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Mattel Disney Pixar Diecast CARS: Dreaming of San Diego Comic Con 2009

As 2009 approaches, we know it’s going to be an amazing CARS year … “The Golden Age” of CARS … In anything, the question is “What is NOT coming out in 2009?” 🙂

You just have to look at the artistry and quality of production of a character that drives through about 30 frames in the film CARS:

Revel and appreciate this and that you are able to collect this line … (look at the detailing down to the bolts that hold the tire rims) … and all at an affordable price. Okay, it would be nice to find some or any on the store shelves but this post isn’t about channel logistics … this is about the Super Bowl of toys (& film & comics), the San Diego Comic Con.

It is also the Super Bowl that you get to play on the field … in fact, if you can imagine a Super Bowl crowd milling on about 4 football fields long – that is SD Comic Con. It’s way too crazy, way too crowded but you don’t want to miss a minute of it.

Last year, Mattel offered the cheapest and best deal at Comic Con, the unbelievably priced Lightning Storm McQueen at $15 … hell, there were people selling display stands for $20 … 🙂

It’s no wonder Mattel sold out of the 5,000 Comic Con Lightning Storm’s in 3 days and could have sold about 5,000 more if the booth line wasn’t backed up to TJ.

I’m sure when they started planning for SDCC in early 2008, they were thinking – no way is this CARS thing going to keep going – we better just dip our toe in this thing … so while they went all out in giving us $40 worth of value for $15, we expect SDCC 2009 to affirm the design and financial might of CARS.

It’s time to raise the bar for 2009.

SDCC is the place to bring the A game and even in not great economic times, it is THE place for a toy company to show off their artistic might and even their financial might to show off how they are hooked up and show off something that is off the hook!

SDCC is the place to build buzz for your line not just with the fancore base but also with the press, with retailers and of course, your industry colleagues.

And of course, 85,000 people don’t just show up in SD just to show up – they are there to BUY, BUY & BUY. And so, while Lightning Storm at $15 was great for a few thousand people and $75k for Mattel in three days – people were ready to spend a lot more at Mattel … nothing wrong with some low end $15 items like a swinging McQueen with Sheriff diorama …

Or a Ransburg McQueen with real rubber tires … that’s all good but SDCC is the place to go big …

Tunerz set with headlamps and bottom lights? $49 – and DJ is a tiny speaker so you can hook up your iPod? Call it $60?

Dinoco Display with working lights and 4 Showgirls? $49 (I think if you can fit a red nose that lights up on Rudolph, adding a couple light stands should be easy).

Or how about a Drive-In playset screen where you can park your CARS and watch CARS? You can go either way, add a real working video screen (with video inputs so you attach a portable DVD player) or something where you can slide in your iPhone or iPod …

Speaking of which, SDCC is the perfect place to launch the Apple Hauler & Pit Row setup.

(custom photos courtesy of Aroldo Pongetti)

Just as with the Apple CAR (Mac iCar) available in the Speedway of the South set, there is NOTHING preventing Mattel from selling an Apple CAR – just two things.

They do just have to go back and get an extra level of approval (as they do with Dale Jr.*) so there’s no point in constantly going back to get approval for some little thing when more importantly …

It’s very clear people are willing extra to a great deal extra for the Mac iCar. So, why not take advantage of that at the best venue and situation – at a fancore & industry show where every person attending is commited to spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars. They are in a spending mood so why not get a few extra dollars.

It’s clear that the Mac iCar Piston Cup racer will not only fetch more than $3.50 but we have seen it selling by itself for over $250 dollars … (okay, clearly the audience pool of people willing to pay $250 for an Apple car is very limited and of course, there is sort of a ceiling people are willing to pay for one diecast car) … but why not just close the deal at once … go to Apple once to get approval for the big kahuna diorama – the Mac iCar, the Apple hauler, the Crew Chief and two pit crew … sure, there’s a little more on the licensing fee but as a set in a nice display box, this could easily sell for $60 or more at SDCC.

To further close the deal, say its the last time the Mac iCar will be available and/or cap the set production at a nice amount that is hugely profitable for Mattel but also attainable … not only will this cause a riot at SDCC, this will generate buzz on a national level for the entire CARS line and bring in thousands of new fans … (in case you hadn’t noticed, Apple, Macs, iPhones & iPods tend to generate millions of dollars of free publicity).

Bottom line – this will be the item EVERYONE will want at SDCC 2009.

And as noted, Mattel could even use this as a springboard to create additional iPhone/iPod items like a Drive-In playset or DJ as an iPod “speaker,” both high margin and attention grabbing items that retailers love.

CARS is one of the few toy lines where the audience is more than willing to commit to paying a high cost out of pocket as long as the quality is there. How many other toy lines can sell out a $299 item in 2.5 hours and right now, 7 months later, the going price on ebay is still on average – $1,300 (Motor Speedway of the South)? … Or as we noted in our previous post, there are no exclusive or limited CARS items not selling for less than 3 to 10 times it original price. So, this is a committed and high value customer base … and SDCC 2009 is the perfect time and place to showcase that.

There are also not a lot of lines where customers are begging the manufacturer to make and sell them more stuff 🙂 … but not any random thing – but items for the 1:55 line. So, instead of futilely trying to get us to buy non-canon RC Cars, non-canon spiral tracks or Macks carrying a town, how about some $49-$100 items for the 1:55 scale line? And what better venue than SDCC, the fancore is there, the industry is there and the press is there … so instead of making just $75,000 from CARS in 3 days, how does $1 million sound?

This is the alternative …

See you all at SDCC and I’ll have my Ben Franklin’s ready to spend … will it be at Mattel or elsewhere? 🙂

Thanks again Aroldo Pongetti, for the amazing & great Apple car & hauler customs – thanks for sharing! More photos coming in a few days in a separate post!

** Dale Jr. & Apple seem to be the only licensees requiring extra approval (the other possible ones like the auto manufacturers, Bob Costas/Cutlass, The King/Richard Petty, etc, etc … clearly signed the more general contract permitting them unlimited usage for the agreed upon payment, etc, etc …)

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