It's always interesting when you switch companies and see the same brands pop up. Here's an example of where, despite the amazing talent, creativity and execution of my team, due to entertainment business factors completely out of our control, the brand would have actually been better off at my previous company. Toy Stories Chapter 20: LBX ! Shout out to Daizo Uehara!
While I was still at Spin Master, the action figure group was showing a new property in a secret showroom that the were on the brink of acquiring. So imagine my surprise when I arrived at Bandai only to find that very same brand was now part of my new brand portfolio!
LBX was a cool action property that was tearing it up in Japan, both on TV and in the stores. The ratings in Japan were through the roof! However, when we pitched it to stateside entertainment partners like Cartoon Network, they saw it as a purely commercial play, and favored Spin Master for “those kind of shows,” and subsequently took one of their properties instead. The model kits were the key driver for success in Japan, but the Total Destruction line that our US team created is one of my favorite lines that was never actually released. One hit from a missile blew up the figures, but kept it connected so that pieces wouldn’t go missing. Then the kid would fold them back together again, just like Bakugan or NASCAR Bashers. Coincidentally, of course.
We presented the LBX line to retailers, and received universally strong feedback, provided we got strong TV show placement. However, our entertainment partners got the show on Nicktoons, and retailers did not consider that strong enough TV placement (and they were right). Great product, great license, but insufficient business model! You need all three!