period, though. “My Rapid Fire 20 is the oldest item,” he said, “but the gun I have owned the longest is my yellow Switch Shot EX3 I purchased with the Wii Game Nerf N-Strike, I bought that 10 years ago before I even thought of collecting.”

nerf switch shotHe currently doesn’t have any interest in thinning out his collection, but might someday. “ I tend to not sell, I’m a hoarder,” he laughed. Nonetheless, he decided to add his collection to hobbyDB and set up a Showcase. “I wanted to find a suitable place to build an online collection of my Nerf Collection as I couldn’t find anyplace already set up, short of a text list on the Nerf Wiki. The Showcase is a great way to do all that.”

nerf video gameOf course, Frandsen doesn’t limit his interests to one area. He also dabbles in movies, music CDs, video games (and yes Nerf video games exist!), comics, books, Skylanders, and Lego sets. “As I’ve been adding to the database I spill over into many other areas,” he said. “Then I find myself cleaning up and correcting items unrelated because the way the database is so interconnected as you are fixing one thing, it’s easy to just follow the crumbs and clean up other areas.”

The Showcase is automatically created when you set up a profile on hobbyDB… you can go there and add a cover image, then add to your collection and watch it grow. And of course, if you have an item that we don’t have in our database, as always, please add it!

 

Interested in joining forces with hobbyDB to take charge of our collectible destiny? Learn more at our Wefunder profile.

Comments (1 Comment)
Joschik

Hey Anthony,

Thanks for the fantastic work! Great to have you on board.

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