Monday, January 17, 2022

ToyFare Marketing 101: Singular Sensation (Spring Special Edition 1997)

While this article from ToyFare magazine revolves around the Toy Biz Spider-Man action figures from the 1990s, it can apply to any action figure toy line (especially those based on a cartoon) as it discusses how a company chooses which characters to manufacture. Any time this subject comes up I think about Kenner's Batman: The Animated Series toys which is mentioned by the Toy Biz rep. I stocked both Batman and Spider-Man toys when I worked at Toy Works from 1994-96 and Batman always stood out because customers would ask about villains and we rarely had any to sell. Being a Batman fan and collector back then I can recall that each box we received had 24 figures and the assortment was typically 20 Batman, 2 Robin, and 2 villains. There were also cases that were all Batman, namely Lightning Strike Batman which we received a lot of. As Toy Biz states in the article, the hero is what kids know best and what they want, and they are the primary customer so it's better business to make many different versions of the hero than more villains. It is surprising though that it is so skewed toward one character because kids need a bad guy for Spider-Man to fight, or many bad guys to battle, one for each of their Spider-Man variants.

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