Yes, I’m beating a dead horse again. Deal with it. And we’re probably TOO MANY years deep into Hasbro’s current approaches where the current direction is impossible to change back, but I still think it’s worth mentioning. (more…)
If you’re an old school pop culture aficionado, you grew up with things called radio stations. Most everything is streamed today, and I just found out from a friend that many (most?) new cars don’t come with CD players anymore. (I wouldn’t know as I am a Grand Marquis enthusiast.) There were so many radio stations growing up that is was difficult to keep track of them all. But as young adults, we quickly learned which stations we’d tune into for the most enjoyment. As we turned the dial on our car radios, we’d hear snippets of classical music, talk radio, news, heavy metal, Top 40 and rap as we’d search for the latest hit.
Often, some stations directly competed with each other, but one would always rise as king. But one thing that never happened was hearing a style outside of your preferred format make it to your favorite radio station call letters. We didn’t hear heavy metal on Top 40. We didn’t hear rap on country stations. And today, if you use streaming services, all similar styles of music are still categorized under a specific format.
Sure, a soupy and adult contemporary-friendly remixed version of Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” might be one of the periodic exceptions or liberties for the radio station to play, but you were never going to hear Beethoven’s 5th on Z-100 in New York City. It was common sense then. It’s still common sense now. What we’re discussing is something called ”breaking format.” It’s the most fundamental principle of what some say a radio station DJ learns in Radio 101. More importantly, why is this important?
It may seem simple to many. There are firms that publish the ratings of radio stations. And they notate the radio station format to measure the audiences of radio stations. And this information is essential because advertisers want to place ads on radio stations that speak to their core audience. They can pinpoint a particular audience and make the most out of it. They’re not necessarily looking to obtain a new audience, but those who like the format are welcomed graciously to listen. They want to appeal to the existing audience who has money to support their companies. And that’s how most radio stations functioned during my lifetime. Sometimes things need to be tweaked. If you’re a classic rock station, you may have to go against your principles to play that “Butterfly Kisses” song that exploded across the nation. But those types of examples are exceptional. A radio station is supposed to remain true to its core audience in every other way, and refrain from breaking the established format.
So why does it feel like Hasbro’s continually breaking format with the Star Wars line?
It’s easily answered. Hasbro’s still preoccupied with trying to capture the attention of the audience they don’t have (hopeful for future fans) while ignoring the longstanding audience waiting for products we may never see. Why is this? We’ve supported the line for years.
It’s a complex thought but stay with me. In the metaphor above, Star Wars collectors are both the listeners and the advertisers in the Radio Station example above. And Hasbro is the radio station. We want what we want (to hear and see). We ant that last #1 hit from Hasbro for our collections. Therefore we’re the audience, the listeners. But we also want to spend money on products that interest US. This is where we start becoming the advertisers of the brand. It is through us (the original Star Wars generation) where Star Wars is passed down to the next. Disney Star Wars can’t do this. Hasbro can’t do this. Collectors can.
Sure, just like in the past, there will be renaissances that bring back Star Wars to (hopefully) feverish levels after we’re long gone. A band of fringe collectors will likely revive the small segment of the Star Wars collecting hobby, but it’s through the familial ties where a passionate thing such as Star Wars is groomed and gets stuck within the DNA of younger generations of fans and the collective pop culture. When Hasbro plays a definitive hit list of products, it sparks excitement and anticipation for the next big “song” coming next. And it becomes a snowball effect until it takes over the collecting community.
To sum it all up, Hasbro needs the momentum created by the excitement of the perpetual Star Wars collecting community to keep the line the best it can be. They need to stay true to their format and keep knocking out hit after hit. Let us keep the brand afloat with our “advertising dollars,” and we’ll continue to listen.
If you noticed, Hasbro made NO FORMAL announcement about the demise of 3.75” 5POA line. Would that have been PowerPoint Slide #1 10 years ago? Why act like something didn’t happen? That’s massive news for the 3.75” collecting community. And what the heck is going on with Galaxy Of Adventures? Tal about breaking format again. They’ve established this line as a 5POA assortment, realistically styled. Now they’re directly competing against Disney Stores’ Toybox figures with a new animated style (which I love by the way) and a new 5” scale (also the same as Disney Toybox figures). I can’t even think about another scale of Star Wars figures. As if the HyperReal scale isn’t bad enough. We don’t need gigantic Star Wars figures. Space has been a problem for years now. We just need a continuation of what made the line so great. Let’s get back to a higher volume of great, please.
How is it in any company’s best interest to change the format of the action figures they produce right before the release of the final “Skywalker saga” Star Wars film? So, we have eight movies of 3.75” and 6” figures. And then for Episode IX, we have 5” and 6” figures. Doesn’t that make anyone else’s head explode? What about the type A completists? Doesn’t that drive you into insanity?
While I still cling to a thread of hope for The Vintage Collection, I don’t know how the Star Wars toy line will sustain itself as Hasbro continues to try the latest fad every year. At least 3.75” super-articulated collectors can continue to rest easy knowing that they’ll still see figures in this scale, in beautiful packaging to boot.
Play features are one thing, but messing with scale is quite another.
It’s hard to believe I can find it so easy to complain after Jabba’s Sail Barge, the return of The Vintage Collection, and so many ROTJ-themed products, but there isn’t enough. We need constant stimulation, and it’s not there. We need to get excited at every trade show event and convention. That’s the way Star Wars works, Hasbro.
Then again, radio stations are going away like the dinosaurs, so maybe it’s inevitable for Star Wars collecting too. Perhaps it’s time to concede defeat.
-Click HERE to return to the home page-