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Kirk Bozigian Battleplan G.I. Joe: Special Weapons And Tactics Panel

Kirk Bozigian the product manager for the G.I. Joe "A Real American Hero" line, was on hand giving a panel about his work at Hasbro. The panel entitled Battleplan G.I. Joe: Special Weapons And Tactics, was outstanding and gave the fans the blue print on what made G.I.Joe such a major success in the 80's, and what went on behind the curtain at Hasbro.

Check out images of Kirk Bozigian Battleplan G.I. Joe: Special Weapons And Tactics after the jump.
 
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Kirk Bozigian Battleplan G.I. Joe: Special Weapons And Tactics Panel

Kirk Bozigian Battleplan G.I. Joe: Special Weapons And Tactics Panel - GI Joe News
PFunk:
Solid game plan. Why aren't they dusting it off?

Exclusives with the Flag Points would be awesome.
c_money_collins:
Pretty cool to see that stuff. Remember, they didn't have powerpoint either.
B and H Comics:
Too bad, todays Joe brand manager doesnt listen to those "old geezer" and their old ways. ...because the "new high fangled way" to market toys sucks.
Nirvana:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PFunk View Post
Solid game plan. Why aren't they dusting it off?

Exclusives with the Flag Points would be awesome.
To be fair, they tried to do something similar once during 25th with "Rescuing" Doc if you bought 6(?) CPs and mailed in the money. The first run didn't have enough to cover all of the requests, the second run (with a change in the forearms, no less) was mostly overstock afterwards because the offer expired so most people didn't send in for one after the cut-off. The excess ended up in the Club's store.
neapolitan joe:
Thank You, Sir.
PFunk:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirvana View Post
To be fair, they tried to do something similar once during 25th with "Rescuing" Doc if you bought 6(?) CPs and mailed in the money. The first run didn't have enough to cover all of the requests, the second run (with a change in the forearms, no less) was mostly overstock afterwards because the offer expired so most people didn't send in for one after the cut-off. The excess ended up in the Club's store.
Sounds (to me) like poor execution of a good idea.
CG76:
They should teach this at business school.
cardensb:
I asked Kirk if he would release his presentations for us. He said he would figure out how to post someplace.
ucsf:
Quote:
Originally Posted by B and H Comics View Post
Too bad, todays Joe brand manager doesnt listen to those "old geezer" and their old ways. ...because the "new high fangled way" to market toys sucks.
They are listening, look at Micro Force and Kre-O. Todays Hasbro managers still asking questions of Mr. Bozigian, and yeah, some things are coming to live. he has great things in his mind, and what worked in the eighties, would still work in most cases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CG76 View Post
They should teach this at business school.
I remember that he told the guys of one of the podcasts (sorry that I forgot which was it), that he is doing some sort of teaching.


Well, this could have been an amazing panel, I'd really love to meet with this fantastic person who likes this brand more than it is possible. I really like all the oldschool stuff that was going on in the vintage era and Mr. Bozigian is such a cool man with lots of mindblowing ideas.

There's so much to learn from the original creators and workers...
sbartek1974:
And so this strategy can't work today with GI Joe???
Hellion42:
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbartek1974 View Post
And so this strategy can't work today with GI Joe???
Not while panel #9 is full of delicious irony.
Steevy Maximus:
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbartek1974 View Post
And so this strategy can't work today with GI Joe???
To be fair, that battle plan was developed and executed in a VASTLY different market climate.
Bear in mind that MANY of the top brands of the era executed on many of the same tenants, and many today's top brands don't (or present the ideas in dramatically different ways).

I think the biggest thing is that in the 80s, GI Joe was positioned as THE military toy, a genre that no longer as luster it did in the 80s into early 90s. The nature of advertising has changed, instead of half a dozen channels airing a common batch of syndicated programming at the same time daily or Saturday mornings, you have DOZENS of channels targeting the same demographic at varying times throughout the week, not to mention the rise of instant digital access.
ShazamWow:
I wish I could have been able to attend the panel to listen to Mr. Bozigian in person!

It's definitely an overall strategy that I think could work as it did years ago. The only problem is that the current toy industry operates on what seems to be a very short attention span. It seems like toy companies are less willing to support long term development of brands these days.

During a recent What's on Joe Mind? episode, Mr. Bozigian spoke about current toy industry strategies that largely hinge on building toylines licensed from media such as movies. I agree with him that such an approach is backwards.

The success of such toys depend on the media property doing well as well as attracting the attention of the target market. Even if the media property succeeds at the box office, it doesn't guarantee success of the toyline. So when the toys don't do well, the toy company drops support of the line and moves onto the next "hot" property instead of hunkering down and re-evaluating what they could do to improve sales.

Toys should be toys first and then be supported by media to promote the brand and spread brand awareness, not the other way around.
arch2b:
whoa, there... that means working more to make money and counter to the business model today. i completely agree, i just think it's expecting to much for the current business model to consider building a brand vs. short term profit off of existing brands. it's really a shame in my opinion when the designers, etc. are so passionate about a brand and produce some good work only to have the business end muck it up.

i loved the 'rescue doc' mail in. unfortunately, they didn't handle even that task so well. i'd love to see that expanded to cover groups vs. making them club exclusives.
doomed huh:
Those slides look awesome. I'd really like to see the whole presentation. maybe it will show up on youtube or something.
PFunk:
Mr. Bozigian is currently a member of the faculty at Providence College's MBA program.
ponygt:
Wow that is cool! I love to see these insights behind the ARAH line from the men and women that put them into action
True it is a different market , but if only half of that list was put into action then we fans would benefit and hasbro would see results!
vermillion21:
Wow ... this looks like it was a great panel presentation.
Troynos:
Only 2 pages? This should have more discussion.

Great stuff. Really love seeing the history of the Joe brand and how/why things were done.

Really wish had been able to go to see him speak.
Shock Viper:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steevy Maximus View Post
To be fair, that battle plan was developed and executed in a VASTLY different market climate.
Bear in mind that MANY of the top brands of the era executed on many of the same tenants, and many today's top brands don't (or present the ideas in dramatically different ways).

I think the biggest thing is that in the 80s, GI Joe was positioned as THE military toy, a genre that no longer as luster it did in the 80s into early 90s. The nature of advertising has changed, instead of half a dozen channels airing a common batch of syndicated programming at the same time daily or Saturday mornings, you have DOZENS of channels targeting the same demographic at varying times throughout the week, not to mention the rise of instant digital access.
Bottom line is they spent less on making their presence now than before. In our current technology it is much easier to advertise than before, imagine sending electronic brochures of your coming line, creating video ads and posting it on youtube (its free) and you don't have to wait for it as in during the advertisement in a tv show, even the simplest the cross sell. Where are the brochures with the vehicles like they did before? Marketing in these days are much easier than before, today you create a website and you'll have a global presence. If these old geezers were working today they would have a field day!
Buzzetta:
1 - I agree with those above - dust this plan off
2 - Hasbro is performing like a vacuum on all levels with all lines recently. The 2012 Star Wars debacle should be taught as how to kill a line.
3 - They need to figure something out. I recently fiercely weeded my plastic crack collection and not a single Cobra survived. Just a handfull of Joes.

What is Hasbro doing to bring my interest back into the line during off movie years?

They seem to continually knock it out of the park when it comes to Transformers. The teams need to do whatever it takes at this point. GI Joe is an inhouse property and should be made a higher priority.
Troynos:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shock Viper View Post
Bottom line is they spent less on making their presence now than before. In our current technology it is much easier to advertise than before, imagine sending electronic brochures of your coming line, creating video ads and posting it on youtube (its free) and you don't have to wait for it as in during the advertisement in a tv show, even the simplest the cross sell. Where are the brochures with the vehicles like they did before? Marketing in these days are much easier than before, today you create a website and you'll have a global presence. If these old geezers were working today they would have a field day!
So why don't we see that for toys? Nothing from Playmates, nothing from Hasbro, nothing from Mattel, nothing from Jazwares, Jakks or any of the other companies.

If it's that simple and works, why aren't we seeing it from everyone?


Could the reason be that it's not that simple or that it doesn't work?



BTW, ever see this?

GI Joe: Rise of Cobra - New Toy Commercial - YouTube

A Rise of Cobra toy commercial. Apparently it didn't work.



Could and should Hasbro be doing things differently? Yes. That's obvious. But I tend to think the people that get paid to do this for a living, and have the education and have conducted the studies, probably know more about it then we do.
fireflyguy:
I've listened to an interview with Kirk on both the Flag Points and WOJM podcasts, and he is so interesting! I love his stories and his matter-of-fact attitude.
ilzuccone:
nice. thanks for posting.
theprocess:
Those are all excellent ways to make a successful brand...and then what happened?
TheRealDubya:
That's an awesome PPT. Lot of insight. I'd love to hear/view the presentation.
Stygian:
I see nothing in Kirk's 'battle plan' that doesn't make marketing sense regardless of the retail climate or era. Their problem then was one of establishing a brand that hadn't seen prominence since the 60's. Their problem now is in re-orienting that brand- thankfully already well known to an entire generation- so that it remains relevant to today's much more savvy kid audience. An audience raised on reality TV, a 24 hr a day news cycle which broadcasts military skirmishes of all varying degrees of reality constantly, violent and often depressing video games, and all manner of cynical worldview spewing from every corner of the internet, movies, and television shows. In other words, an audience not so easily deceived by the simplicities of 80's era Joe.

But that doesn't make it an impossible brand to sell. Just look at the popularity of the movies as a sign post of the amount of 'steam' left in this property. I think using Kirk's plan in a 'back to basics' way could really help re-uplift the brand. Look at the newly minted re-success of TMNT, with a mega-popular toy line and cartoon show. That property is no less culturally significant than Joe- although does have a slightly easier path to tread based on its already kid-friendly themes and portrayal- and Joe can totally be back on top with the right vision.

I really think Hasbro needs to bring back the old school marketing biggies like Kirk (if he's not still tied to Hasbro in this way already) and see if they can help re-invigorate the toys. Incorporate elements of the movieverse yes, but also create a viable cartoon, comics, online content, video games, etc. Basically copy the success of what's working for TF and make that work for Joe. It admittedly won't be a 1/1, but the same kid/adult audience into TF's, turtles, etc. are moved by the same marketing motivations, so it shouldn't be rocket surgery. It's all about the approach.

And the best part of all of this brand positioning talk--- Joe already appears to be selling pretty well at retail, so again, it shouldn't be an impossible thing to simply keep that push going and even take it up a few notches.
Zarana X:
#8 & 9 need to make a comeback, not just for GI Joe, but for any toyline.
SNAKE_EYES1975:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troynos View Post
So why don't we see that for toys? Nothing from Playmates, nothing from Hasbro, nothing from Mattel, nothing from Jazwares, Jakks or any of the other companies.

If it's that simple and works, why aren't we seeing it from everyone?


Could the reason be that it's not that simple or that it doesn't work?



BTW, ever see this?

GI Joe: Rise of Cobra - New Toy Commercial - YouTube

A Rise of Cobra toy commercial. Apparently it didn't work.



Could and should Hasbro be doing things differently? Yes. That's obvious. But I tend to think the people that get paid to do this for a living, and have the education and have conducted the studies, probably know more about it then we do.
I could comment on the last part. A logical person would be enclined to think "Hey...These guys are the big dogs..I assume they have highgly trained specialists that know this industry and its potentials way more than me.." But I can tell you 1st hand from being part of a fortune 500 sales team that is not always the case. Most of the time (from my experience) the people at the top, That make these decisions, are used to doing things they way they got successful normally a few years behind where they are now.
When a younger team (Like what happened with me) would suggest things for the new "digital age" Like cross market FB, Interactive Websites, The people at the top, unfamiliar with its potential can easily poo poo that idea, brush it off, and be happy as pigs in excrement to dump hundreds of thousands of dollars on old school marketing that ends up in the trash.

Seeing the 80's plan spread out like this..Its pretty glorious for me..This is the kind of stuff I would be sitting in for, Listening about how our company is proceeding this year. I just think the 80's GIJOE is a one time deal..They had the right minds in place at that time in history, The kids were at a level to accept it, and society did not demonize a Pro American Military toy, And the country was not scared of guns.

It would be quite a mountain for Hasbro to climb to get GIJOE big again in THIS country..
Stygian:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNAKE_EYES1975 View Post
I just think the 80's GIJOE is a one time deal..They had the right minds in place at that time in history, The kids were at a level to accept it, and society did not demonize a Pro American Military toy, And the country was not scared of guns.

It would be quite a mountain for Hasbro to climb to get GIJOE big again in THIS country..
I love this --^ But I can't help but think it's also sprinkled with a certain amount of cynicism, which taints its intended effect. No brand as historically successful as Joe is devoid of opportunities to re-uplift, regardless of the current climate. Its themes: helping others through teamwork, unique characters rich with personality and diversity, military might does not always make right, and old fashioned good v.s. evil, are universal and ubiquitous. However, I do agree that the marketing minds in place at Hasbro in the 80's had a unique vision which clicked. They tapped the zeitgeist of that age in a way no Joe incarnation since has been able to mimic completely.

Previous attempts to interpret the current zeitgeist- Eco Warriors and even Sigma 6 to a certain degree- were simply misfires and no ones fault really. They just didn't have the 'power' (so to speak) of that 80's touchstone, and seemed more like preaching or pandering then putting a fresh coat of paint on a storied concept.

The modern age similarly needs a multi-tiered approach, much like Kirk's "battle plan"- but would be one inextricably linked to the movie platform, video games, comics, and cartoons. Each of these has something to inform and feed into the toy 'world', but there is no cohesive vision--- like there appears to be more so with TF's currently. Why Hasbro can't simply follow the TF "battle plan" is beyond me. Perhaps the problem is each layer of Joe- movies, comics, toys, cartoons, games, etc.- depends heavily on the success of the movies (perhaps too much). But if the movie does well and fails to connect into the toys or vice versa, to me this means somehow the cohesive marketing vision is off.

I still stand by the concept that all of this is fixable. In parts and pieces Joe is working in the modern era. Just not cohesively. And it would take marketing know-how far in excess of mine to know why this is and fix it.
poddie:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNAKE_EYES1975 View Post
I could comment on the last part. A logical person would be enclined to think "Hey...These guys are the big dogs..I assume they have highgly trained specialists that know this industry and its potentials way more than me.." But I can tell you 1st hand from being part of a fortune 500 sales team that is not always the case. Most of the time (from my experience) the people at the top, That make these decisions, are used to doing things they way they got successful normally a few years behind where they are now.
When a younger team (Like what happened with me) would suggest things for the new "digital age" Like cross market FB, Interactive Websites, The people at the top, unfamiliar with its potential can easily poo poo that idea, brush it off, and be happy as pigs in excrement to dump hundreds of thousands of dollars on old school marketing that ends up in the trash.

Seeing the 80's plan spread out like this..Its pretty glorious for me..This is the kind of stuff I would be sitting in for, Listening about how our company is proceeding this year. I just think the 80's GIJOE is a one time deal..They had the right minds in place at that time in history, The kids were at a level to accept it, and society did not demonize a Pro American Military toy, And the country was not scared of guns.

It would be quite a mountain for Hasbro to climb to get GIJOE big again in THIS country..
VERY well said. I also believe Joe simply can't come back at a level anywhere near where it was. I am just hopeful it can continue at the level it is now... I don't need it to be massively popular, but I am nervous Hasbro will simply can it at some point because it's not worth their time.
millville resident:
Marketing has some pretty simple principals.
Product, price, place and promotion.
Sadly, our beloved toy line lacks in all departments as per Hasbro's needs to gain new fans of the brand.

Product: yeah, it's good but not great. The built in consumer (us) is not the same "us" as the 80's. There are many of "us" who just do not care that the toy from the 80's that we loved, is still around. Those of us still here can't buy enough of the product to sustain the life of it. The kids that Hasbro markets to cant seem to get enough info or playability of our current product to stay interested in it.

Price: for a toy of its size in today's marketplace, with all the accessories included.... It's priced right, sorry to say. Our generation continues to buy it so price is not a deterrent. The kids that Hasbro is trying to reach may have parents that disagree. Parents want to buy a toy that entertains a kid and doesn't have a lot of little pieces that they ave to spend time looking for when the kid loses them.
3-3/4 Joe doesn't fit into that category.

Place: Well. This one is definitely an issue. It's tough to find Joes almost anywhere, but that's something that Hasbro needs to work out with vendors. Perhaps give them a discount on Transformers products if they carry more Joes, sorta like a packaged deal. Or multi packs with little to no weapons as to cut down on costs.... Never take away articulation cuz kids need it for playability.

Promotion: Our generation doesn't need this. We will track down any and all joes no matter how small the promotion is. We want them all and will always find a way to get them. However, the little kids whom Hasbro is trying to attract have almost no idea that Joe is out there. Hasbro is in desperate need to promote joe with kids. As a father I know that the toys my kid wants come from CARTOONS on TV and MOVIES that I take my kid to after she sees a commercial.... On TV. And also toys from Happy meals from McD's. On top of those, she likes to use Apps on her iPad (she is 4-1/2) that relate to her Cartoons. She also has Dora and Disney princess games to play on the Wii...... Some video games of Joe couldn't hurt, one for kids and one Call of duty style for adults.

These are just some of my thoughts on how Joe product relates to marketing. Overall, I am happy that I get to buy some product throughout the year but attracting the new audience is how I will be able to buy more. The 80's are over and there has to be a different approach to sell Joe stuff so lets hope that Hasbro finds one that works.
Stygian:
Quote:
Originally Posted by millville resident View Post
Promotion: Our generation doesn't need this. We will track down any and all joes no matter how small the promotion is. We want them all and will always find a way to get them. However, the little kids whom Hasbro is trying to attract have almost no idea that Joe is out there. Hasbro is in desperate need to promote joe with kids. As a father I know that the toys my kid wants come from CARTOONS on TV and MOVIES that I take my kid to after she sees a commercial.... On TV. And also toys from Happy meals from McD's. On top of those, she likes to use Apps on her iPad (she is 4-1/2) that relate to her Cartoons. She also has Dora and Disney princess games to play on the Wii...... Some video games of Joe couldn't hurt, one for kids and one Call of duty style for adults.
Very true in some ways --^ Kids are finding inroads to their favorite properties in so many different ways now you'd think this would make marketing much easier, but in reality I have a feeling it merely confounds the Joe decision makers at Hasbro. As I mentioned in a previous post; TF's have a lock on the trifecta (movie/game/cartoon) which helps move toys, but Joe... is struggling in some respects.
GI Joe Eternal:
It's cool that John from Hasbro comes every year, but overall I'm not sure Hasbro gives a damn about GI Joe anymore.

The Hasbro panel on Saturday cracked me up. Paraphrase: "The Micro Force line has been an unbelievable success, and an international explosion that none of us expected. Sales have been astronomical! There are no plans for a second line at this time."

Given that Joe Con is the one time of year where fans can get together and celebrate the brand, and that the number one movie in the world is GI joe (at that time), there was little excitement or interest from Hasbro, zero representation from IDW, and absolutely no mention that 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the brand until a fan brought it up during Q&A.

I honestly don't think Hasbro realizes or cares that next year is 50 years. We'll probably just get the regular wave of figures with little "50-year" stickers on the card placed as an afterthought.
JediJones:
Kirk had mentioned that Steampunk Joe might be the kind of idea Hasbro should look at. Does anyone think a reinvention of the basic premise of the line should be done? TMNT did prehistoric and futuristic versions of its line at different points. MOTU was transported into outer space. Should G.I. Joe be given this kind of radical facelift to try to make it more exciting to today's kids?

I'm wondering if post-apocalyptic Joe might work. The zombie figure was a new concept that was very hot in the modern line. Push Joe a little bit into the future, make their gear more futuristic, make the world post-apocalyptic, have them trying to recivilize the world like John Connor in Terminator, and have them fighting more mutants, zombies, killer robots, etc. An apocalyptic war zone puts the world in play again. Joe no longer starts out with the upper hand against the villains and has to fight on a level playing field to restore order.

If people feel it's a little hard to enjoy playing with military toys while we're in a real war with people dying, this puts Joe into a safer fantasy realm, while still allowing them to be militaristic, whether as much as the Aliens Colonial Marines or closer to the ragtag anti-Terminator forces.
iambob13:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troynos View Post
BTW, ever see this?

GI Joe: Rise of Cobra - New Toy Commercial - YouTube

A Rise of Cobra toy commercial. Apparently it didn't work.
It probably didn't work so well because they barely show the vehicles. Instead of making a series of commercials that create a short story, they lumped it all together and each vehicle barely gets any screen time for the kids to see it in action. The commercials of yesteryear usually showed the new JOE vehicle pitted against the new Cobra vehicle. Within 30-ish seconds they are introduced, set up a short story, they battle, and one comes out as the victor. It shows the details of each vehicle, what they can do, and how much fun they could be when played with.

That ROC commercial just says "Look! Vehicles." They didn't really do anything.
PFunk:
I think the Skylanders marketing concept is far more successful than it's designers could have hoped. If you want to compete, you have to start tapping in to what people are doing.

The movies are great, no question. But they needed a video game. Sounds silly, but it's true. Videogames are the top tier media in the marketplace. Mobile games would even have worked.
 

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