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[NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Though we don't cover them in detail on FBTB, we all still love our Castle, Pirates, and Space LEGO too.

Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby legomatt » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:08 pm

I agree with pretty much what everyone has said... seems everyone on FBTB is in agreement. Just like football stickers or Trading Cards, blind packing is done to inflate sales of the product (because everyone has to buy more to get what they want). There's no point in Lego adopting this business model, if they want to maintain very limited or strict production runs, only to then impose sales limits on consumers (when they're only doing what the blind package model forces them to do).
Lego should've been shouting "We have a HIT!" and increased the production run to match, pre-orders alone should've indicated as much, and even if take-up was low across other stores, with their own stores and internet presence, there's no real excuse. If they aren't prepared to back their own product via their own stores, why should other companies invest in it?

Has anyone EVER heard of trading cards and stickers being a limited purchase with sales staff saying "no, you cannot buy a whole box of Magic TCG boosters". Having more than you need is the whole point of a blind packaged collectable. If lego want to market a collectable, they must adopt the correct business model for it. Planning for success, it's amazing how many business people don't do it.

Those barcodes on series 1 have been very fortunate for Lego, as it has meant fewer packs were sold unnecessarily, leaving more for others to get what they wanted. Sure it meant the swapping element was defeated (but then it was clearly not thought through, if they had to limit sales), so considering the lack of availability, that has been a very good thing. They shouldn't be bemoaning the fans for breaking the code on this occasion, they should be glad for it, as it meant more packs stayed in the shops longer and were available for more people.

When they remove the means of ID-ing the contents, they'd better be prepared to increase production so that people feel confident they can get the full set plus swaps... personally, i'd prefer to see the gap between releases widened, as you can only harvest the crop every so often without the field turning barren.

I suspect there is nobody at Lego with insight into the collectables and trading card market, or at least not with the power to make decisions, they could probably do with an expert heading up the minifigs department. (like me! :D )
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby vynsane » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:22 pm

I dunno... I was all ready to collect, trade, sell, buy, whatever these figures. The barcodes were a shortcut which I took advantage of, but I would've relished the opportunity to engage in some "Collect 'em, trade 'em with your friends" action. It just seemed like that wasn't going to happen BECAUSE of the barcodes.

It sounds to me that AFOL should be changed to CFOL (crotchety fan of LEGO) if everyone is complaining about a little bit of collector fun. I'm reading "LEGO is just trying to get more money out of us" (which is true, they're a business, why wouldn't they?) but all I'm hearing is "Git orfa mah lawn, and gimme back mah barcodes, dagnabit!"
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby legomatt » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:52 pm

I hope you don't mean me, vynsane. I don't mind the barcodes being removed. In fact, they didn't exist for me, as i bought blind.
I just think Lego are being silly for complaining about how people buy, (by setting purchase limits) instead of meeting demand and making sure there's enough product on the market. They had the wrong business model for marketing a collectable set, which the barcodes corrected in a wrong sort of way. (Two negatives made a positive in this case, so people will see the loss of the barcode as just leaving a negative: not enough product).

As I bought lots of packs (all blind), got lots of swaps, gave some away, I am still short of a complete set after 55+ purchases plus several swaps... which is exactly what Lego wanted people to do. But the noises Lego are making have me feel like i've been 'in the wrong'. I'm all for the barcodes being removed, just so long as they keep enough product in the stores for people to collect them without feeling like a monster for doing so.

I now feel i made a mistake by shopping in the spirit of the collectable format, and actually feel rebuked for doing so by Lego itself. That can't be right. Supply & Demand, lego got it wrong and blamed me. :'( (a new t-shirt perhaps?) LOL :lol:
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby Dendo » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:04 pm

I want to know where you guys are living where you can get 55+ purchases! I still haven't seen them in my area at all. Does anyone know if they will make more series 1 to make up for short-sightedness? I personally am not excited about series 2 and wonder if series 3 will be any better, so removal of the barcodes doesn't hurt or help me. I thought series 1 was really good though - I just can't get my hands on them.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby legomatt » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:19 pm

I'm in the UK, Dendo. (I agree, Series 2 does look a bit underwhelming, no sci-fi plus a hint of re-coloured series 1... hopefully series 3 will be more unique due to the success of S1).
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby vynsane » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:27 pm

@legomatt - not calling you out on anything, mainly referring to other people who are complaining about how it's going to cost us so much more money... but I'm not really sure about that. There are always people willing to trade.

@Dendo - I found mine by calling all the TRUs in my area, finally alighting upon one that had just received two boxes of them. It's all in persistence. I would say, though, that there are still plenty of series 1 to be had - LEGO has only been selling them for a few weeks on their own site!

And I, too, am less enthused about series 2 than I was about series 1. I wanted (and have) multiples of quite a few from series 1, but plan to double up on only one or two from series 2.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby GIR3691 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:03 pm

I want mah barcodes, dagnabbit! >: (

I guess I'll be fine as long as they aren't impossible to find with future waves and they remain affordable. It would be awesome if the better shiny plastic was used, but I'm not holding my breath.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby Solo » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:55 pm

drdavewatford wrote:Fundamentally, these figs were never supposed to be for us AFOLs
Not true, these were designed with collectors in mind, with the full knowledge that kids would be interested as well as adults. Blind boxing toys is a very common tactic for adult targeted collectibles (a prime example being designer vinyl toys).
drdavewatford wrote:Dear oh dear, LEGO - you've sold a lot more of these figs than you expected
You misunderstand, Lego was very confident that this was a good plan, it was the retailers who needed convincing (and I suspect this was the reason the unique codes were added after the concept had been developed and was out of the designers hands).

legomatt wrote:There's no point in Lego adopting this business model
You know as well as I do the point is money, and buddy, it's working.
legomatt wrote:Lego should've been shouting "We have a HIT!" and increased the production run to match
You're wildly overestimating how fast such a large operation works. Lego has to estimate stock a year in advance and manage production accordingly. It's far from an on-demand process. Nothing at this scale can be.
legomatt wrote:they should be glad for it, as it meant more packs stayed in the shops longer and were available for more people.
That's some backwards thinking there. The faster these sell out the more retailers are going to agree it was a good idea, and the more they'll order in the future.
legomatt wrote:I suspect there is nobody at Lego with insight into the collectables and trading card market, or at least not with the power to make decisions, they could probably do with an expert heading up the minifigs department. (like me! :D )
Nail on the head there bro.

vynsane wrote:It sounds to me that AFOL should be changed to CFOL (crotchety fan of LEGO) if everyone is complaining about a little bit of collector fun
A gold star for you sir, that gave me a good lol.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby banthafodder » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:53 pm

I'm going to be one of those CFOLs for a moment. If they are going to get rid of the barcodes are they going to release a collector's pack so we don't have to buy a whole box. The baseball card industry figured that out now it's time for Lego. BTW Turn down dat der inferno music and pull up dem pants.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby demlow » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:56 pm

Having avoided the rush to find the (initial?) releases of Series 1, the unanswered question is whether the stock that has hit the stores _is_ the production run, or can we expect more to arrive in enough quantity to allow a more leisurely purchasing experience? (Or put another way, should those of us who were lazy during release week buy at inflated BrickLink prices now before prices go higher?)
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby legomatt » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:36 pm

Solo wrote:
legomatt wrote:they should be glad for it, as it meant more packs stayed in the shops longer and were available for more people.

That's some backwards thinking there. The faster these sell out the more retailers are going to agree it was a good idea, and the more they'll order in the future.


You are right, and i agree. I know it's backward, but it was in reference to the 'backward' attitude of lego's complaints about people buying out the supply, and trying to enforce a limit on sales for what is meant to be a bonanza item where you're meant to buy more than you need. They should be happy that they sold out fast, but instead appeared to complain about it. So, in that sense, people cherry-picking did Lego a favour, according to lego's confused stance.

Solo wrote:
legomatt wrote:There's no point in Lego adopting this business model


I say, Solo, quoting half a sentence like that. bad show, old bean. ;) This quote misrepresents what i said, and my point of view. I believe that blind sales are a legitimate and excellent way of doing business, so long as you're prepared for the potential boom that this strategy creates when successful.

But not if...If... you have a strict production run or inflexible business model (unable or unwilling to quickly funnel profits into a re-run), which lego had. In that case it defeats the point. Having a collection to swap with friends (the vision) becomes an impossibility due to scarcity. Being unable to respond to demand caps profits.

It's a tired excuse, in my experience, whenever a company exec has said they were 'too big to act fast', that executive can expect a long holiday for being shortsighted. It's an excuse i don't buy, as you say, they're in this to make money.

I have worked for game companies that make money solely from Blind purchase. If a company is unwilling or unprepared to have a flexible production run, they're not embracing the strategy properly. Small companies have become HUGE through blind products (magic the gathering for example). Lego has no need to rely on other companies uptake to dictate production, (which it appears may have been the case... i guess they wanted guaranteed sales without risk).

It's an issue for a small operation - no stores buying into your new product would seriously curtail production, and you'd have to plan for failure - but for an established company with a worldwide audience, belief in the product should be a given, and success planned for.

When digging for gold, I don't moan when I strike oil. (my second t-shirt) :D .
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby GrayMattR » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:39 am

I don't mind the blind collector business model if there's enough supply for me to blindly purchase until I've got what I want. My complaint was the availability of these. In the US, the minifigs were only available in TRU and LEGO stores and only in limited quantities at that. Most people don't have a local LEGO store and many don't have immediate access to a TRU. If they want to use the trading cards model, they have to be available at many, many more retailers. I think series 1 proved that there was much more demand than anticipated and hopefully other series will have larger production runs.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby Morgan19 » Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:47 am

GrayMattR wrote:I don't mind the blind collector business model if there's enough supply for me to blindly purchase until I've got what I want. My complaint was the availability of these. ... If they want to use the trading cards model, they have to be available at many, many more retailers. I think series 1 proved that there was much more demand than anticipated and hopefully other series will have larger production runs.


^ Yes, exactly how I feel. I don't mind the model, so long as it's actually accessible. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to be a kid, the supposed target range for these, trying to track these down let alone a repeatedly-failing-to-find-any AFOL.

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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby vynsane » Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:01 am

legomatt wrote:But not if...If... you have a strict production run or inflexible business model (unable or unwilling to quickly funnel profits into a re-run), which lego had. In that case it defeats the point. Having a collection to swap with friends (the vision) becomes an impossibility due to scarcity. Being unable to respond to demand caps profits.

I have worked for game companies that make money solely from Blind purchase. If a company is unwilling or unprepared to have a flexible production run, they're not embracing the strategy properly. Small companies have become HUGE through blind products (magic the gathering for example). Lego has no need to rely on other companies uptake to dictate production, (which it appears may have been the case... i guess they wanted guaranteed sales without risk).


The difference between MTG and the minifigures is that it's a LOT quicker to print another 1,000,000 sheets of playing cards than it is to instate another run of plastic parts in various colors (some with relatively elaborate printings, like the cheerleader's legs, for instance) with accessories and the like.

It's an issue for a small operation - no stores buying into your new product would seriously curtail production, and you'd have to plan for failure - but for an established company with a worldwide audience, belief in the product should be a given, and success planned for.


I have a suspicion that TLG has a lot of these - they just had a harder time selling them to retailers than they anticipated, thus creating a shortage at retail. In North America it seems only TRU (mainly US) and WalMart (in Canada and some states in the US) have taken a chance on these. I've not heard of any other retail chain stocking them. If these were more widespread at retail, there wouldn't be as much fervor over their scarcity and no one would feel the 'need' to buy an entire box of 60.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby that guy » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:49 am

I don't know if I buy the fact that TLG has TONS of these though because A) There are countless independent retailers that have never gotten their original order in yet, and B) I have on several occasions called factory Lego stores and the consensus is that next week stores will get a shipment and they have all told me that will be their last shipment of series 1 figs based on communication from their "higher ups". SO either it's all a bunch of hooey and they're just trying to hype them up (which isn't really needed), or they really are going to run out of these faster than expected. I guess time will tell but it's interesting to watch either way.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby SuperDave » Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:06 am

For what it's worth, these have been spotted at other major retailers, such as Borders. This may be fairly recent.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby vynsane » Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:24 am

SuperDave wrote:For what it's worth, these have been spotted at other major retailers, such as Borders.


For something like $4.99 per, btw.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby Daz Hoo » Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:45 am

Patrick Bégin posted additional info related to this story on QuéLUG's forum, and this time, he quotes what Steve Witt posted on LEGO Ambassador's forum.

On the bar codes, Steve Witt wrote:I know that the secondary barcode wasn't something the product designers planned on and it was added on later and thats why they're discussing how to change it. I said series 3 for the change but I also can't guarentee that as its only what I've been told is "the plan" and you guys know how plans tend to work.

So series 3 might also feature the bar codes. LEGO doesn't plan to, but anything is possible.


About the limited quantities available, Steve Witt wrote:I will remind you that I said months ago that this wave was given a very dubious look by many of the customers (TRU, Target, etc) and they didn't think it would sell so the first and second waves are going to be the lowest quantity waves available for the product. hopefully the lesson will be learned and the later waves will be higher. my suggestion to the design people is to insert "ALL-Stars" in later waves, so people can have a second chance at some, but I'm certain that waves 1 and 2 are going to be the rarest of them all.

After reading this, my guess is that although LEGO thought the blind packs were a good idea, the retailers didn't order too many of these, so LEGO didn't produce that much so they wouldn't get stuck with lots of overstock. Now that these things are a hit, big retailers like TRU and Wal Mart are probably asking LEGO for more, maybe even pushing LEGO to get the inventory that independant or smaller retailers were supposed to get.

Like I said many times, I KNOW that independant retailers in Canada could order the minifig packs, yet, to my knowledge, the packs haven't shown up yet in any local toy stores.

And to tie this up with what others have been discussing so far, I don't think LEGO should be blamed for the somehow limited distribution of the minifig packs. IMHO, it's mostly the retailers' fault for not ordering enough to start with.
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby winbrant » Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:13 am

Daz Hoo wrote:And to tie this up with what others have been discussing so far, I don't think LEGO should be blamed for the somehow limited distribution of the minifig packs. IMHO, it's mostly the retailers' fault for not ordering enough to start with.


Well said and I concur :D

Both distribution and availability has been sketchy and I'm glad to have gotten my set but going back for duplicates a couple days later [to help friends and such] I have been shocked to find them scarce or gone. I also was a bit skeptical about these at first...until I had my first set. Didn't quite think this would take off with non-AFOLs...but they did and as a result would anticipate stores bringing in more volume for the next Series.

It would've been nice if they had put a bigger time between Series though...kind of between their regular releases!
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Re: [NEW STUFF] News about the minifig collection

Postby Mister Ed » Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:34 pm

I THOUGHT series 2 wasn't supposed to hit until September. Yet here we are hearing about it shipping in late June...incidentally the time that Series ONE was originally supposed to hit, IIRC. So it looks highly likely that I will not acquire even a single fig from Series 1. Which, I might add, really dampens my enthusiasm for the whole line.

In fact, it seems likely that Series 1 will be GONE for the most part BEFORE the date I originally read it was to be released, on June 21st. I wish I remembered where I read that. Because if that WAS the case, it seems like TRU MASSIVELY jumped the gun.
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