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"Big Box" Sets vs "Play Sets"

Dear Strelets*R,

"Big Box" Sets vs "Play Sets". Marx has to be one of the most successful toy companies ever, and their Play Sets are extremely popular and collectable still today. One reason is that the marketing/box cover showed the customer all the excitement that they were getting inside the box. Just looking at it made you want to open it right then and start playing in the store. But, lets look at the reality.

The hard plastic figures details were nothing close to Strelets*R fine figurines standards and the hard plastic broke every time someone played with them. So what was the attraction to buy them? The Box Art made the contents look exciting, they were colorful, and they made my imagination say, "I have got to have this - now!"

The S*R Team has an opportunity here to market their Big Box Sets as collector items using the Box Art to attract new buyers. The box art for 071 - Medieval Britain is nice, but, but, but ... misses the opportunity to showcase all of the action and fun that is actually inside the box. It looks like a single set box to me. Soldiers fight, so mak'em fighting. Those Knights getting drunk and making passes at all the beutiful maidens should have been painted all over the box cover. Maybe, just maybe, heres how to improve attractiveness - and sales:

* Box art should depict the actual poses in action scenes to stir the customers imagination of what they are buying.
* Box Art title should be "Big Box - American Civil War" by Strelets*R or "Big Box - Crimean War" by Strelets*R.
* Then it should say: "You (you, you, you - Yes, you!) get the following "General Staff x 43" "Hospital Scene x 35 pieces" "French Infantry x 43" and "Russian Cavalry x 12" " in subtitles (Wow! I get all this in one Big Box!)
* Box Art should be either (1) a painting representing the sets inside, or (2) just a simple flat-mat diorama scene laid out with painted figures set on top with the words somewhere "All figures come unpainted".
* The flat-mat diorama sheet / Box Art painting should show battle field details without misleading the customer to think there are more accessories than actually in the set.
* The Box Cover / Art Work itself should be the fifth element (the 5th reason) in attracting the customer to buy the "Big Box - Your Favorite Battle All-In-One" (I may have 3 of the 4 sets already, but I just have to have that last set aaannnd this box to keep all my men in - ha, ha, ha, ha! Yes, myyyyyyyy Big Box! ha, ha, ha, ha!) or something like that ... you get the idea.

Customers like to be told what they are getting, so it should say right on the box cover "You get all-in-one Big Box Set the following ... ". That should be a real turn-on for your customers.

Truthfully, I'm just thinking out-loud, and this really is none of my business, but if I were a customer walking down the aisle, or checking the box art on my favorite mail order catalogue (most catalogues never show the actual fugurines so the cover is all you have to sell the contents), this is what would turn me on and make me want to "have it!"

If you're still not convinced, I'll leave you with another thought we used to say as kids, "Born on a mountain, raised in a cave, fighting, drinking, and loving (and toy soldier collecting) is all we crave!" Show something exciting like this on the cover, and I'll be curious enough to buy it!

Happy Toy Soldier Dreaming!

Re: "Big Box" Sets vs "Play Sets"


Re: Re: "Big Box" Sets vs "Play Sets"

Hi Hank,

Good to hear from you.

If what you say is correct, I would rather see a mix of 2 sets for each side of a conflict in a Big Box. In today's dollars, I think a kid has a pretty good chance of getting his father to pay out $35-40 on an "impulse purchase" for a complete Big Box battle set. But it would be difficult to get Dad to pay out $70-$80 for 2 Big Boxes representing one side each of a conflict. Instead of 2 Big Boxes for a complete battle, a kid may be forced to choose 2 single set boxes (USD $20) so he has both sides, and it makes Dad happier - durn!

I hope someday the S*R Team re-considers making Accessories such as the Great Redoubt or Trenches to also include in the Big Boxes, along with a new Command set, so we get 2 new and 2 old sets.

What would really be great would be a Big Box with 4 completely new sets in it! (hint, hint)

As for me, I use 2 mail order sellers in the U.S. The 071-Medieval Britian set sells for USD $35-$37.95, less discounts, no tax, plus S&H. Thats roughly a 13% to 23% discount (almost a free box) depending on the shipping, and I don't have to drive anywhere burning up gasoline.

I always buy 12 or more Cavalry and Infantry sets I really like, but only 2 or so Command sets, so I'll cut back my first set purchases by 2 or more and wait for the Big Box Command sets to build up my numbers. No problem for me.

But, who knows. Great talking to you. Now it's your turn again!

Dads and hobbies

Dear Dave + forum type parents

Your dad scenario doesn't mention that the dads (who are big kids, most are anyway) get as much enjoyment as anybody out of this type of purchase. He will probably spend a little more as a result.
We love our children and sometimes we have to buy things that do not strike a chord with us. Begrudging indulgence that we parents believe will be karmicly repaid. The Ipod or Playstation comes out of the "community chest" so less for 1/72nd scale figures for big kid dad.
The slightest inkling that offspring are remotely interested in this hobby of ours should be rewarded by the kind of over weaning normally bestowed on child prodigies or baby pageant beauty queens.

I suppose what I am saying is don't skimp on your sons' or daughters' hobbies if they happily coincide with yours, it won't last so give him/her that bit extra. They deserve it for such intelligence and discernment.

Psst-when they grow out of it you get the figures anyway and these escape wifey's attention or alimony (I think is what it is called in the US). A good argument btw for kids to use with dads who are reluctant to part with their money. The Alimony Ploy is a good gambit but the timing has to be good and not to be used if mom and dad still hold hands or wear matching clothes or say "I love you" more than once a year.
In the end adults are likely to be customers or purchasers of the big box whether it is for a kid or not. The info and appeal of the box has got to be a big factor affecting sales.