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[SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Gamed th

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[SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Gamed th

Postby Staff » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:56 am

San Diego Comic Con has come and gone and it wasn't without it's drama. And by drama, I am referring to LEGO's handling of the minifigure giveaway. After talking with several con goers, I am convinced that LEGO was selective on who they gave winning tickets to. Bottom line: the system was rigged.



Now, keep in mind I have only anecdotal evidence go by, but after the conversations I've had with many of the other attendees about the giveaway, because there isn't much else to talk about when you're waiting in line for hours for the same thing over the course of three days, a few things became clear. The most important of which was that there were definite patterns in how they were distributing tickets and which of those tickets were winners. Couple that with the information coming from independent sources and there is a strong case pointing to a rigged system. I've invited a few of the other attendees to email me with their observations and I'll be publishing those emails in a series of posts over the next few days so you yourself can decide if there is credibility to the conspiracy theory. But before we get to any of that, it's important to describe the method in which the tickets were distributed.

Thursday was a mess. Thursday was the day they were going to scan badges and give out tickets at their booth at 11:30, but that was a completely broken system. The crush of the crowd was too much, so much so that they didn't bother with badge scanning, and then eventually had to call off the ticket distribution altogether and came up with a different method for Friday. If Friday's plan worked, which it did, they would use it for the the rest of the days. So on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, a line was formed upstairs, far away from the LEGO booth, far away from the convention floor. Ticket distribution was supposed to start at 11:30 but they would start earlier since the line was getting so long. I wish I had pictures of how ridiculous the line was so you can get an idea of what it was like, but alas, my brain was not in 'reporting' mode. When it came time to collect your ticket, you would wind your way through the line and receive a ticket given to you by one of two LEGO employees. And this is where they rig the system.

(By the way, if you have your own observations to share, I invite you to use the contact us form and get in touch or post your experience in the forum thread)

Dan has been attending Comic Con for several years and in his email broke down LEGO's methodology since they started with exclusives way back when they had a Batman/Joker diorama. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote. I've edited out portions that were not relevant to the point of this article, but I'll be reposting his email in its entirety in the linked forum thread if you're interested in reading.


So after Thursdays craptastic attempt at giving away tix, they FINALLY learned their lesson and just moved the ticket giveaway upstairs. This turned into a pure dream as people were orderly, friendly and in one single line. The line was long, and I mean LONG...from the middle of the convention center at the sails pavilion down to the Marriot Marquis long. But the one beauty of the line was that it was extremely fast and fluid. No one was pushing, shoving, getting squished or anything of that nature that was experienced the day before. Just follow the line and pick up a ticket. There were two people with bags of tickets and tickets in their hand ready to give out to the people who walked through the line. But no one was scanning badges, so guess what happened. Yes, people would go through the line again. Granted the lines were long, so one would have to travel down the stairs to go again, but the line was also very fast, so it would only take a few mins to go through the line again. After announcing badge scans on Wednesday, that actually didn't even happen til Sunday. The very last day. Nice job Lego team...last day? what a crock.

Now we get back to where this initially started - the Lego Giveaway was RIGGED!!!! You must think I'm joking or just some conspiracy theorist, but after the facts are shown, it's very likely it was rigged. Which is a shame, but it's probably true. How does one rig a drawing/raffle if tickets are handed out with #'s on them? Well, simple, they know the #'s BEFOREHAND. The number ranges that would be announced later in the day, were already known BEFORE the tix were distributed. The raffle winners were based on ranges, generally in chunks of 50. For example, 10,051-10,100 are winners. They would have 4-8 ranges of numbers based on what figure was assigned to that day.

So what do you do with a rigged drawing? Well, you give winners to anyone you want, primarily you give winners to kids. Lego loves kids and kids love Lego. Kids don't resell figures on eBay. They play with them in their sets, swap body parts and get them dirty. So let's target the winning tickets to kids. I wouldn't have thought twice about this rigging if I didn't see some fishiness w/ my own eyes. And believe you me, it was fishy. The ticket givers already had tickets in their hand ready to give out, when an adult walked by for his/her ticket, they were given a ticket out of the bag...even though they had tix ready to give out in their hands. As a child walked by, the ticket in his hand were given to the kids. Early on, they wouldn't give out those tickets in their hand unless it was to a kid. Now this could only start off at the beginning of the giveaway as people would walk too quick to continue doing this the entire time as you gave out tickets. But that also doesn't mean they could have the winners stashed away in their bag that's in a different manner than most of the losing tickets too.

If you're gonna do a raffle, make it a true raffle. Select the winning numbers AFTER the tickets are given out. Or allow them to grab a ticket out of the bag themselves. And the reason they didn't allow that, well, people would grab multiple tix. If you saw the size of this ticket, good luck grabbing two without anyone noticing. These were like concert size tix. Not your normal Office Depot tickets.

I don't think I would have thought twice about this fiasco if it wasn't for the fact that the winning #'s were drawn well before the tix were given out. That just doesn't make sense to why they would do that.

They might not have rigged it, and it could be my conspiracy theorist mind going nutso, but that's how I see it. When I know about 40 or so people trying to win these figures. It just so happened that the people with kids won it more than the adults.


To be continued...

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original image courtesy of Empty House, Full Mind via Google Image Search
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby cephalopoid » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:30 am

It sucks that the raffle is rigged.

But you know what sucks more? The hundreds of ebay sharks that flood the lego booth just to make a quick buck on eBay. The black suited Superman is going for over $400 right now.

I think this is a conversation that the AFOL community needs to have. I understand collecting to sell, but there is a difference between collecting to make a giant profit and collecting because you are a fan and want to sell to maintain the hobby (I did sell Jabba's Sail Barge #1 two years ago and used the money to buy a Death Star).

Personally, I don't like the non-fan collectors. They cheapen the experience, they make it tough for fans to get their hands on sets, and, worse, they make it tough for kids to get lego.

And I'm not just looking at the people at the Cons. When Lego was having it's double points weekend, I was there about an hour after the store opened looking to buy a set or two. A collector came in and started literally clearing the shelves of several sets. He had like 5-6 of each set, and spent over $4000. He used a hand truck to carry the boxes out, all the while bragging about profits.

Yes, it is his right in our consumer based culture to do this. But it is sad to think of kids waiting to buy a certain set, going to the Lego store to buy it, only to find that some guy with a fat wallet and an ebay account cleaned it out.

And most of you have noticed, I'm sure, that Lego has started taking advantage of its own collectability in various ways. 5-6 years ago, one could buy a set knowing that you wouldn't see it again: it was special. Now, especially with the Star Wars sets, there are rehashes of the same sets. Now, these sets are improvements, mostly, and the new minifigures are great, mostly, but look at the new Sail Barge. It is not an improvement over the original set, and Lego is using the new minifigs to sell the set at a much higher price than it was originally.

Would these types of gratuitous double dips be here if it were not for the crazy non-fan collectors that spend thousands of dollars a month on Lego just to resell it? I'm not sure, but I do see them possibly being an influence.

The real question is, though, what is to be done?
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby onions » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:37 am

Here is the original email from Dan:

My thoughts on Lego exclusive 2013 - Giveaways were RIGGED annnd a bit of a disaster!! At least from my standpoint. But before we get to that bit of a bombshell, let's look back. Also, this is for the people who attended and/or plan to attend the con. Sorry to those who want these minifigs too, and don't even get a shot at these w/o knowing anyone or being there in person. But after reading this, you might be glad you weren't here for the inevitable disappointment. This is part gripe fest and part advice.

Since Lego introduced the Batman & Green Lantern SDCC Minifigs in 2011, Lego started a fun but anger inducing trend...exclusive minifigs as giveaways. Last year giveaway was Marvel's Symbiote Spidey & Jean Grey as Phoenix and DC's Shazam and Bizarro.

Lego has had exclusives for the past 6-7 years ago. I remember the first one was the Batman/Joker diorama where you drew a ticket and had the right to buy if you won. The right to buy items or just lining up to buy them has been simple enough and similar enough to most toy companies at SDCC; wait in line, and buy your limit.
But with the SDCC minifigs, there's a raffle element to it. With the 2012 figures, there was 1k of each...totaling 4k. Lego partnered with Marvel, DC, and WB last year to help distribute the figures however they seemed appropriate. For whatever Lego didn't give to their partners, they had a one day drawing for the remaining figures that were held on a Friday. According to what I was told by Marvel and DC last year and this year, they probably got about 500-750 total figures to distribute over the length of the con for 2012. And fair warning, as an adult, you have to take everything you hear from these companies (Marvel, DC, WB & Lego) w/ a massive grain of salt. They see an adult asking about Lego, I wouldn't be surprised if they think "scalper, dealer, re-seller" waaay more often than they think AFOL or collector.

Getting back to Friday 2012, Lego held a one time giveaway of all the remaining minifigs they had in their possession, somewhere around 2,500-3000 as a safe guess. Lego had people line up and badges were scanned. That's it, no tix or anything of the sort. Just get your badge scanned and move along. With a couple thousand figures to try to win, it was unbelievable how smooth it went. UNBELIEVABLE. Line was fast cordial and simple. Stand, line shuffle, show badge, move along. But the reason why 2013 was changed from last year - Winner Redemption. THAT wasn't a nightmare per se, but more so chaos, and with chaos, brings change.

Last year, names were posted up on a large board in the corner of the Lego booth. That's all fine and dandy, but it becomes chaos when you have 2,500 or more winners and all the losers trying to find their name on a board with sheets of paper that had a super small font size. Then after that, they just turn around to line up and pick up their winner. Well, when you post everyone's name on a board and the line to redeem is right there too, you're going to expect a bit of a traffic jam, and when I mean a bit...I mean MASSIVE. That's why Lego changed it up this year.

This year's instructions to redeem were simple in theory, but poor in execution (until Friday). They planned on an 11:30 ticket distribution that also INCLUDED a badge scan (to eliminate repeats). Then winning #'s posted would be posted online and at the booth at 3-3:30, and then you could pickup winners after that. To alleviate the glut that 2012 caused, the winning ticket #'s were posted online and the amount of each figure was drastically reduced. Based on the winning #'s that were posted Thursday thru Sunday, it was 350 for Spiderwoman on Thursday, 400 or 450 of Spiderman on Friday along w/ 100 more for Spiderwoman, 200 or 250 Superman, and 180-200 for Green Arrow.

As you noticed above, I listed Spiderwoman twice - once for Thursday and once for Friday. Why? Well here comes the nightmare that ensued. Somewhere between 11-11:15, Lego decided to give out tix for the raffle. That sounds great, but there was a massive problem. They DID NOT scan badges, they did not organize with security properly to get people to line up, nor did they do a good job of trying to organize the line themselves. Since Lego did not do what they should have done, all hell broke loose. Once people saw that Lego started to give tix out and were NOT scanning badges, the corner was rushed and it was an easy 5-7 people deep around a corner that affects two major pathways within the convention center floor. Due to Lego's lack of control, eg, lines and not scanning badges, it was pure madness as no official line was ever made, so instead there were three, yes THREE lines heading to one corner; one from each end of the booth and another up the middle through the kids play area. I knew people who were less than 10 feet away from the corner and it never moved for close to 30 mins. That's why security stepped in and shut it down. It took them a good 25-30 mins for them to completely clear the Lego booth and that was the end of the Spiderwoman fiasco. No one is sure how many tix were given out as people just rushed the corner, and weren't able to back up one way or another as more people tried to go to the same place. Also, since people weren't being funneled out properly, they were able to grab multiple tickets. And again, no badge scan equals people going for multiple tix. People stick their hands over a crowd, grab a ticket, then w/ so many faces, out there, you move over a bit, and get another ticket. It's nothing new, but this could have been prevented.

If you're asking why did they scan badges AND give tix when 2012 was strictly badge scans, well they didn't want to put in the extra work to post all the names online, nor put them on a board again at the booth. Not everyone has a smartphone and can check them, and they didn't want everyone to rush the board to check if you won.

So after Thursdays craptastic attempt at giving away tix, they FINALLY learned their lesson and just moved the ticket giveaway upstairs. This turned into a pure dream as people were orderly, friendly and in one single line. The line was long, and I mean LONG...from the middle of the convention center at the sails pavilion down to the Marriot Marquis long. But the one beauty of the line was that it was extremely fast and fluid. No one was pushing, shoving, getting squished or anything of that nature that was experienced the day before. Just follow the line and pick up a ticket. There were two people with bags of tickets and tickets in their hand ready to give out to the people who walked through the line. But no one was scanning badges, so guess what happened. Yes, people would go through the line again. Granted the lines were long, so one would have to travel down the stairs to go again, but the line was also very fast, so it would only take a few mins to go through the line again. After announcing badge scans on Wednesday, that actually didn't even happen til Sunday. The very last day. Nice job Lego team...last day? what a crock.

Now we get back to where this initially started - the Lego Giveaway was RIGGED!!!! You must think I'm joking or just some conspiracy theorist, but after the facts are shown, it's very likely it was rigged. Which is a shame, but it's probably true. How does one rig a drawing/raffle if tickets are handed out with #'s on them? Well, simple, they know the #'s BEFOREHAND. The number ranges that would be announced later in the day, were already known BEFORE the tix were distributed. The raffle winners were based on ranges, generally in chunks of 50. For example, 10,051-10,100 are winners. They would have 4-8 ranges of numbers based on what figure was assigned to that day.

So what do you do with a rigged drawing? Well, you give winners to anyone you want, primarily you give winners to kids. Lego loves kids and kids love Lego. Kids don't resell figures on eBay. They play with them in their sets, swap body parts and get them dirty. So let's target the winning tickets to kids. I wouldn't have thought twice about this rigging if I didn't see some fishiness w/ my own eyes. And believe you me, it was fishy. The ticket givers already had tickets in their hand ready to give out, when an adult walked by for his/her ticket, they were given a ticket out of the bag...even though they had tix ready to give out in their hands. As a child walked by, the ticket in his hand were given to the kids. Early on, they wouldn't give out those tickets in their hand unless it was to a kid. Now this could only start off at the beginning of the giveaway as people would walk too quick to continue doing this the entire time as you gave out tickets. But that also doesn't mean they could have the winners stashed away in their bag that's in a different manner than most of the losing tickets too.

This was a theory that started on Friday early, and watched upon to prove it was happening. For those that didn't win, your only goal was to join the hoard of people around the booth, begging to trade or buy the winner from someone. Oddly enough, or not oddly enough, most of the winners were kids. You would see kids come up or the parents of the kids come up to redeem the winning ticket.

I mentioned previously that Lego wasn't too thrilled w/ the crowd that they caused in 2012 to redeem the winners, but another crowd was caused this time...by those were trying to trade or buy from people who just won. You'd see a few people run over to them and ask them to sell it or to trade it. Some of those people seemed normal, others kinda scary. This one guy literally walked around w/ two hundred dollar bills trying to buy it from them. The most common response from those people, "Nah, these are going for $500 on eBay." followed by "sorry, that's not enough money" and waaaay down the list "my kid really wants this" or "this is for my personal collection" In the middle, there were those trying to trade their winners for other ones they didn't win. Green Arrow for Superman for example.

Two of my most favorite memories of seeing people buying/trading lego figures -

A family of four: Mom, dad, daughter (11'ish), son (5'ish) Two winning tickets.

Buyer 1 - "Interested in trading?"
Dad - "What do you have?"
Buyer 1 - "Last year's SDCC Lego figs."
Dad - "We don't know anything about Lego. Any of those go for a lot? These figures are selling for $500!"
Buyer 1 - "Nope, sorry"
Dad - "Nah, sorry, not interested in trading." Father turns to his daughter and says, "honey, hold this winning ticket. This is the last we will see of this before it's on eBay!" Said with smile and enthusiasm.

2nd Story
Buyer A - "$200 for that figure"
Winner - "sorry, they're going a lot higher than that"
Buyer A - "$300?"
Winner - "Yesterday's figure is over $400 on ebay already."
Buyer A - "$400?"
Winner - "sold"
Buyer B (who missed this the above exchange) - "I'll give you $200 for that figure!"
Buyer A - "I just bought it for $400. That's how it's done people."


I witnessed both the above as I was trying to trade too. I was polite about it and people were honest about their responses too - selling it, for my kid, or for my collection.

It's pretty awesome I tell ya.

By rigging it in the above fashion, aiming it at kids, it still doesn't deter the parents from selling it. The kid might enjoy it in it's plastic case for a few days or so before the mom or dad has it shipped off to whoever they just sold it to on eBay. Why punish an AFOL b/c he or she doesn't have a kid? Instead, force them to go to eBay or try to trade.

If you're gonna do a raffle, make it a true raffle. Select the winning numbers AFTER the tickets are given out. Or allow them to grab a ticket out of the bag themselves. And the reason they didn't allow that, well, people would grab multiple tix. If you saw the size of this ticket, good luck grabbing two without anyone noticing. These were like concert size tix. Not your normal Office Depot tickets.

I don't think I would have thought twice about this fiasco if it wasn't for the fact that the winning #'s were drawn well before the tix were given out. That just doesn't make sense to why they would do that.
More food for thought is that a good chunk of these are gonna get listed no matter what Lego tries to do whether it's not allowing exhibitors to enter the raffle or rig it in the favor of kids. There are close to 100 SOLD auctions on eBay for these minifigures plus another 100 or so in active status. Let's just say that's 200 figures of the 1,000 - 1,500 figures that were given out. And there will be even more listed once people get back from San Diego.

They might not have rigged it, and it could be my conspiracy theorist mind going nutso, but that's how I see it. When I know about 40 or so people trying to win these figures. It just so happened that the people with kids won it more than the adults.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby stevenli » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:41 am

If it's true. They should just go around and do the random, 'tap on the shoulder', hey you've been selected to buy a limited edition SDCC lego minifig....you want one? And target avid fans that would benefit from the minis instead of resellers.

I think collectors would fall under the same group of kids. Lego caters to both and probably realizes the clientle for LE stuff tends to go to collectors instead of the random toy box.

That said, even if rigged....it may not have come from HQ, but the 1-2 workers who had thoughts of their own.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby Margot » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:17 am

Well if it's rigged I'm glad it's rigged to give the Lego out to kids. Something got to be done about all of the exclusives going to resellers instead of fans...
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby Mister Ed » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:22 am

Yet, it sounds like a bunch of the "kids" who got them had parents who just planned to turn around and sell them anyway.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby esteban246 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:25 am

good for lego! if they did rig it so the kids got them this makes me happy
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby dWhisper » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:27 am

The aftermarket piece of this honestly doesn't bother me all that much, because that will always exist for anything collectible or exclusive. Those are honestly much more driven by us, as collectors, than LEGO, as suppliers. If people weren't willing to pay outlandish prices to get Azog, it wouldn't sell for that much. Okay, it's eBay, so people would obviously try to sell it for that much, and relist it unto oblivion because they're dumb. eBay sellers (and buyers) are full of dumb. I know, I've been both.

But there are two things that really bother me about this, and about some of the exclusives in general. First and foremost, I don't like it when something that is inherently collectible is created as a "you can only get this here" sort of deal, at least in any form. That's why the Black Suit Superman doesn't bug me, and neither did the Spider Man from last year, the Wonder Woman from the year before that, or the Batman/Joker exclusive thing from the first year. While I couldn't get those specific variants, I could always get the ones that were in normal sets.

Would I like those figures? Sure. But there isn't exactly a gaping hole if I don't have an alternate coloring of Superman in my collection, unlike, say, if I was missing one of the bigger heroes of the DC Universe like Green Lantern. That bothers me a lot, knowing I can't get someone crucial to the setting because it was tied up as an exclusive. Spider-Woman bugs me like that too, though obviously a little less, because who cares all that much about Spider Woman. Jean Grey as Phoenix? * bleep *. I care about Phoenix!

More than that, what bugs me about this specific method of giving them out is that they were targeting kids for the handouts. If this was a mall, a building event, LEGOland, or any other forum, really... I wouldn't take issue about that. I argued in the thread over a guy not being allowed into a Discovery Center that its important to create a place for kids. And LEGO is ultimately a kids toy, and for every AFOL that goes into a LEGO store to purchase something, there are a hundred (or more) kids that are going to buy and love that toy. They're going to build it, wreck it, lose pieces, put a dinosaur on it, and who knows what. Those are all important.

Comic-Con is not about kids. It's about adults. Adults with very nerdy habits. And everything there should be focused, primarily, at the primary customer. Kids can't even get a badge unless they're over 12. This is missing the point of the market there, and more than that, the entire event. A bad system for giving them away is bad enough, and the mishandling of it is obviously just dumb. But not understanding why the event exists in the first place is just inexcusable.
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby Margot » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:31 am

^^^Yeah, I just read that parents were selling anyway... I don't really know how you get the giveaway into the hands of fans. I was going to take my son to SDCC this year because we were already going out to Legoland around that time, but the online ticket sales were a joke, no way to get a ticket following all the rules when the servers immediately crashed. Glad we didn't go, I hate that kind of stressful environment.

eta- I think that kids are allowed in with parents without having to have their own badge, no?
Last edited by Margot on Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby dWhisper » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:37 am

Under 12, yes. That's actually the only way they can get in.
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby that guy » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:48 am

I had someone I know of there who's been 'con'ing for a very long time and he said it was also a joke with the other vendors buying up everything (not just Lego items) before the doors opened. He said a number of vendors bought complete second sets of "public" badges since vendors weren't allowed to buy or get items this year and were flooding the booths pre-opening using those badges to buy but using their vendor badges to be there earlier than everyone else.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby wegj » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:50 am

I was there in 2011 and did win a Batman, which I still have to this day, but I wasn't able to do it without my wife lovingly waiting in line while I attended seminars I was there to see. The unfortunate thing is it takes up so much time away that you could be enjoying the con itself and with something as prized as one of these figures, if I did go down there this year I would want to try to win one for sure. I'm not sure why LEGO can't just make more of them and give them out to more attendees which would bring the value down and make them more accessible by everyone, a 100-200$ fee is more than reasonable for something that you couldn't get without going to SDCC and nobody's getting rich off of it which brings down the rabidness and a few kids could keep them too-- not many dad's are going to turn down a free $500 when it means they could buy their kid a $100 Lego set instead and pay the car payment at the same time.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby plebeianprint » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:09 pm

Wow. I just checked. Azog is taking bids in excess of $1000. I feel disgusted.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby wyldjedi » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:39 pm

The term comicon is such a misnomer... it does not pertain much at all to comics in comparison to all the other 'attractions'. It is not just about nerdy comic book collectors but nerdy adults with money to spend. One of my friends has never collected a single comic, never had any interest and went to the Chicago one for the first time last year with us. He had a great time and when it was over, did not pick up any comic books and still had no interest in them. But anyway, part of me is ok with Lego rigging the system if the winning tickets were only given to kids; Lego's are about kids more than adults. However, as someone else has said if this were a mall or some other place where the people were much more random or particularly kid centralized then I would have no problem with it. Also the fact that the SDCC did not have badges for the kids.. the 'primary' target of Lego for these figures is also part of the problem. Lego did not do their homework on the event. Again.

I think what I hate even more is when companies create forced demand by purposely limiting production. This is in part what created much of the comic book bust from the 90's with all the special edition bagged foil embossed covers and such. But part of what made those limited alternate cover comic book editions mostly ok to me was that you could still get the regular version to enjoy. When it comes to some various blue version clone from Star Wars I really don't care... I already have a ton of clones that look similar enough. Same with some Spiderman or Superman in an alternate suit or that Yoda with a Heart NY torso.. No biggie. However, Phoenix/Jean Grey, Bizzaro, Green Lantern/Arrow, Shazam, and all those others that are not available in another set is what annoys me. These are not special alternate versions. Lego is following the comic book and rest of the toy industry by seeing what collectors like and are playing toward the way we think.. though not in a good way. I know that giving away these figures does not directly do anything for them, but they are creating interest in their product and indirectly creating sales. Most kids do not care about alternate suit Spiderman or even a specific character like Green Lantern; they will eventually move on from those particular figures and the Super heroes from the current line will be enough for them.

Forced demand does not cater to the collectors who truly enjoy the product; instead it brings out 'investors'. These kind of 'collectors' annoy me. I would be willing to bet that over half the people waiting in line for those figures had no true interest in the figures or kids that would be interested. Most of those in line probably thought it would be a great way to make some money on eBay. I have said it before, Lego is using minifigures to sell sell sell; look at the Star Wars sets; sure many of the rehashes look better than their older versions but they are always including new minifigures. Most Star Wars sets even have in glowing letters if a figure is 'NEW!'. Lego states they are a toy company for children but are secretly catering to the adults. Ugh.. sorry for the long post/rant. I have said it before... these aren't your daddies Legos anymore.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby dWhisper » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:44 pm

It's a long-time removed from SD Comic Con being about anything near comics, exclusively, but that's less about what comic con has become and far more about what the overall consumer has become. No store can survive on comics alone as a business. Not even the comic book writers can survive like that, which is why you see collectibles, movies, tv shows, bath soaps, and even those terrible "grown up" sexy costumes (that are typically so far from sexy you couldn't hit sexy with a rock from there).
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby akunthita » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:03 pm

Great post, great discussion! What I would really like to know though is how those resellers who got all five minifigures (4 Super Heroes + Azog)! Any insights on how that could have happened? Bribed the kids as they walked away with their raffle-prize? :S
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby Neal_Caffrey » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:12 pm

Well, I am not sure if I buy this as a rigged drawing or not especially with only part 1 read so far, but here are my observations having attended SDCC myself.

First, you are correct, the winning numbers were predetermined and programmed for the website before the drawing even took place.

What I believe they did was ahead of each ticket handout they separated the tickets and then mixed them in the 2 bags to be handed out. I believe they did this because they were doing "blocks" of winners and if they followed how they did it in the past, groups would get sequentially numbered tickets, meaning if one in the group won, most likely all in the group would win. It seemed fair as they were trying to "spread out" the winners.

As far as Sunday goes, they did not scan badges the entire time. I would say I was within the first 100-150 people in line and they did not scan our badges. But a friend told me that when he went through they were and it was because they caught people going through the line more than once, so that's that.

Now, as far as the rigging for kids to win goes. My group had two kids in it both under 5 and neither won. So.....it might not have been 100% rigged but being in the first 100-150, and of they were holding early tickets aside for kids, one would think the two kids I was with would have at least won one between them.

All in all it was a poor descision to do the raffle. Scanning badges like they did last year worked much better.

However, if they were rigging it for kids, it seems a lot of them now have Ebay accounts.... XD
Last edited by Neal_Caffrey on Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby dWhisper » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:15 pm

Someone who's been to Comic Con will have to tell me what some of these dealers are like. Are we talking about a more mainstream version of the seedy, somewhat unwashed and most certainly shut-in-every-other-day-of-the-year dealer that comes out to mall shows and the more local comic book fare, just on a bigger stage?

These remind me of my dealings with some of those dealers back in my misspent youth, though my thing back then wasn't LEGO, it was sports cards (and comic books and their related cards). I remember more than a few of those places that received promo events to hand out to kids (this was before the internet, things like Free Comic Book Day, etc) which never made it into kids hands. Some of the original Marvel, DC, and Image trading cards come to mind, which were supposed to be given out with purchase of specific comics. Instead, you saw them in cases with price tags on them and the comics without the special insert.

Sadly though, what empowers these type of dealers isn't the companies that give out promos, even limited promos, it's the people that are willing to buy from them even when they're doing things in bad faith like that. LEGO could certainly do better, but I don't see much option for killing the market like this unless the people selling are somehow buying product from Lego for resale. And sadly, I know enough about LEGO to know that they don't care even a little about the small-time vendor to sell to them.

Fun side-story though, one of the last times I ever dealt with someone like that as a kid was to sell a card to him that he misidentified, giving me almost double the value of what it was worth in a book (and by that, I mean like $50 more). The guy actually had the audacity to come by my place of work and ask for the money back. Go ahead and insert what you would have thought as a 16-year-old being asked something like that and I bet you can guess my response.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby Gooker1 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:52 pm

SDCC's exclusives this year was definitely a mixed bag, towards the cruddy end of it. Even if it's not rigged per se, knowing the winners ahead of draw is just begging for trouble. If it was just a computer program, or they had to input the winning groups somewhere, how hard is it to do that when you have three plus hours or so to do to update everything.

The Tumblr site was updated around 3-3:30'ish and the raffle didn't last that long. That's more than enough time to randomly choose groups of number to update the website right? I'm not a programmer, but changing #'s around doesn't seem that difficult. For those that program, let me know if that's easy or hard to do.

As to the above post about kids having eBay accounts, I'd guess that most kids don't have an account, but their parents do. ;) Trust me when I say that there are more than enough parents out there selling the Lego figures that their kids won. Not that the kids wanted it, but moreso, b/c the parents used their kids to grab them.

Obviously, I was there too, and I saw more than my share of parents collecting the winning figures only claim OUT LOUD that it's going to eBay, or asking for more than $200 for it with their little ones in tow.

If having little ones helps my chances, I'm bringing the nephew and niece out there. :)


Edit - Oh, and yes, vendors have always the bane of any collector out there. It's really tough to beat a lot of vendors to the punch when it comes to exclusives, but Hasbro, as much as they suck at least do it pretty well. Oxymoron - yes.

For Hasbro, preview night's a free for all and that includes exhibitors. Thursday - Sunday requires a ticket. Now anyone can get a ticket, so it's not exhibitors beating the average con attendee to the punch. If someone wants a Hasbro exclusive bad enough, they'll wake up well before the crack of dawn and sit in line to get a ticket. This year, my friends and I woke up at 4am to get tickets to go to Hasbro.

Mattel does it pretty good too, as you can preorder their stuff ahead of time. Now if you miss the preorder, then you're at the mercy of the con as exhibitors can get in line fairly quick.

It's up to the other companies on how they want to run that stuff.

But I want to stay on topic as this is more about the Lego Raffle then what they or other companies were selling.
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Re: [SDCC] Marvel and DC Minifigure Giveaways: How LEGO Game

Postby Trooper10 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:57 pm

My 2 cents:
1. Making exclusive give-aways or sale items for big events is a reasonable way to promote your product.
2. Making these exclusives unique items that the wider fan base would like to get is a BAD way to promote your product. IMO it doesn't generate MORE interest for the kiddies (they'd be happy with a free regular give-away - I've seen their faces at LEGO events) but it might disenfranchise your loyal base who will never pay aftermarket prices (it does for me and stopped me continuing a different hobby in the past - actually 2: cards and toys)
3. Rigging the give aways to target kids - fine by me but you may as well just be giving them Jar-Jar minifigs because anything valuable is likely gonna be snatched and sold by their legal guardian.
4. Making exclusive figures in reworked/re-released/rehashed models...well I don't like it but it is within the realms of good business sense. (Ie parents and kids will want the set no matter what, but how do you get the collectors to keep coming back? New figs is a pretty good way to achieve that - it works on me....sometimes)

oh PS - great post and threat/comments - thanks!
Last edited by Trooper10 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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