I had an opportunity at Botcon 2002 to sit down with Michelle Field, Director of Boys Toys Marketing for Hasbro. This is part two of the interview. If you have not already, please go to CosmicRust.com
to read part one.
: I think I know the answer to this already ... but what inspired Hasbro
to bring back G1 ... with the reissues and Heroes of Cybertron?
: I wanted to do it for a while. And I think Takara bringing them
back into their market was the inspiration for it. Because once they go and find all of the old molds and bring it out, it's much easier and cost
effective for us to bring it out in our market. We wanted to do it for a long time. Safety was a big thing and it's just efficient for us to say "Yes, we're going to go for G1" and invest money and invest time and do almost a parallel segment to Armada. So, we had to make a decision to run 2 lines at once. I think it's going to work out really well. I suspect that there is a LOT more demand for G1 than anybody at Hasbro realizes.
: The first 3 characters chosen to be reissued ... Optimus Prime, Ultra
Magnus, and Hot Rod renamed into Rodimus Major ... 2 of those are from later
in the line, from the movie. Are there any plans to release more characters
from the first year or two of the line?
: Yes, we will. Part of that is bringing out strong characters in the beginning, also what tools are available at the time. We have a list of G1 characters that we are pulling from. We're not necessarily going in any order. We're sort of doing them as we can. We will be going back to look at the first year ... definitely interested.
: Can you give us any hints about other characters that are going to be reissued ... I mean past Starscream. Past Powermaster Optimus ...
: No ... well ... I mentioned during the panel that we really, REALLY want to do Soundwave, so we're working on making that happen, but no commitments yet.
: ... and Takara is also working to put that out by the end of the year
: Right. And we're trying to do what Takara does also so as they formulate their plans we're formulating ours. So it's not even that I
know the whole line next year and I'm just not saying we're kind of taking it wave by wave. Especially since we don't have any sales to go with
on G1 here yet. So sorry, I don't have any hints for you.
: So does the choice of Toys 'R' Us ... does that have anything to do with
the fact that they have Amazon.com online? I mean the sales with
Transformers over the past few months ...
: Like Scourge for instance, sold out so quickly. Having them have that strong retail partner was a factor. Also, we can ship to Toys 'R' Us any time of the year. Wal-Mart I think has certain times of year that you can ship, which makes the planning tough. Toys 'R' Us is a little more flexible than that. And they wanted it. It's such a great destination for it. That is one of their strategies--to get the collector into the stores and look for all of the toys. They want to give it as much attention as we do. We didn't want it to be just thrown up on a shelf. We really wanted to make a statement about it. I think they are the best choice for that.
: You're giving a lot of attention to the collectors ... many of which started buying when Transformers were first introduced.
: We are trying.
: Are there any plans to go back to G1? The same characters, just a continuation or a reworking? Or even a toy line for the "War Within"
prequel that Dreamwave is doing?
: Like Aaron said on the panel, if the comic books do great.
: ... the comics HAVE been doing great!
: Yeah, the other comics have been. So it's just getting the War Within
to go down that path. We'll take a look at it. It's just that right now we're working on Armada and devoting all of our resources to that and we
have to take care of that first. But I have a feeling that it's going to do really well.
: G. I. Joe was recently added to Cartoon Network late night. Do you know
if there are any plans to bring G1 cartoons to Cartoon Network?
: I know there has been discussion. That stuff is always in negotiations. I don't know where we're at right now. I would love to see it air also. I think the G. I. Joe thing was a test run for Cartoon Network to see how much their 80's collector was watching. I don't know. We'll
see. We have interest in that as well.
: Can you give us any information about the upcoming Transformers video game?
: There will be a multi-platform video game for X-Box, Playstation and Game Cube. That will be some time next year. I think in Fall of 2003 Infograms will be releasing an Armada video game and there will be an Armada trading card game in the Spring or early Fall from Hasbro Games.
This concludes the interview with Hasbro. I hope you had as much fun reading it as we did doing it!
I want to personally thank Xybot of CosmicRust.com for coming through on short notice to do this interview. As it had turned out, TFormers.com could not attend the show until Sunday and would not be able to meet with Hasbro as the interview as originally scheduled. Were it not for him. We may not be reading this right now. Thanks man!
I also want to send out an extra special note of gratitude to Michelle Field and Paula Sacchi for listening to us and answering all of our questions. We all appreciate this more than you may realize!
Jack - TFormers.com