Ask Jakks is back and we have an extended round with Craig Drobis, trying to make up for some lost time in-between Q&A’s. Craig Drobis is the SVP of Marketing for boys action figures and collectors for Jakks Pacific. Craig will be answering your questions for all Ask Jakks submissions. ToyHypeUSA will be sending him monthly questions and we will have your answers back on or around the beginning of each month. Send us your questions to [email protected]. Send in your questions by January 31st, 2021.
Update – Next month’s submissions are already closed. But please still send them in for the possibility of getting your question answered for a future Ask Jakks. We do go back and look at unanswered questions first, before looking at new submissions.
- Will there be vehicle for the Sonic 4″ and 2″ line like the Tornado and Egg Mobile?
Those are some good ideas and definitely something for us to consider. Right now there are no plans for them in those scales. I believe if we were to do vehicles, it would likely make the most sense in the 2.5” scale, as we are able to develop a great looking product at a reasonable price. The challenge for us has to do with the figures, as we are put in a position of either having them be molded in the vehicle to get them to sit properly or take some pretty significant sculpting liberties with the waist in order for the figure to sit in the vehicle and be removable Then of course, other figures might not be able to fit. You will see with the Spin Out Mario Kart vehicles which should be available very soon that we went the route of molding the figures into the karts to have them look and perform properly.
- What other video Game characters that Jakks would like to make that isn’t from Nintendo and Sega?
Well, that is a very long list, at least for me personally. I can’t name many names, as we do look for opportunities to grow with new properties, some of which may currently have toy partners and they don’t need my help to sell their product. I too am a fan and know there are a ton of great games from my childhood when Nintendo and Sega also had among the best games, but there were a lot from Atari and Midway which would look great sitting on my desk. In addition, there are many games out now or have launched in the last few years which have both have a big fan base for the game and the potential for figures. The Apex Legends figures we launch at the end of last year look great and we are happy to add them to the line.
- Will there be a Sonic 3-pack like in the Mario line?
This is certainly something that is of interest to us and something we have discussed internally. More to come, but I think you will like the answer.
- Will there be more Star Fox figures like Krystal?
There are no plans for additional Star Fox characters this year.
- The Super Mario toy line has been disappointing many fans lately due to the extreme numbers of repaints or common characters and a lack of variety. The 2 latest 2.5” waves and the next wave all have only 2 new figures per wave and are all Mario, Luigi and Yoshi repaints (with the exception of Jumping Mario, which is a new pose). These variants don’t excite us as we already have these powerups as other figures (Fire Mario already has Fist Bump and Standing, why do we need him Holding Hat). Could you explain why we’re receiving so many repaints many fans don’t care for instead of newer figures that would have a heavier demand? I know the general idea is that “Mario and his friends sell better than other characters”, but there are still dozens of Fire Mario holding Hats sitting at my Walmart checkout, while newer characters like Lemmy Koopa and enemy variations, such as Light-Blue Shy Guy and Eep Cheep, are wiped out. It appears there really is little to no demand for these Mario and Luigi repaints, so why are they still being produced? I realize that there is a demand for Mario and Luigi, but not on this level. Newer figures of a wider variety of enemies, bosses and female characters would do well on the shelves as we’ve seen with other toy lines, or even retools or repaints of not Mario or Luigi characters would be acceptable (Pink and Purple Yoshi are still needed in 2.5”, Yellow and Purple Toad, Toad Powerups, Green Paratroopa, remove Spike Top’s spike for a Buzzy Beetle). If you want to stick to Mario so badly, maybe have some new powerups for him? We lack a Small Mario, who you spend nearly half of your time playing Mario games as.
There are variety of factors and approvals that go into every wave we release and while everyone has their favorites, we pay very close attention to which figures we release and the rate of sell through. We do manage both the character selection and the ratio they are in a master carton to maximize the sell through so individual characters don’t back up and the next wave can follow on time. We want to appeal to a broad audience which includes both longtime fans and new ones who want to start with a red and blue Mario. Sales have been great, as more fans are finding the product and retailers are supporting the brand. This gives us more opportunity to expand the offering. Jakks continues to invest in new figures, playsets, vehicles, and more every season to keep everyone excited about the brand. There is more to come, but it won’t be at the pace you would prefer. We do share all this feedback and use it in our decision making. Some of the above notes have been shared before and I think you will see that we are listening and they will find themselves in future waves along with Mario and Luigi.
- We have 2.5” figures, 4” figures and playsets for the Mario line, but have you ever thought of diving in to producing vehicles? Bowser Jr’s Clown Car is a big need for many. What about a 4” scale Mario Kart figure line featuring 4″ characters with their karts, similar to the fan-favorite Mario Kart 64 ToyBiz line. A 4” Mario Kart line is an idea with very little competition, I believe it would do very well.
Vehicles in the Mario universe are obviously very integral and something we are trying to solve. As noted above on the Sonic question, the range of motion of the legs that our current figures have isn’t made to have many of them sit down and the sacrifices in the design to do it are significant. The Spin Out Mario Karts with Mario and Luigi will be arriving very soon and we think will be something that will be very appealing and the start of something more in the 2.5” scale. As noted, the 2.5” scale is really the best way to deliver a great figure and vehicle product at a reasonable price for us right now.
- Have you ever considered doing a fan poll for certain characters? Maybe every year or so, you do a poll with fans asking which out of a list of popular characters should be produced? Then, a year or 2 down the line once the poll is over and figures are produced, we would see them on store shelves!
I like this idea. There are several things we would need to get aligned in order to be able to do this. No promises, but I do like it.