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Author Topic: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?  (Read 1587 times)

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Offline flutterscotch

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2018, 01:42:16 AM »
But then it got into the core 7 rubbish and since then it's been a downhill slide.

Oh I know the answer to that one, because I was there, in a Q&A session during the tour of Hasbro's headquarters at the 2008 MLP fair.

THAT was directly because the marketing people at Hasbro at the time were relying exclusively on market research. "Little girls play this way, they want the same characters over and over again". They actually were a handful of women in their 20s and 30s with absolutely no vested interest in ponies.  They had no nostalgic ties whatsoever so did what their test market, which involved bringing children in to observe them play. They just did some testing and decided to completely overhaul.

What kind of children want to be involved in MLP marketing, and what kind of parents are likely to bring their children in for field marketing for a mid-2000s toy line that has been stereotypically girly, in New England?  That's right, people who have children who do, or are being pushed into fairly traditional gender roles.  Kids who are already fans of toy lines that that's baked into. Your SSC knockoffs, your Baby does whatevers.


Hasbro has always, ALWAYS done this crap with MLP.  From its very inception where Bonnie Zacherle pitched the concept, to a handful of years into the first line, and it always ends up the same. With Hasbro thinking:

"Hmmmm little girls really want to be mothers to the same group of tiny pastel horses over and over again".

The My Little Pony Mommy commercials were what made me stop collecting ponies the first time around.  8 year old me went: "Where was my excitement and adventure and magic and why are we supposed to pretend this is a Cabbage Patch Kid".

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2018, 01:59:41 AM »
You know, going off the marketing thing, do the sales departments actually see which ponies of a set sell?
Sure, we say that we see all of the non-mane6 characters flying off the shelves, but the stores don't list each individual character within a given set as a separate product. They're all under one label.
All Hasbro sees is that so many Pearly Ponies sold, or so many Ribbon Haired sold. If they put out surveys or asked kids directly at events such as HasCon if they'd prefer Mane6 or other characters, I'm sure they'd see that there is a shocking lack of diversity.
Sure, kids love to play with some characters...but they also like others? Not every kid is going to prefer the same pony, and it's nice to have a variety of characters to pick from.
Kids also like to have blank or open-ended characters. If you ever take the time to watch the pony toy series kids put up on youtube, there's no end of Fluttershys with cut hair to be "Butterscotch", the romantic interest of the show. There are lots of Raritys with cutie marks painted over and hair marker-colored to be the snooty bully. It looks to me like kids are dying to get non-mane6 characters to help play out their scenarios!
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Offline Leave a Whisper

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2018, 04:51:22 AM »
But then it got into the core 7 rubbish and since then it's been a downhill slide.

Oh I know the answer to that one, because I was there, in a Q&A session during the tour of Hasbro's headquarters at the 2008 MLP fair.

THAT was directly because the marketing people at Hasbro at the time were relying exclusively on market research. "Little girls play this way, they want the same characters over and over again". They actually were a handful of women in their 20s and 30s with absolutely no vested interest in ponies.  They had no nostalgic ties whatsoever so did what their test market, which involved bringing children in to observe them play. They just did some testing and decided to completely overhaul.

What kind of children want to be involved in MLP marketing, and what kind of parents are likely to bring their children in for field marketing for a mid-2000s toy line that has been stereotypically girly, in New England?  That's right, people who have children who do, or are being pushed into fairly traditional gender roles.  Kids who are already fans of toy lines that that's baked into. Your SSC knockoffs, your Baby does whatevers.


Hasbro has always, ALWAYS done this crap with MLP.  From its very inception where Bonnie Zacherle pitched the concept, to a handful of years into the first line, and it always ends up the same. With Hasbro thinking:

"Hmmmm little girls really want to be mothers to the same group of tiny pastel horses over and over again".

The My Little Pony Mommy commercials were what made me stop collecting ponies the first time around.  8 year old me went: "Where was my excitement and adventure and magic and why are we supposed to pretend this is a Cabbage Patch Kid".

Wow. Those women saying that don't have a clue. Sounds more like they were shoving words in kids mouths to excuse their sudden laziness.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 04:57:37 AM by Leave a Whisper »
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Offline flutterscotch

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2018, 01:04:16 PM »

Wow. Those women saying that don't have a clue. Sounds more like they were shoving words in kids mouths to excuse their sudden laziness.

I did not see one convention goer present who was not pretty annoyed with that conversation.

The attitude was "tee-hee, we don't care as long as we get bonuses this year", and the consideration that since ponies weren't one of the top tier sellers at the time that they were doing their penance in ponies and were waiting to be bumped elsewhere.  At the time they didn't have any plans whatsoever to market anything to adults either.  Funny how the tables has turned.  I sometimes wonder how those women survived the FIM early days. Maybe they moved on to Littlest Pet Shop.

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2018, 01:16:31 PM »

Wow. Those women saying that don't have a clue. Sounds more like they were shoving words in kids mouths to excuse their sudden laziness.

I did not see one convention goer present who was not pretty annoyed with that conversation.

The attitude was "tee-hee, we don't care as long as we get bonuses this year", and the consideration that since ponies weren't one of the top tier sellers at the time that they were doing their penance in ponies and were waiting to be bumped elsewhere.  At the time they didn't have any plans whatsoever to market anything to adults either.  Funny how the tables has turned.  I sometimes wonder how those women survived the FIM early days. Maybe they moved on to Littlest Pet Shop.

Judging by how the Mane Six has overwhelmed what was once an amazing and diverse brand, it sounds like they got promoted.  :pout:
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Offline Esbayne

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2018, 01:23:16 PM »
really obscure background fodder ponies like Pretzel, Pursey Pink, Flower Wishes, Lemony Gem, and Buttonbelle continue to get toys made of them.

Even those above mentioned only got one release, except Flower Wishes who I think has 2. Others like Trixie have had a couple of releases, I think...Starlight Glimmer now has a few as well. The reboot has also seen more releases for DJ Pon3 and Photo Finish...and Cheerilee has also had several releases. And we have had Soarin and Spitfire as well, who I believe are more mainstream background characters because of the Wonderbolts. So there is a B-cast line of production as well.

I don't watch the show and don't know (or really care) who most of the unproduced characters you mention are, but I totally agree with the lack of diversity in the production. I am happy to have all the fodder ones you mentioned because they are not mane 6.

Speaking as a kid who grew up with pretty much zero relationship to the G1 animation and who still considers it a thing that happened, rather than something that defines any part of G1 canon, I think it's a shame G4 is so dependent on the animation. It means the rerelease of the same characters over and over because Hasbro can use the show as an excuse to resell their stars in barely different forms rather than diversifying. It also dictates to the audience which ponies are important and which are not, as opposed to letting the kid decide for themselves. I have a lot of non-mane 6 G4 toys, and I genuinely don't know where most of them fit in, if they even do - but I'm collecting with a G1 mentality. I think the G4 mentality is to prioritise the show characters in the way the show does, so there's less concern about what gets released among G4 only fans.

But they stopped being original a long time ago. It was beginning at the end of G1 with the 7 characters (who also tied into the animation, so the blueprint for what G4 became was there in proto form even then). They went to town on it with G2 rereleases of the same characters, but as that line had no animation, it was a kind of balance between rereleased old ones in new forms and new ponies. Of course, the lack of presence in the US meant that that line was pretty much dictated by Europe.

G3 didn't begin that way, although there were some that got different pose rereleases. But then it got into the core 7 rubbish and since then it's been a downhill slide.

I think we've all discussed that ad nauseum to be honest. I don't think it's a new subject to raise that Hasbro lack diversity. If only us complaining about it on a forum like this actually made them change their approach - but it seems likely any reboot of MLP in the future will stay hopelessly tied to these six designs in some basic way or other.

Kissthethunder is right about the mould thing, I guess - although they splashed out on a ton of new moulds for the reboot so it seems crazy that they can't do better with the characters. Mind you, the new moulds are hideous...

This is my entire, exact opinion to a T!

I do hope that G5 moves on from the boring, overwhelming Mane 6 and adds diversity back into it. (along with some better designs than the really ugly, noodly new molds they're pumping out now with the 8D!!! faces...) Otherwise, as other have said, I think I will be done collecting modern MLP. I already am with G4, have been since the molds were changed and they stopped producing rando extra ponies. I picked up Skystar and that was it. Which is sad for me, kind of an "end of an era" thing, but I guess all good things have to come to an end eventually, I just hoped it wouldn't be so soon. At least I can still always collect the older gens, and I will.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 01:46:13 PM by Esbayne »
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Offline Taffeta

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2018, 01:16:34 AM »
That sounds like highly likely market research, with a complete disconnect from actual kids.

I don't remember if I ever saw a MLP Mummy commercial as a kid. I don't remember ANY G1 commercials on TV, although I have a handful of them in one form or another and I expect most of the French ones on Youtube are similar to what we had only dubbed in a different language. I have this feeling that I have seen a UK ad with that annoying jingle since, but if they happened, I paid no attention whatsoever to their attempts to gender stereotype me. My ponies got kidnapped by zombie overlords and frequently were used to deter boys from throwing our toys on the roof (Fizzy is best pony lance).

I don't ever think of MLP as a girly toy. I read all the comics, I still don't think of it that way. But there's been a conscious attempt to girlify it since G1 in more than just the adverts IMO.

I mean, how many cake shops and parties and fashion boutiques and dress ups do ponies really need?
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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2018, 02:42:25 AM »
I think the current line-up is a result of the popular "band of heroes" concept, not MLP Mommy. Nowadays kids are supposed to relate to the ponies and go "this is me!" instead of herding a bunch of children.
This had been already attempted in the 90s with MLP Tales. Imagine they would have made 30 Clovers :lol:

But the market is shifting again thanks to blind bags and Moose Toys who very aggressively brought back the "gotta collect them all" with Zelfs and now Shoppies, who are really popular despite being expensive.
So even tho MLP is Hasbro's red-headed stepchild sometimes, they need to pay attention to trends. And when kids have the option to get different collectibles or the same character over and over with little to no change, they will sooner or later gravitade towards diversity.
Because relating to a pony has a much shorter shelf life than relating to a humanoid character. I mean, unless you are a tragic adult like me who still relates to Minty after all those years :lol:

Now of course Hasbro never stops surprising me with their cheapness and laziness. So I'm not vouching for them to change anything. But just saying... the Descendants are on their last movie. Forces of Destiny flopped. They need to have something to keep their girl line strong and currently that's partially MLP (the other part is baby dolls). So they better groom those ponies a bit.
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Offline Ponyfan

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #38 on: July 13, 2018, 01:12:28 AM »
And we still don’t have brushables of Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo with their cutie marks.

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Offline flutterscotch

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2018, 01:24:20 AM »
That sounds like highly likely market research, with a complete disconnect from actual kids.

I don't remember if I ever saw a MLP Mummy commercial as a kid.

Yes, absolutely. 100% just pulling in a field testing group and calling it a day.  Bringing in kids who play that way.

This is the exact commercial where I was like WTF.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xBpbTa2LCI But I still kinda wanted Milky Way (who I thought was TAF Twilight). I wanted adventure and magic.  Not that.

A lot of it was tied to the fact that my family over and over again tried to force me into baby dolls and I just had absolutely no interest. The endless coercion, the endless being told that was what I was supposed to like.  I was not the type of little girl they wanted me to be. 

I think the current line-up is a result of the popular "band of heroes" concept, not MLP Mommy.

I was talking about the g3 Core 7 thing. That's when MLP fair did the Hasbro Headquarters tour the first time, where I experienced that product testing drivel from their marketing team.  But it seems like they keep going back to the whole "we basically need to make this SSC" with some babies thrown in.  Over and over.

I was thrilled when they released FiM and it was action based.  Because that's how I played with my ponies.  Those babies lived at Snake Mountain, which was parked right next to Dream Castle.




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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #40 on: July 13, 2018, 01:37:26 AM »
And we still don’t have brushables of Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo with their cutie marks.

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Offline Sweet Daes

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #41 on: July 13, 2018, 02:38:46 AM »
From a marketing standpoint with the end of the series coming soon, they probably want to hedge their bets about adding more "new" characters, especially if the show was not going to have the time to explore them.

For instance, Pursey Pink was released in the Explore Equestria line back in 2015, but was first shown in 2014. She had multiple background roles, and then finally got a speaking role in 2018 which makes her a lot more relevant to the show itself than Princess Gold Lily or Princess Sterling who never appeared. They were even so unsure of those that they were released in a 2-pack with either Fluttershy or Pinkie, respectively, because they would not be recognized. Adults can see a glorious alicorn princess that is unique and off the beaten path. Many kids would snub the alicorns because they wouldn't know who they were relative to the show.  At that point, Luna, Celestia AND Candace were up-front and center as THE princesses of Equestria.

They are doing the same thing they did with G3 that they decided that the current gen was toward the end of its life and then started splitting creative resources between the current run and the upcoming roll. It's not that much different from Disney coming to the end of production of a feature film while another part of the team has already started into the production of another.

The toys are also not being marked to us, so from an adolescent teen to adult's perspective it seems samey-same-same, especially with the amount of PINKIE PIE cuz she's pink and that means she SELLS BETTER TO LITTLE GIRLS.
*ahem*
From some young kids' perspective, that may not be the case, especially if they do not have the chance to collect the kit and caboodle. It's more likely that the parents have to pick-and-choose since it's the parents buying the toys and may not afford to be able to get a whole lot of them at once. That is a big factor in toy marketing toward the end of a franchise's dynasty. Holy run-on sentence, Batman. Edited for clarity.

...though if they kept adults in mind when it comes to toys they would make a lot more money...
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 02:42:09 AM by Sweet Daes »

Offline Leave a Whisper

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #42 on: July 13, 2018, 02:43:55 AM »
Not so Sweet Daes, kids enjoy diversity. But Hasbro no longer cares, because they've been pulling this crap early on and never stopped.

 My daughter and my cousin were into MH dolls and asked for specific ones,  Abby Bominable, Venus McFlytrap, Ghoulia Yelps. Not Draculara, Draculara and Clawdeen for example. Transformers and DC/Marvel has a butt ton of characters that kids go looking for.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 02:46:13 AM by Leave a Whisper »
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Offline Sweet Daes

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #43 on: July 13, 2018, 02:45:18 AM »
Not so Sweet Daes, kids enjoy diversity. But Hasbro bo longer cares, because they've been pulling this crap early on and never stopped.

 My daughter and my cousin were into MH dolls and asked for specific ones,  Abby Bominable, Venus McFlytrap, Ghoulia Yelps. Not Draculara, Draculara and Clawdeen for example. Transformers and DC/Marvel has a butt ton of characters that kids go looking for. So yes, it is too samey. MLP isn't Barbie. Nor should Hasbro treat it as such.

 I say that because of my experience in the field.

***And the fact that the show is specifically made to sell the toys of the main characters, partially for the secondary characters, but not all for the background characters.

And, to be more fair, not every franchise has a death and rebirth as often as MLP.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 02:52:44 AM by Sweet Daes »

Offline Leave a Whisper

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Re: Could the toys have a more diverse cast of characters being released?
« Reply #44 on: July 13, 2018, 02:49:40 AM »
Not so Sweet Daes, kids enjoy diversity. But Hasbro bo longer cares, because they've been pulling this crap early on and never stopped.

 My daughter and my cousin were into MH dolls and asked for specific ones,  Abby Bominable, Venus McFlytrap, Ghoulia Yelps. Not Draculara, Draculara and Clawdeen for example. Transformers and DC/Marvel has a butt ton of characters that kids go looking for. So yes, it is too samey. MLP isn't Barbie. Nor should Hasbro treat it as such.

 I say that because of my experience in the field.

And, to be more fair, not every franchise has a death and rebirth as often as MLP.


Well here's experience for you. You seem to believe that kids are only interested in characters that they recognize and that unrecognizable ones don't sell well. Yet it is KIDS, not adults, that have had 3 decades of diversity with MLP before all this bore core/mane sux nonsense.

« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 10:23:47 AM by Leave a Whisper »
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