Monday, 11 April 2016

Nerdversity Discussion: Why the 2008 Indiana Jones toys failed

Hasbro released the Indiana Jones toy line in 2008 to capitalise on the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie. It was well received by fans across the globe and also played on the feelings of nostalgia from older fans, but eventually, it sadly died a death. Why is this? well, lets find out:

1. The Line was Oversold

One of the first major problems is that Hasbro and Lucasfilm had oversold the Indiana Jones name to stores across the globe. The line hadn't had an action figure made since 1984, but Hasbro had convinced them that the movie would be a smash hit and that the toys would fly off the shelves. It was going from some heavy contendership from Star Wars and GI Joe on the pegs, so it wasn't going to be an easy fight at all. So Indy was given a large amount of shelf space, purely based on Hasbro and Lucasfilm's speculation.

2, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was poorly received

Simply put, the movie was panned by fans and critics alike. The movie did pull some pretty decent numbers at the box office, but the hunger for toys based on the movie just wasn't there,

3. The Price of Oil

By 2008, the price of oil had gone up and that only put these action figures in a $10 price point that fans were not willing to fork out for and the prices were only going to go up from here on out, further driving the fans away.

4, Quality Control Issues

There are many figures that have sculpting issues. One figure of Indy looks more like Clark Gable than Harrison Ford and that is simply not what collectors and fans were used to. Also add to the fact that some figures were fragile and would snap taking them out the packaging. Hasbro would cite the fact they were using a new Chinese factory and they weren't up to par yet.

5. Poor Character Selection

The early waves of figures were missing vital characters that fans were wanting and mainly from key scenes from the Raiders movie. One other issue was the fact there were TWO Mutt figures in the KOTCS wave. Again, not a character that fans wanted and weren't going to buy, even on clearance.

6, Poor Vehicles and Playsets 

Going back to the 1982 Adventures of Indiana Jones playsets, we had Map Room, Well of Souls and a Cairo Market square playset, along with a horse and truck. In the 2008 line, there were 2 trucks, a troop car and an Akator playset, all designed to keep milking the KOTCS name, whilst alienating fans with a playset that fans didn't want.

7. A bad mail-away

The incentive for buy 12 3 3/4" scale figures was to collect the stickers that came with them and put them in a mailer and sent them to Hasbro, where they'd send you the above figure. It's a 4 inch scale crystal alien on a throne. With the movie proving to be a dud, noone was really interested in this kind of mail-away. 

8. The competition

It's no secret that Indy had to fight for his place on the store shelves. But with other brands like GI Joe having greater appeal, same with Star Wars, Marvel and DC, Indy just didn't have what it took to stay on the shelf. Other toys were being snapped up, added to the fact the line was riddled with bad sculpts and figures noone wanted helped push people away from Indy 

9. Good Figures came way too late.

Hasbro had finally cottoned on to the fact that noone was buying the toys and quite rightly so. By the time the later waves like Temple of Doom had hit, the line was dead anyway as noone was buying the toys and stores were reluctant to get them because they had figures that were languishing on store shelves for several months collecting dust. And below is a case listing for the Temple of Doom wave

(2) Raiders of the Lost Ark Indiana Jones (already overloaded on shelves and not a popular figure)
(1) Mutt Williams (jacket) with sword (no demand)
(2) Indiana Jones with coiled whip, pistol, rpg, in shirt (already overloaded on pegs)
(1) Indiana Jones with sub-machine gun (not much demand for)
(1) Indiana Jones
(1) Chief Temple Guard
(1) Short Round
(1) Willie Scott
(1) Temple Guard
(1) Mola Ram

10. Improvements were made too late

By the end of it's life, the line got the lifeline it needed but when it was far too late to make an actual benefit. By then, the stores were struggling to clearance the line and noone was invested in the line anymore to make it profitable. The final figures were released at SDCC in a boxed set and that was it, no more figures. 

So that's it, how the Indiana Jones toyline lived and died on store shelves. Maybe we'll see a return from Doctor Jones in the future, what with a release of the 5th movie coming soon.