March 22, 2007

March 22, 2007 (SEATTLE) — WizKids Inc., a subsidiary of Topps and the creator of runaway hit games such as HeroClix® and Pirates of the Spanish Main™, in conjunction with Diamond Comic Distributors and Alliance Game Distributors announced today that it is launching a sample pack marketing campaign for its upcoming Star Wars™ PocketModel™ trading card game (TCG).  The promotion, which will be advertised on top websites such as CartoonNetwork.com, was set up to drive consumers into their local hobby retail outlets by offering them coupons redeemable for free Star Wars PocketModel product samples.  Sample packs contain three PocketModels (one X-wing™ and two TIE Fighters™), two playing cards and a marketing insert.

“This Star Wars PocketModel TCG advertising campaign will literally be seen by millions of potential customers and, for the first time ever, we can drive those consumers directly into local core market stores,” said WizKids® president, Lax Chandra.  “This kind of promotion never would have been possible without our partnership with Diamond Comic Distributors and Alliance Game Distributors.  Getting closer to the retailer and providing them with great sales support is one of our primary strategic goals.”

In order to redeem for the free Star Wars PocketModels sample pack, participants simply click through the Star Wars PocketModel advertisement found on various websites, including Cartoon Network, to a WizKids page that prompts them to enter their ZIP code in order to get a printable coupon redeemable at their local stores. The coupon gives the names, phone numbers and addresses of several nearby stores where the coupon can be redeemed.  Customers then go to the stores with their coupons and pick up the product sample kits.

“We are pleased to be able to provide WizKids with the detailed presale information necessary to run a great program like this,” said Steve Geppi, president and CEO of Diamond Comics.  “It really demonstrates how this new partnership can benefit core market retailers and their customers.”

Retailers must pre-order the Star Wars PocketModel TCG with Diamond Comic Distributors or Alliance Game Distributors by May 8 in order to participate in the program.  Diamond and Alliance sales reps have detailed information on how the program works. The advertising will hit in early June to coincide with the retail launch of the Star Wars PocketModel TCG. Diamond Comic Distributors and Alliance Game Distributors will distribute the sample packs with their regular product shipments, and will overstock stores so that retailers can provide samples to their regular customers. WizKids encourages retailers to educate their consumers about the product and its organized play opportunities.

The Star Wars PocketModel TCG combines the best features of classic TCGs with those of constructible strategy games™ (CSGs), a category that WizKids pioneered for kids.  This TCG innovation allows players to use characters and action scenes from the Star Wars movies on their cards to help control their fleets of PocketModel ships, as they attempt to destroy each other’s objectives.  This exciting, easy-to-learn game derives its content from all six Star Wars movies, making it possible for fans of all generations to enjoy battling for control of the galaxy!  Each Game Pack (SRP $4.99) contains four to eight constructible styrene units, six game cards, two micro dice, assembly instructions and complete rules.

The Star Wars PocketModel TCG is expected to release at retail in June 2007, with a preview and samples available at Star Wars Celebration IV, May 24–28 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. 

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website www.ActionFigureInsider.com. Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on MSNBC.com, Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
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