How Figures Toy Company is Masterfully Using Social Media to Build Product Demand, and Giving Me Back My Childhood At the Same Time

by Mack Collier

If you grew up in the 1970s as I did, the odds are you owned a toy created by the Mego Corporation.  The company made its hay with dolls (today called Action Figures) and its most popular line was The World’s Greatest Super-Heroes, giving children everywhere their first exposure to characters like Batman, Spiderman and Superman.  The figures were incredibly well made and detailed for the time, including cloth costumes that could be removed (and then lost).  One of my earliest childhood memories is as a 6 year-old taking my $6 and going to TG&Y and happily spending six week’s worth of allowance on a Robin doll.  Those were the days.

And a company called Figures Toy Company is now helping me relive those days.  Last year the company announced that it had acquired the DC Comics license and would be recreating these magical Mego figures of my childhood in near perfect replicas of the originals.

I’m not sure exactly how you ‘squee’, but I think I did it back in January when I first discovered this news.  I immediately started checking out FTC’s website and social media presences  for more information on the figures, and that’s when I realized that FTC is doing a wonderful job of leveraging social media to build demand for these figures.

First, let’s consider the market for these figures.  At $25 and up, these figures aren’t for priced to sell to children, they are primarily for adult collectors, and more specifically adult collectors that are fans of Mego figures.

One of the points I make in Think Like a Rock Star is that fans want special access.  They want to go behind the scenes and get a backstage pass.  FTC has been releasing these figures in ‘Waves’ of 4 characters at a time.  In most cases, they announce the upcoming wave 6-8 months before the product officially goes on sale.

So how do you keep fans excited for 6-8 months?  By giving them special access and a look behind the scenes.  Here’s what FTC has been doing:

1 – After the initial figure wave announcement, they then show pictures of the sculpt of the figure’s head.  This gets fans excited and gives them a better idea of what the final figure could look like.

2 – Next, they’ll reveal the prototype for the completed figure, giving fans a much better idea of what to expect.

3 – The first two steps take place over several weeks, so by now it’s about a month or two prior to the expected on-sale date of the figures.  Next, FTC will post pictures on its Facebook page that show the figures being assembled in its factory:

FTCPhoto

 

4 – Finally, the figures go on sale!  Then when they arrive, delighted customers take pictures of them and send them to FTC, who then turns around and posts the pictures from its fans on its Facebook page:

FTCFans

And along the way FTC is using its Facebook page to answer any and all questions from customers, often giving them nuggets about future releases.

From a marketing standpoint, this level of transparency is exactly what fans of these figures are clamoring for.  There’s been no shortage of geeking out on blogs and forums about these figures, and fans across the board are thrilled with FTC for being so open about the process.  Giving fans better information about how the figures are made and detailing the process helps build demand for the figures.

And it’s leading to big sales for FTC.  The first wave of 4 figures were released in November of last year, and barely six months later the entire wave has sold out and the products have been retired.  The lesson here is if you have passionate fans for the products you make, give them MORE information and behind the scenes information about the products they love.  It could have a BIG impact on your business’ bottom line, as it is for FTC.

PS: Yes FTC is getting my money as well!

FTCBAts

John J. Wall May 8, 2014 at 10:59 am

Nice! It’s always fun to watch them go crazy when someone brings them into the store on “Comic Book Men”

Mack Collier May 8, 2014 at 7:59 pm

John is that the series that Kevin Smith is on? I always miss it!

John J. Wall May 8, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Yeah, you can get whole seasons on iTunes pretty cheap, it’s not like it’s all about the special effects so I don’t even spring for the HD version.

Grant June 22, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Great blog. Im suprised the products were retired so quickly after selling out

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