From the AFi Mattel Interview: [i]"JLU fans tend to be louder rather than numerous"[/i].
I think Mattel failed to take into account a number of issues in terms of setting up their on line sales for JLU product.
1. Fans are MAD that they have been unable for years to find figures shown at SDCC or Toy Fair. Mattel continues to pump out figures for retail which I have NEVER seen. Even now, of the more recent figures, I have seen only Firestorm*. Mattel, I am MAD that you have not fixed this. You say it is a Target issue. Hasbro has no trouble keeping their lines on the shelf.
2. Fans put up with the limited to zero new tooling because we know this is a budget line. That means it should be available at a budget cost at retail. The 3 packs are now 15$. I would not mind that except to get them I would have to buy them from someone else and pay shipping ON TOP OF that. I bought Firestorm for 9$. But does Mattel think I should have to pay 9$ plus shipping for Aquaman, Barda, and Deadshot? Does Mattel think I should pay extra to solve the problem that they cannot get product to my store?
3. Loud – Yes. I started JLU polls specifically because Mattel’s offerings at SDCC 2006 made no sense in terms of what I, personally, as a fan of the show and the DCU, wanted to see in the line. I collected the top wants of other fans, over a hundred (126) of them to give Mattel a sense of what a group of fans wanted, not just one. Boy Wonder’s team responded by giving us Hawkman, Mr. Miracle, Fire, Ice, etc. Subsequent polls have been smaller (75) and larger (144). Toy Guru’s team has given us adult Supergirl, Cheetah, Mr. Terrific, Capt Atom, Question, Batman Beyond, etc. I’m not sure which team we have to thank for Solomon Grundy and Grodd, but I am grateful. I think the polls have helped.
4. The 3-pack problem. Mattel still thinks we should buy 3-packs with only 1 new character which tick off collectors. At the same time, they put out packs with 3 new characters, which we go crazy for. If they balanced this out, by moving one new character from the 3 new to the 1 new, putting 2 new in each 3-pack, they would silence this complaint without actually changing what was produced. Please forget about forcing the characters into themes and instead balance the new characters across the 3-packs.
5. Online in general. I just see the whole online offering as a failure of the line in general. Mattel may see it as an alternative, but I just see it as them asking me to jump through more hoops to complete my collection. I want to be able to walk into the store and buy a figure when I stop in to do the rest of my shopping. After not being able to find so many at retail, unless the character is "key" to my collection, why should I bother?
6. The online experience. I was not interested in the Batman villains. (I had expressed on this very site that I felt the Hasbro versions were adequate. The one new character looked like a civilian.) I went on line, to order the Legion set. When I got there, they did not accept PayPal. I heard there were ‘issues’ with Paypal in earlier months, but it seemed to me they had had plenty of time to solve this. Paypal is THE accepted method of making transactions on line. To not offer it is to be an online dinosaur. I cancelled out of ordering, went off to figure out which credit card I was going to use, got distracted and never went back.
7. The online horror stories. Every month. Pages and pages of people complaining about the experience of buying from Matty.com. We are customers, or in my case, a potential customer. Yet all I see is bad experiences. Unable to buy product that they want. Yes, it was product other than JLU. But to have discontented customers month after month after month is just bad business. I know if someone related to me goes to a restaurant and has bad service, we never go back. And I mean the whole clan. The extended family. I will not reward bad service with my business. Its just wrong.
List of JLU figures not seen at retail by me as of 5/15/2010.
Volcana, Deadshot, Barda.
Justice League 6 pack (Vibe, Steel, Deadman, etc)
Villain 6 pack (Atomic Skull, Key, Shadow Thief, etc)
Thanagar 6 pack (Hro Talok, etc)
Batman Beyond, Bruce Wayne, Warhawk.
Cheetah, Lex in orange.
Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold.
classic Aquaman, (Deadshot, Barda).
I say it again. Get the product to retail. Package it right. And I will buy it.
Singles of new characters, or ones I was unable to find before – I will buy them. Put 2 new characters into the 3 packs, or 1 new and 1 could not find before, and I will buy them. But do not blame me for poor retail sales when the product is not there. And do not expect me to care about on line product when I cannot get the product that is supposed to be available at retail.
*EDIT / UPDATE – I wrote this after Part I of the JLU Mattel interview was up, but I waited until part II to publish to see if it changed my points. Between then and now, I found the most recent set of singles including Plastic Man. This is bittersweet as I am glad to finally have him, but at the same time it probably means I will never see Aquaman, or the re-releases of Barda and Deadshot.