The basic point is, in this case, Val & Emiliano are "just fans" for all intents and purposes... while some companies may "farm out" work to the same vendors they have used in the past, it's clear Mattel doesn't do business the same as everyone else (nor could you probably pick 2 or 3 companies at random and find them all operating the same way in every aspect), and as this thread has shown, whether intentional or not, whether blatant or not, there is some kind of bad blood here. Mattel hasn't hired the guys so, regardless of the past relationship, they are at this point (very talented; I still admire every chance I see any of their work, mentally shouting out "HEY! I 'know' that guy!!" every time I see one of their names in a comic) fans.
And from the sounds of it, being a geeky high school kid may be part of the resume for a lot of folks in the comic, cartoon and movie biz. Heck, probably even the toy business, since it sounds like TG was one as well.
Anyway, I certainly meant no disrespect for Val or Emiliano... quite the opposite! I respect anyone who has the talent and drive, as well as the genuine care, they do!!
I want NA Skeletor and Rio Blast and I want them now!
Ok ladies and gentlemen, this thread has gotten WAY off topic, and we need to try and steer it back in the correct direction.
It got off course with Val, Emiliano, and Scott saying their piece. I know a lot of us have concentrated on that as the point of the thread since it's a large focus, but that just took us further off track. It's normal since we're such a close knit community, but it's not helping Scott get the feedback that he requested.
Scott was nice enough to come in here and start a thread asking for our opinions in order to better the relationship between Mattel and the fans ( ), so we should really be concentrating on that instead of whether or not Val and Emiliano are out to write the story or take anyone's job. Just to be clear, that is NOT their intentions at all.
Please keep this thread on track from here on out. Please give Scott what he's asking for which is suggestions for how to better fan relations. All posts from this point posted by anyone other than Val, Emiliano, or Scott that are not on topic will be deleted, as we don't want to muddy this thread.
Thanks for your help in this.
So either that, or they are idiots. Dont like it, dont buy it.
Last edited by baronterror; January 12, 2011 at 12:56am. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
Wow, that was a lot to take in in one sitting...
In an effort to help steer it back on point, my suggestions:
First, don't come to the biggest He-Man online community asking for suggestions to 'improve customer relations' and then say you want to move traffic to mattycollector.com with said suggestions at the same time putting down many valid suggestions and questions relating to the Org. Clearly the main fanbase is here, has been here, and will continue to be here, and some of the comments they(Toyguru/Scott/Mattel) are only alienating the biggest MOTU fanbase. Clearly if traffic was going to move to Mattycollector, it would have by now.
Second, Digital River. Seriously, we're going on year 3 and the site still doesn't work. I purposely stayed away from a subscription this upcoming year because I plan on moving and I read too many horror stories about DR and the subscriptions. I had a hell of time getting the PKE meter shipped to me, I even called Go Matty and talked to a rep who said my address had been changed, only to receive an email a few days later saying it couldn't and my PKE was being shipped to my old address and that the only thing they could do was give me a refund if it was returned. This was 2 weeks prior to it actually shipping. The fact that the biggest toy manufacture in the world uses such a shoddy, poorly run company for Matty says a lot about Mattel as a company, IMO. The way to fix a lot of the issues is to quit being cheap and upgrade and get more servers at least. When the Matty site is a running joke to toy collectors, that's a problem.
Third, QC. Why do we have broken goddesses, bad shoulders on Roboto, crappy paint apps on Skeletors, being resold returned products, etc, in a collector's line? At $20 for a 6" 'Adult Collector' figure, we shouldn't have to deal with such problems. And when there is a problem, take ownership of it and have it fixed. Don't say "We'll fix it in the next run so you'll have to buy it again." I'm sure we'd all have been fine with Roboto being pushed back to make sure he gets the correct shoulders. Dealing with the problems of your product should be a primary focus of customer relations.
Fourth, stop with the whole Matty backtalk angle. It rubs most people the wrong way when you tell us one thing, then 6 months later go back and say another. I understand things change, but don't tell us that the Keldor swords are the purple power swords, then come back year later and say you're getting them produced, like some kind of hero. Maybe its better to not say anything at all rather than keep having to go back on what was said previously.
A few more points, I don't understand why Mattel desires to sweep the 200X era under the rug like it never happened, but let's not forget it was Mattel's mismanagement in the first place that caused it to fail, not the fans. But at $20 a figure, we should be able to get the 200X heads with the original figure, not for 'a refresh' down the line. That just reeks of $$$ and not caring about the fans.
I know they wanted opinions on how to 'interact' with the fans better, but I feel that unless the main issues change, the rest won't matter anyway. What good is some stupid poll on mattycollector.com going to do us anyway?
But honestly, it feels this will fall on deaf ears. It seems Toyguru is just giving us lip service, as usual, and towing the company line. They've said so many times that the line is all but planned out through 2017, so why ask us our opinion on things? They still have the same problems they've had from the beginning. It seems only when the collective online community *****es loud enough that things change anyway.
I imagine this is what a crackhead feels like, you don't like your crack dealer per se, but they're the only ones who have the goods.
It's true that fans don't like Matty's spin and contradictory answers - but that is not what has happened with the recent announcement of the Keldor swords.
We were originally told the 200x swords could/would not be made cos they were hyper anime detail versions of the Power Swords. We all disagreed with that assessment and found arguments (such as the techno sword) contradicting the Mattel Skeleswords policy - but at least we honestly knew the reason why we weren't getting the swords.
Now TG has told us Mattel have changed their minds cos he could demonstrate there was demand. This is the type of honesty most fans want.
It is much better than trying to pass of changed decisions like suggesting 500 years was always meant to be 5000 - when it is obviously not always the case.
So please TG, keep explaining honestly why decisions are made to include or exclude certain design options. And feel free amongst this group of adult collectors to honestly tell us when Matty have decided to change their minds to deliver a better outcome.
Grayskull needs its Cardboard Spacesuit MOTUCized
Voice your support in the Cardboard Spacesuit/Robot thread:
What realy bugs me is that thing about the crumbling Goddess. If a Barbie would crumble, or a Fisher Price toy, and Mattel knows about it, they would instantly call it back and have it replaced with an improved version.
Why oh why does a collector´s child have to choke on a crumbled Goddess crotch before they realize a broken product cannot be replaced with the very same broken product?
Gegen 2-Klassen-Gesellschaft in Internet-Foren
Mattel is a large toy company. I see no need for them to run any of their lines as if they were a small company. The lack of accessories in retail toys feels like a burn when Hasbro can pack their stuff full and a $20 Mattel retro action toy gets nothing at all(maybe it's a good thing the RGB line is Matty in this case?). Even NECA can go all out at times but I'd hesitate to buy any retail Mattel stuff off a TRU shelf due to this.
Many others have probably already said the same things (and far more eloquently), but I'll respond as well.
While I'm sure it is not intentional, a number of Mattel's interactions with fans appear to come across as dishonest.
Obviously the edicts of Mattel's "higher-ups" can and do change. Obviously Mattel cannot look into a crystal ball and tell the fans the entire future of the line right down to character variants, additional weapons, etc.
BUT, Mattel should always aim to be completely honest in its interactions with the fans. If Mattel cannot be completely honest, then perhaps it would be best not to say anything at all instead of offering a half-truth.
Mattel should also realise that the majority of MOTUC fans are adults and we should be addressed as such. Often Mattel's interactions can come across as though you're addressing children. Some fans are immature, but the majority of fans are not.
Honesty and respect should be the cornerstone for all of Mattel's interactions with fans.
2. Insight into MOTUC
The 4H are an incredibly talented team. I'm sure the "behind the scenes" story behind each and every MOTUC figure would be interesting to learn.
It's understandable that Mattel cannot release proto-type sketches, images, etc prior to the official announcement and reveal of the figures, but it would be great if we could learn more about the history behind each figure in the immediate period prior to the official reveal or after the official reveal.
All MOTUC fans understand that the 4H aim incredibly high and that the proto-type figures may include additional features, heads, weapons, etc that the "final" figure will not have. Provided Mattel is up-front and honest about those "missing" elements, then surely there is no harm in releasing this kind of insightful material to fans.
It would also be great to have an "explanation" of the bios and the bio artwork provided as well. When the "right" question is asked in a Q&A, there can often be some interesting insights into the bios (moreso the background for the content as opposed to information about future bios). Instead of needing to "fish" for this information, it would be great if Mattel simply provided a little "summary" of where certain elements of the bio came from and what stories/ideas inspired the new MOTUC "canon" in the bios.
It can be incredibly frustrating reading 15+ assorted Q&As only to see the same question asked over and over again and to read the same non-response from Mattel over and over again. Would it be possible to combine all the Q&As that Mattel receives and select 15-20 questions which Mattel is able to provide "full" answers for?
It may not be something the individual websites which host Q&As will appreciate, but as a fan I know that I certainly would appreciate being able to look forward to reading interesting answers to interesting (or at least novel) questions each round.
4. Fan Polls
Obviously fan polls cannot be used for certain decisions, like character selection. But it would have been great to see a fan poll used for decisions like "flock/no-flock" for Panthor, colour scheme for Swift-Wind and "silver sword/gold sword" for She-Ra.
5. Fans = ALL Fans (US and international)
It would be great if Mattel could bear in mind that MOTUC fans aren't all located in the US. This issue primarily arises in respect of the US-based conventions (which offer exclusive products, an ability to vote on important decisions like flock/no-flock for Panthor, etc), but it has also arisen with things like King Grayskull's original packaging, Plastic-Man and the DCUC/MOTUC two-packs. Obviously it is difficult to be aware of the rules and regulations in all countries that mattycollector.com ships to, but some greater awareness of those rules and regulations and an improved effort to ensure that Mattel product is available to ALL fans would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your time.
Last edited by Haephestus; January 12, 2011 at 08:03pm.
Let the fans take more part in the figure creation, through official polls or/and through our experts! It´s a collectors line (not Matty´s line), so the collectors should take part in the decisions what they will get.
Especially because we are forced to buy what Mattel serves via the all in abo.
If it progresses the way it goes , i will not buy an abo next year( and im a hardcore collector, who normaly has to have everything). I will only buy the figures i like.
Thanx for the efforts!
Last edited by JimPansen; January 12, 2011 at 03:08pm.
Only one of anybody.
Meh, what a headache to read through this thread. Valid points and pointless whinging all round aside, I would like to try get back on topic with a comment about the actual Matty site and forums.
Now I'm not sure if this is fan relations or not (maybe Scott can actually clear this term up for us because it seems fan relations and customer service go hand-in-hand here) but Mattel have continuously said that they want more traffic for mattycollector.com. The problem is that there isn't really any incentive to go to mattycollector unless you want to buy some toys (which in itself is another whole can of worms that we are all too aware of) or browse through another forum.
After 2 years you'ld think that mattycollector would have a little more content to entice fans/customers but in my opinion this is not the case. I would like to see mattycollector really embrace fans by getting them involved via contests and such, and by having more "things to do" there.
That make sense?
I have mainly avoided this thread because I feel I might have come off the wrong way since I agree whole heartedly with a few of the earlier comments. So instead of simply quoting and agreeing with other's comments, I will try and state my own in their most simplest and purest form.
In regards to bettering "Fan-relations"...
First and foremost, the "simplest" gesture, acknowledgement, from Mattel, recognizing how this, He-Man.org community, has kept the fandom "alive" all these years when Mattel had basically chosen to forget about it, would go a long way in terms of bettering relations with the fans. Just by admitting that without us, Mattel wouldn't have this successful property, would do wonders in earning fans respect (and yes, it does go both ways: without Mattel, we wouldn't have this beloved property – but it's the fans that make Mattel the "profit" that they are after.)
I mean I just don't see why something even as small as a simple "official statement" from Mattel, cannot be made without the worry of legalities or policy? I mean, what are fans gonna do, try and sue for part of the profit that Mattel is making from this line? Come on, that would be absurd! Instead a simple statement of acknowledgement would simply clear out the "bad taste" that has been left in many fans mouths regarding Mattel's continuous "disregard" of this community's integral part of the success of their property.
Maybe they don't have to give this site something as big as an exclusive figure, maybe a simple silly little sticker of some sort, just something, anything really, because "what" it is, is not the point, it's what it would say to the dedicated community here, and it would simply say, "thank you," "thank you for sticking with this property through the dark times when we couldn't even be bothered with it." It's just like the old saying: it's not the actual gift, rather, "it's the thought that counts."
This is where Mattel really needs to take a "hard look" at their current policies and recognize that we the fans are not simply "robot consumers" eating up whatever they decide to feed us; rather we are REAL "humans" with REAL feelings, with REAL intelligence, and yes, with REAL choices and REAL money, which we will always have the option of taking elsewhere.
Another truth that Mattel could benefit from in regards to it's fan-relations, is to think about how "dining out" works: if you go out to dinner and receive great food and great service, you are very likely to frequent that particular establishment, many times over, as long as that consistency is retained; however, if you receive bad service and/or bad food, you are then, very likely to NEVER return, regardless, if it was an isolated experience, or not.
Just some food for thought.
Last edited by Neutro; January 12, 2011 at 07:08pm.
– No comment.
For the most part, I think Fan Relations are pretty good. Toyguru, you've really made a sincere effort to put yourself out there. I, for one, really appreciate that.
I have noticed, however, a tendency to needlessly create controversy, to make unnecessary blanket statements, and to be obtuse to what people are asking you.
A perfect example is the Keldor swords. Instead of constructing that whole straw man about how the swords were the Classicized versions of the Keldor swords, you could have just said that more cartoon accurate swords were not in the cards right now and that they might be something that could be done in the future. There was no need to get into it with people and ignore what they were actually asking for. At the end of the day, no one cares about the design lineage of the swords, they just want cool toys.
So, if there was something that could be done differently, I would say to avoid stuff like that and to be more sensitive to what we are asking you for.
Other than that, I 'm very happy with the line its online interactions.
I just wanted to post that I really like the reveal of the schedule for figs. I think stuff like that is good. This is the first time I have seen a Complete list of whats coming for the first 5 months. It is nice to know what reissues are comming and all. Thanks you.
-To me this is good fan relations stuff.
I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity--Edgar Allen Poe
I may get yelled at but I think (Toyguru / Matty) you are already doing more than most toy companies do for a line. There have been lots of positive changes, based on feedback on this site, everyone's memory is not quite as good as it should be.
And to make it easy for you:
1.Keep doing what you have been doing - you give lots of info - and answer questions - show packaged pic of figs - ask our opinions - and then listen.
2.I personally like knowing more of the timeline, and Guards / Faceless One slipping a month or two is not a big deal - knowing that they have a possible spot is Great!
3.Thanks 4H / Toyguru / Matty for the figures!
Last edited by CanadaClassics; January 12, 2011 at 10:16pm.
MY Feedback Thread : http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...d.php?t=191572
I forgot one more thing I wanted to note.
(What should be an obvious fact: ) Fans, in general, will never choose a "corporate" site, over a "fan" site. Sorry, but unless Big Brother has complete control over all of us, that ain't ever gonna happen.
Trust me, things are better this way, anyway.
Look at it this way: regardless of "where" exactly the majority of fans congregate, Mattel will still make its profit. Mattel will simply have a respectively higher profit margin, the happier the fans perceive themselves to be with the line. In other words, stop trying to "corporat-ize" their free, grassroots fan-site, that is, He-Man.org.
– No comment.
I think you are doing a great job trying to meet the fan's demands and there's a whole list to prove it as well, but somehow I feel that the most important issue, namely the quality of the figures themselves, keeps getting overlooked or minimized. My only real 'frustration' with this line is seeing totally awesome toys on previews and promotional shots but getting disappointed when they actually arrive because the paint apps are terrible or the figures are not put together correctly. If Mattel is a company that makes toys, their first concern should be about the quality of their product. I think this particular issue is to be dealt with before focussing on 'secondary' fan demand (like exclusives, extra heads, 200X style alternatives, mini-comics, release schedule etc).
You keep telling us that faulty figures can be replaced, but unfortunately these replacements are no guarantee that the customer will end up with a 100% satisfying product. Most of the times a replacement is alright when you are collecting loose figures, enabling you to swap the good parts and put together a decently painted figure, when you are collecting MOC for instance, this is simply not possible. Of course there will always be a minor imperfection on every figure, but considering the price of these 'adult collectibles' there's really no excuse. The fact that they are sold as adult collectibles (it's even on the package) should imply a quality that is above standard (kids wouldn't care for a bit of splattered paint or a loose ankle). It's really sad that my 25 year old Skeletor still has a better paint job than my 2010 MOTUC version (that costed 4 times more).
I have to agree with mjh that the request - to reveal these secret super-fans who work on the line - came across as with intent to discredit. But we all know how the internet works. Innocent comments are read with whatever inflection the reader feels at the time... and many an argument has been started or inflamed by such miscommunication. So I say leave them to it!
I also feel that this thread - while extremely enlightening and entertaining - has had its hostile moments, but it could ultimately become a tool for change. A tool for good things to happen with fan relations. It's clear that Scott has people above his head making work difficult to balance with being a big He-man fan. Which, let's face it, he obviously is. He needs our support and understanding, although of course it's a two-way street.
- The fact that he's currently the brand manager of our favorite line has nothing to do with that, so let's make him comfortable again instead of using this thread to gripe about the (frankly awful) customer service. He might be responsible for changing that, but he most certainly isn't the cause. We all know it's mostly DR that have issues, and we don't know the full extent of their relationship to Mattel. It's likely that Scott is powerless to break that supply contract, so is forced to do his best working out issues that they claim cause all the problems. By all means, complain about them in other threads in the hopes that things improve! But ultimately, this is a fan site and Scott should be able to come here the same as any of us and have fun.
- In response to this, Scott - you should remember that we're all adult fans of this line. We are just like you, but without your privileged position to affect change. Thus, we rely on you to stand up for our childhood memories and avoid the politics whenever you can. All we ask is that you do the best that you can, that you keep us informed, and that you don't let us down. Easy!
Get ready for a future with a magical blend of science fiction and fantasy. A brand new legend. A whole new war.
For fan relations to improve, I think we need to understand why things are going wrong.
It’s just like any family or romantic relationship: we as the fans are in a relationship here with Mattel, Toy Guru, and He-man. We love He-man but Mattel doesn’t. They use our love for He-man to get what it loves, money. Our feelings are used to manipulate us, and it hurts to see He-man neglected and used by a company that doesn’t really care for him. Mattel has imprisoned He-man in plastic, leaving him unable to live or breathe (in TV, comics, novels or film). And Toy Guru is stuck in the middle doing his best to make Mattel, the fans, and He-man happy.
But that’s impossible because to us, the relationship is founded on love, and for Mattel, it’s founded on money.
Of course some of us would love to see Val and Emiliano helping determine He-man’s future because at the very least, their hearts are in the right place. Love over money.
It’s the same thing we see every day, everywhere: we are manipulated, pressured and used by large entities that only value us as wallets, not as human beings. It’s one thing when Walmart treats us that way, but when it concerns He-man, something so dear to our last memories of innocence and magic and wonder, we’re going to be that much more hurt. And so the anger……
So I think the best thing Scott can do for fan relations is understand why things are dysfunctional, and understand us. We are here trying to communicate in a relationship with Mattel, who has basically given us the silent treatment. Scott tries to communicate as best he can, but his tongue is held, and the corporate speak doesn’t ring true. Our hearts know better. Mattel’s cash register can’t understand that.
I'm pretty new to this site so I don't know much of the behind the scenes politics so I can't speak to that but given TG's original question I'm going to voice pretty much the same opinions as have already been stated. Yeah I might not voice anything new but I want to show that a lot of us fans think the same way.
As others have said I think the access that we get between the monthly Q&As and the appearance of Toy Guru on these boards is pretty good. (Speaking of which how does a new message board sign up to be able to submit questions for the monthly Q&A?)
What I would like to see is a professional Public Relations person answer the questions. I go to a Lego board where a Lego PR person would get on and answer the questions that were posted by members in a dedicated ask Lego forum. He would also correct some of the misinformation that was floating around on the boards. The environment was usually professional and civil because the message board knew that it had something special in having that PR person as a resource. I have nothing against Toy Guru but he's the Brand Manager and I think a PR person would be able to manage the responses and information a little better. Let him oversee the brand and let a professional handle the release of info.
In terms of driving people to the Matty forums, I think that's going to be a tough sell as the forums are now. I haven't been on there in a while but the red background and the lack of a separation between the post and the signature was very offputting to me. Also, I tend to stay away from corporate message boards because businesses typically don't want critical reviews of their products or even mentions to other companies. In general, I feel like I'm walking on eggshells. Fan based forums like the org are much more relaxed and more fun to be on.
Also, the way that sales are handled keep me off the mattycollector site both the forum and the shop. If there's nothing to buy any other day than the designated sale day then I don't go to the site. And even when I'm on the site the WSOD makes me disgusted that I even have to be on there at all. I see more and more people saying that they are buying off of e-tailers sites just because the extra cost is worth it to them to stay off the mattycollector site on sale day. My suggestion for getting people to the site and forums is to announce in the forums when you are going to release the held back customer service stock. At random times during the day and week announce that in 30 minutes the remaining stock of Grizzlor is going on sale. People would at least hang around and lurk on the forums to get wind of the announcement and maybe even post as they are waiting around.
Some people have said that people shouldn't bring up issues about customer service when the question was what is Mattel not doing for the fans. Well from a business standpoint what good is a fan if they are not customers as well, and who is buying the toys if not for a fan. Fan and customer should really be interchangeable in this discussion. Personally I don't have a whole lot of complaints but that's only because I think I've been pretty lucky. The WSOD is my only complaint but the last few months have been better for me so maybe something is being done to end the horrendous wait times and sell outs.
I've waited a few days to respond to this, and I have a couple ideas...
1) If you want to drive people to your site, you have to have something to draw them in... give aways might help
2) If you want to improve fan relations, before you announce that you've upgraded the site, arrange for a massive beta test instead of finding out during a release. You could get a lot of fans to hit the site at once and they would feel a lot more confident about things...
3) Reward fans for attending things... simply coming to the con used to be good enough, but if you can't get exclusive items, it's a huge negative. Two years ago was the art book fiasco. Last year you made it so that you could preorder some of the items. Find a way to reward the people who come to your panel (possibly with a free gift card to mattycollector with random values between $5 and $50 similar to what sideshow does... just mark their badges so they only get 1 and away you go (yes I know some people have more than 1 badge)). That way fans who took the time to stand in line to get into your panel are rewarded with more than a powerpoint presentation.
On the issue of improving customer relations, as a UK based He-man fan I still feel the MOTU classics line over the past 2 and a half years is more geared towards the american fanbase than as a worldwide fan base.
With SDCC and NYTF every year, DCU vs MOTU 2 packs available only in the USA and neighboring countries and certain figures not available due to shipping constrainsts, what is being done as Brand manager to make sure other countries are fully aware of matty collector.com, that MOTU classics is fully explored within these countries to help garner further support in this ongoing expansion.
I am aware that mattel has offices and bases in other countries, why do they not have the equivalent of yourself doing the same job to make sure that those who want your products can get them with the same ease as US fans without resorting to second hand methods or paying premium prices?
Whilst i know mattycollector.com and other avenues of exposure like Toyfare are international, i cannot believe that the US vs the rest of the world are your main consumers
Thanks for listening
Making sure the vintage line is fully reproduced in the classics line
Positive trades; Nightcraw
I am back from my snowboarding trip and what do I see here...some interestings words I see!
I have not read the whole thread yet and am only replying to the specifics of what Toy Guru said with regards to me personally.
I am delighted you thought it was good enough to use to help launch the brand and it's not about giving me a credit. It's about an attitude and a certain level of coolness that is lacking here. A small gesture like a free figure to say thanks would've been nice for instance. Talk to me or any one of us about the art would've been warranted. I did email you about this matter with limited or no responce. I repeat it's not about credit.
Yes, it is your character but the I should've been asked first purely out of respect if nothing else.
This is the crux of this whole matter. No one wants a credit.
What we want is respect and a sense of fair play.
I understand things can get lost in the panic and you may need to sidestep etc. I am quite a reasonable fella and understand that you amy have simply wanted to avoid all the legal palava. Keep it all "@Mattel" and all that jazz. You do outsourse and it's still all '@Mattel'.
We are all professionals here.
I personally feel there should be a level of mutual respect.
If anything you would have a lot less stress having us on the books as it were.
Last edited by Eamon; January 17, 2011 at 06:05pm.
Selected art prints now available: