Having been in the hobby industry of nerds for the last 20 years and a life long fanboy of all things geek before they were chic, its been an incredible ride to see all those childhood escapes come to the forefront of popularity. These were brands that at time I’m sure were to be simply a one-and-done wonder that simply followed the standard product lifecycle which eventually dribbles into obscurity, but now seen as icons and old gold. You hardly see the reruns that burned these brands into the brains of bumbling boys and girls. Its more reboots which honestly never really hold a candle to the originals for some reason.
Unsurprisingly, some of the biggest business acquisitions in recent memory in addition to tech is entertainment holdings companies for the stable of brands. I’m talking not only in the Mouse’s purchases of Fox, Lucas, and Marvel, but also of Hasbro’s pickup of Entertainment One. The thing that tipped me off on the license grab bag dash was the fact that Hasbro now owns the Death Row Records with the IP collection that is eOne. A traditional toy company really has no need for such a brand, but its valuable nonetheless.
It’s the mental real estate that they’re after. These big companies understand that that nestled deep down in the neurological nexus of the pre-internet children is a dry wood tinder that can light at the slightest flicker of a brand blaze.
And its limited.
I asked my kids, and outside of the few titles that I’ve tried very hard to get them into (someone should pay me for this), they essentially shrugged their shoulders and continue to watch whatever spoon fed content was coming in from YouTube. Brand loyalty seems to be disappearing with the newer generation. Ask kids now if there are brands that they’re loyal to and its more personalities than a carefully crafted and calculated brand. Personalities are hard to cash in on as the volatility is too extreme unlike the control of rock solid IP.
How’s anyone’s investment in Kevin Hart after ousting from the Oscars, or internet personalities PewDiePie or Logan Paul after the controversy they stirred? Most traditionally built companies would be wise to steer clear as bigger bank rolls make for bigger targets.
‘Where are we headed?’ is the riddle that keeps me excited. Will my kids grow up to look at YouTube as the next Marvel, or will it get ‘MySpace’d? I can’t think of any brands directed to kids that stay relevant as they get older as more and more strategies revolve around hyper focusing on the segmentation of KGOY. Can you think of any memorable original titles and features from 2000’s to now that can achieve the 20,25,30 year anniversaries that so many 80’s and 90’s brands are celebrating ? Its a tad depressing that we still cling to these dinosaur brands, and its sadder to think that my kids won’t have any decent original brands they can claim for their generation.