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Thread: What does it take for a toy line to be considered a success?

  1. #1
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    What does it take for a toy line to be considered a success?

    I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately.

    It seems anymore that if a line of action figures doesn't produce wave after wave for years on end and produce dozens or even hundreds of figures it's considered by many to be a "failure".

    Why is this the case? Some of the greatest toy lines ever only had a small number of figures or only lasted a couple of years right?
    Take for instance the Remco mini-monsters. Six figures, a playcase and the Monsterizer and that's it. They were produced for a couple of years and I'm presuming sold well.

    Kenner's Six Million Dollar Man is another example...the entire line consists of only eight figures, and yet it was a huge success and very profitable.

  2. #2
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    For the toy companies, profitability. The Six Million Dollar Man line was a huge financial success for Kenner. The figures sold like crazy.

    I really like the Sectaurs line and Coleco released a large amount of products in its very short run. Great toys but a disaster for Coleco. They sold terrible and lost money on it.

    Mattel released a lot of product for the 2002 He-Man reboot line and had high hopes for it. The toys sold poorly and Mattel considers it a failure. The Smash Blade wave sold so poorly it prevented stores from ordering the newer waves because they couldn't move the product they already had. It killed MOTU at retail and the last wave was liquidated at Aldi because no one else would take it.
    You are a bold and courageous person, afraid of nothing. High on a hill top near your home, there stands a dilapidated old mansion. Some say the place is haunted, but you don't believe in such myths. One dark and stormy night, a light appears in the topmost window in the tower of the old house. You decide to investigate... and you never return...

  3. #3
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    If we are talking about the toy companies, then I agree with Werewolf. They are only going to produce more if there is money to be made. The stores aren't going to order more if they are not flying off the shelf. I suspect when the Star Wars line hit the stores in 1977 or 78, the sales of the 6 Million Dollar Man merchandise plummeted. Plus they (Star Wars) were cheaper and had more variety. But, I never heard anyone say the Six Million Dollar Man line was a failure. I think it was just a fad that died when another fad came along. It's interesting that Kenner produced both lines. I'm sure they were so happy with the Star Wars sales that they wanted to invest all their energies into expanding that line and less focus on the 6 Million Dollar Man.

    When I think of action figures, I think of the 4" or 3.5" inch variety like Star Wars or the 1980s GI Joes. Because of the smaller size, they could produce more characters and sell them at a lower price. They didn't take up a lot of shelf space like the larger dolls (Six Million Dollar Man or the original GI Joe). Interesting that Mego was one of the trendsetters that saw the potential of smaller action figures, and started decreasing the size from 12" dolls to 7" action figures.

    Bottom line: If it makes money, than its a success.
    Last edited by RonnyG; Aug 25, '19 at 6:08 PM.

  4. #4
    Not showing up at Big Lots means they sold all the toys...
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by monitor_ep View Post
    Not showing up at Big Lots means they sold all the toys...
    What's that say about Masters of the Universe Classics then? They got liquidated at Big Lots. That's where I got my Man E Faces.
    Looking for Iron Man Belt, Green Arrow accessories, Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver, and Japanese Popy Megos (Battle Fever J, Battle of the Planets, Kamen Rider, Ultraman)

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    MOTUC lasted from 2008 to 2019 and was profitable for Mattel. The line is on hiatus because Mattel is taking MOTU back to retail in 2020 with MOTU Origins.
    You are a bold and courageous person, afraid of nothing. High on a hill top near your home, there stands a dilapidated old mansion. Some say the place is haunted, but you don't believe in such myths. One dark and stormy night, a light appears in the topmost window in the tower of the old house. You decide to investigate... and you never return...

  7. #7
    Does not change the fact that they were sold at Big Lots.
    Looking for Iron Man Belt, Green Arrow accessories, Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver, and Japanese Popy Megos (Battle Fever J, Battle of the Planets, Kamen Rider, Ultraman)

  8. #8
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    I made no mention of Big Lots. I'm talking about profitability. This is not a judgement on if a line if it's good or bad or what I personally like or don't like. I like both Sectaurs and the MOTU 2002 line. Neither sold well.
    You are a bold and courageous person, afraid of nothing. High on a hill top near your home, there stands a dilapidated old mansion. Some say the place is haunted, but you don't believe in such myths. One dark and stormy night, a light appears in the topmost window in the tower of the old house. You decide to investigate... and you never return...

  9. #9
    Big Lots is a liquidator, the usual toy lines they get have been bought by them when other stores cannot sell them or they are discontinued. It does not mean they were popular it means stores like Wal-Mart & Target couldn't sell them, so the dealer was forced to sell back stock to a liquidator.

    What gets worse is when you find name brand action figures at Dollar Tree. I remember when they had Green Lantern (Movie) figures for $1. I bought everyone I could find for the ring constructs for my JLU Green Lantern customs.
    Visit my wiki site:

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    To view my custom works of both JLU and Megos go to:

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  10. #10
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    I think overstock will occur with most lines. It doesn't always mean the product wasn't successful if it turns up in a discount store. The manufacturers can make a profit and still have overstock. It might make them scale back a bit on their next line.
    I recently purchased some playmobil figures at the Dollar Tree, but I don't think they're going out of business.
    Last edited by RonnyG; Aug 25, '19 at 7:01 PM.

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