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Anyone Find The Lack Of Muppet Merch Disturbing?

Discussion in 'Muppet Merchandise' started by beaker, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    So this is the moment we've been waiting for 13 years on here, the big Muppet comeback. I distinctly remember so many great chats and threads in the golden early days of Muppet Central in the late 90's dreaming of the big Muppet renaissance. While many of us balked at the notion of Disney owning the Muppets, in hindsight it was the only way forward.

    But now that moment is here, and it's the massive holiday shopping season on top of that(where many retailers make 25-40% of their annual profits) Yet...where's the physical Muppet stuff you can buy? In fact, while Disney has gone beyond the imagination to saturate the marketing landscape with advertising which we were all hoping for(online, tv, physical advertising, etc) if you were to just visit stores you wouldn't even know a Muppet movie was coming out. This is Disney?

    Not to pull the Toy Story card, but for the whole year of 2010 and even before, you could literally not go to any grocery store, convenient store, big box retailer, or toy store without being over saturated by Toy Story merchandise, advertising, cross promotional tie-ins and so forth. Not saying I was expecting even 1/5th of that for the Muppets.

    But you look at G-Force...unlike a nearly SIXTY YEAR well beloved franchise, this was a brand new franchise about brainwashed guinea pigs working for some clandestine government CIA black ops outfit...and one of those cgi over live action films to boot. Yet, we got over saturated with virtually every imaginable toy, plush, figure, cross promotion and merchandise you could imagine.

    Nothing at Target. Not a single restaurant/fast food or grocery store product tie-in. Toys R Us does have a few items hidden away(the FAO Schwarz puppets and Kermit iphone gear), and Spencers has their usual select Muppet/Sesame item stuff. But that's literally it. Oh, well yeah Disney Store has a little Muppet section finally, tucked away in the back with a few items to keep it away from the pure angelic Princess/Cars/Toy Story/tableaux. Lilo and Stitch has a bigger endcap and more merchandise.

    Sadly I kind of half expected this, I just didn't know how paltry it'd be...I mean I thought there'd be at least some cool stuff in stores. I mean, was Disney's Chinese sweat shop factories over booked with Cars and Princess merchandise? Who would have thought that for Muppet fans, our biggest merchandising bonanza would sadly happen to also be the "dark" years of the Muppets(2002-2004) Hopefully Disney will get a headache caused by people wondering where the heck the Muppet stuff is. Talk about dropping the ball, once again like they did with the visionary Pixar film Up merchandise and opportunity wise.
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I wasn't really annoyed until I saw Arthur Christmas stuff at TRU. I mean, Disney has the excuse that Toy Story and Cars are pretty toyetic films that have consistently sold merchandise (they clearly over-ordered the TS3 stuff... most of it's going to clearance stores like Marshall's and Five Below... maybe now I can actually GET some of them). G-Force I see because they overestimated that and the appeal it has for snot eating brats, but to be honest, the only G-Force stuff I saw was at the Disney store and TRU, and all of it was on clearance very fast.

    Now, I wasn't expecting all that much, but there's no excuse for the lack of cheap Christmas ornaments/decorations in Target/TRU and there's no reason why small posable carded PVC figurines shouldn't have been made. Even some Kermit dolls outside of Disney Stores. The closest thing is the small Kermit plush at Wallgreens with a scarf... and the weird singing ones which... ehhh... I don't really want to discuss.

    I am seeing small amounts of T-shirts and boxers and sleeper pants in stores. I guess the problem is they're focusing harder on the adults than the kids with this merchandising push... they lack of candy except for Pez (which comes out 2 months after the movie for some strange reason) is disappointing... the lack of Kid's Meal promotion is all about Disney's fear of Yuppie parental groups.

    But then again, I noticed that Puss in Boots got nothing besides a Kid's meal promotion, which I found kinda odd... some Dreamworks films get toys, others don't.... it would be one of the first since the awful Shark Tale. Even the first Madagascar had an impossible to find figurine set and resin figures by Russ.

    Still, I'm not saying there should have been an awful lot more, just a little more. I don't like the idea of future merchandise hanging on the success of this film... but if we see another film, I'm sure we'll get much much more then.
  3. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I agree. Seems most of the merchandise is exclusives at the parks and Disney Store. I don't see why those plush and that PVC set couldn't have been sold at more stores.

    I am especially upset Disney hasn't made more Muppet programming available for purchase or viewing. The last Muppet DVD came out in 2009 (Letters to Santa... I'm not counting last years rerelease of It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie). The closest thing we've gotten to new DVDs are blu-ray releases of what Sony owns, and those don't have any additional bonus features. The movies should at least be airing on ABC Family, The Disney Channel, and/or ABC. I hope that ABC Family's "25 Days of Christmas" shows MFS, LTS, and MCC, but who knows? It would have been great if that channel had a special Muppet week this week to lead up to the 25 days of Christmas, especially since the new movie comes out tomorrow.

    I read a thread at Tough Pigs that has pointed out that recently when Disney has been releasing sequels or reboots they've avoided releasing past content on DVD. I heard that Tron was either out-of-print or hard-to-find when Tron: Legacy came out, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was out-of-print when Winnie the Pooh came out, with no new Pooh DVDs. It was said that Disney doesn't want consumers to confuse DVDs of old productions with the new movies. Though that sounds stupid to me (who on earth would confuse Welcome to Pooh Corner with the new Winnie the Pooh movie?). Though I wonder if other companies feel this way; were there any new Smurfs DVDs when that movie came out?

    If it is a new policy not to release DVDs of productions related to current releases, then it makes me wonder if Disney planned on releasing season 4 when the movie came out, then made a new policy, and left us with no season 4 for now. That would make a little bit of sense, though if my speculation is correct it'd be a major pain to think we could have had season 4 sooner.

    This movie has given out kiddie merchandise (most of the books seem aimed at kids) and odd merchandise (nail polish, make-up). There should have been some items for us collectors, but there also should have been more widely-available toys. I heard a rumor elsewhere on the forum that a new video game is planned. Hopefully that's true (even if it's for a system I don't have I'll be happy).
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I call bullcrap on that. They DID rerelease Toy Story 1 and 2 when the third one was coming out... they didn't need to repackage or rerelease any of the Cars DVD's, since they only came out a few years before. But I see they repackaged all the currently available with free movie ticket promotions.

    And there was indeed a Smurfs DVD release when the movie came out. Unfortunately, this was after Warner Bothers stopped releasing Smurfs season sets, but they did manage to make a 10 episode 2 disk collection just before the film as well as releasing the Christmas specials recently.
  5. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    This kind of adds more evidence to my point that Disney buying the Muppets is another example of these big conglomorate companies buying up smaller franchises simply for the sake of ownership, and not really wanting to actually do anything with them... not just now, but for like a year now, if not even a little longer, you go to a Disney Store, and their Muppet stuff is like a small display case at the end of an aisle, and that's it... and look how much trouble weve had getting TMS on DVD... and we're STILL having similar trouble, we were supposed to have Season Four well before now, but then they decided to hold it off until the movie came out, and even now, there's still no official word regarding the release of Season Four.
  6. a_Mickey_Muppet

    a_Mickey_Muppet Well-Known Member

    i find the "barking" of "older guys" on MC
  7. fragglerockr

    fragglerockr Well-Known Member

    That's waaaaay harsh! I am both a huge Muppets fan and a huge Disney fan. Since I go on the Disney Cruises at least once a year, and own DVC at two resorts at WDW (I'll be down there in two weeks) and CA, I'll throw in my opinion. Unfortunately, I have to agree. They need more merchandise to support this movie both to big box stores, in Disney stores, and in the parks.

    I am fully aware of what is already out there and what's coming up. I believe they need more toys (figures PVC at least) to help appeal to that young demographic. I am excited for the park only set coming up and I'll probably get the Star Wars figures while I'm down there this time. For mainstream, however, they need to be in mainstream retailers now, for the holidays!

    I'm sorry you feel that way but I'm also a member of the old guard. I do enjoy the modern Muppets just as much as I enjoy the older stuff. Perhaps our "barking" is justified venting. Or it could be perhaps, that some HOT-HEADED YOUNGSTER just knows everything and will settle for whatever he's offered. I'm not sure which!

  8. darthcello

    darthcello Member

    This is exactly what's been bothering me about this whole movie promotion deal. They've done an amazing job getting the word out through countless TV appearances and viral videos. But I don't see it being marketed to kids very much. It's great that the Muppets were on SNL and Jimmy Fallon, but do kids actually watch those? What kid watches Chelsea Lately?!

    It wouldn't be all that bad if only there were more kid-centric advertising, and really, what that means is merchandising. Where are the cereal promotions? Where are the fast food tie-ins? There is literally nothing in Target, except for a few Men's T-shirts (which have been there for the better part of this year anyway) and some kid's T-shirts. But, frankly, it's as though they were there anyway, regardless of the movie.

    Meanwhile, what merchandise there is, is Disney store and park exclusives. Grrr. I am going to have to resort to trying to get stuff online (without paying marked-up prices) since I don't live near a Disney park, and the Disney store left our mall over a year ago.

    My bet is that Walter is going to the big breakout character. Everyone is going to want a Walter in some shape or form, be it plush, PVC, keychain, shirt, etc. Not to mention the other beloved characters. Why is he stuck as a Disney store exclusive?!

    I get that they're probably trying to test the waters and be cautious, but would it have killed them to throw a few things out there in a non-exclusive way?! This just doesn't make any sense.

    Hopefully, there will be stuff coming soon. If the Entertainment Weekly article is to be believed, there is going to be Muppet stuff everywhere, but it's strange that there is little evidence of this so far.

    I don't mean to be negative, because this is a hugely exciting time and I don't want to sit here and whine, just because I have to order a Walter plush online. Wah-wah. In the grand scheme, there are certainly worse things. I mean, come on, there's a big-screen Muppet movie in wide release and they certainly are everywhere. Anytime a Muppet makes an appearance no matter what, it's a great, great thing. It just seems odd, especially given that Disney is behind all of this, the lack of readily-available merchandise.

    Let's hope that changes soon!
  9. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    It's a legitmate point theres no merchandise for this movie. You think thats a good thing?
  10. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Heh. Exactly the point. We're kinda disappointed Disney didn't do more. I understand their excuses, and I don't expect to see too much of anything, but the fact that there isn't any cheaper Christmas stuff at the very least kinda puts a damper on things.

    Other than the fact Disney refuses to do Fast Food tie ins for PR reasons, I agree. If Disney wants this movie to do well (and we all want it to do well), they need to convince kids to pick this over a garish CGI penguin movie and an uninspired even uglier Christmas movie. Considering I saw toys for both at TRU and only ear buds and iPod docks of the Muppets, it does make me worry. There are a lot of adult clothing items (that would have been marketed regardless of a movie) in places like Spencers... but if you were to go to a Disney Store-less Mall (like I did), you'd almost think there was no Muppet movie coming out.

    They've done a great job promoting the film online, and hopefully 20 and 30 somethings will pack the theaters and drag their kids. But holding the merchandise for after the movie does well, while it seems fiscally resolvent, kinda dooms the future of merchandising (including DVD's) if parents opt to see the pathetic competition (hopefully Fred Claus and Jim Carry Christmas Carol prove that the country's sick of raucous Christmas family comedies).

    Now, I'm not at all ungrateful for what we've got.. the first for sale Pepe Plush, the best Animal plush we've ever seen... but it could have and should have been just a little more, if only for the sake of promoting the movie. Making the figure set a park exclusive wasn't entirely bright. Hopefully this will be another Bolt situation, and they underestimate how well the movie and merchandise do. So far, I'm hearing reports of everything selling at a brisk pace. The Beaker Hallmark ornaments are selling steady (on the verge of selling out as usual)... the plush at Disney keep flying off the shelves. It's just a shame we don't see a couple Kermits and Piggys at other major retailers.
  11. robodog

    robodog Well-Known Member

    Very much so.

    Not a single Muppet toy on the shelves of major retailers like Wal Mart or Target. I really do believe the film will do well merchandise or no merchandise though. The only competition it really has is a couple brain dead films that deserve to flop and flop hard.
    The fact that Cars merchandise is still being pumped out yet Muppet merchandise is all but nonexistant annoys me to no end. I hate Cars. I know it's Pixar and among animation fans Pixar can do no wrong, but to me it's a dumb concept. Some things work when they're anthropomorphised but cars just don't. Maybe for some, but for me a world of talking cars is where I draw the line where my suspension of disbelief is concerned. I guess it'd work if you happened to like cars, but for me they're tools used for transportation and that's all. You can give it a face and make it talk but I still can't identify with something like that enough to sit through an entire film based around it. And the only reason the sequel exists is to push more merchandise. It's a cheap cash in. It's no better than all those 30 minute Toy commercials that ran in the 80s.
    I'd much rather see Muppet merchandise flood the shelves than Cars crap. The Muppets is a long lived and much beloved franchise that deserves way more respect than it's currently getting merchandise wise. Hopefully Disney will wise up and give these characters the merchandise they deserve.
  12. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Cars merchandise sold solidly when the film first came out, and little boys love it. That's the answer to that. This time they clearly made waaaaaay too much stuff, but they at least felt there was a reason to.

    I understand the lack of major action figure type Muppet stuff... but I honestly feel a Smurfs movie level of merchandise couldn't have hurt... several bean bag sized plush, and a small release of figures. That would have been nice. Some little Christmas trinkets like ornaments and cheap stockings... similar to these

  13. muppetlover123

    muppetlover123 Well-Known Member

    its lacking with all the merchandise with all the publicity about this movie
  14. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't mind seeing Muppets on the shelves. When I go shopping I look for 'em but I don't find 'em. Whazzup widdat?

    If that Kermit watch isn't made in real life someone will have dropped the ball big-time. I want one!
  15. ElecMayhem

    ElecMayhem Well-Known Member

    I have a much different perspective, actually. I am something of a Muppet completist, meaning, I try to buy EVERYTHING I can with the Muppets on it. (Yes, it's exhausting & expensive...)

    And there's more stuff out there right now than I can keep track of. The Disney Store has released 9 plushes, 4 mugs, 5 t-shirts, and a few other items. There's the makeup and the fingernail polish. There's all kinds of PJs (for adults & kids) cropping up at places like Target & Walmart. There are all of the keychains, Kermit and Animal watches, and slippers at Walmart. There are the FAO Schwarz puppets. There are the iHome MP3 docks & headphones. Singing dolls at Walgreens. Ornaments at Urban Outfitters. JC Penneys has some watches. Kohls has some more shirts. There are more and more shirts online. 2 different Snuggies. New Adidas shoes. Etc, etc, etc.

    So, there IS quite a bit of stuff out there -- with more coming, I am certain -- even if it's not necessarily the stuff we'd all like to see (i.e. toys, pvcs, etc.)

    But it's not as simple as just pointing the fingers at Disney, either. I know for a fact that some of the larger retailers declined the opportunity to carry Muppet plush. There are lots of moving parts. I honestly believe that Disney wants to make more stuff -- and will, I can almost guarantee, if the movie is a success.
  16. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    not to be the guy that starts trouble but if we open our eyes and look Thier is Muppet Merchandise around....dvds are being repackaged with a free ticket to see the movie

    in spencer gifts they have NEW Muppet hats, novelty items and full onezie pajamas of Gonzo, Fozzie, Animal, and Kermit
    in FYE they Have Animal Plush that come with blankets, and you know there has to be more around


    this poster...and poster ive really wanted has been made as a buy alone

    and lets not forget the walgreens stuff and books and items
    and di anyone check iXfinity lately...they have an enitre section dedicated to Muppets...yes you have to pay but its there they do that for all major movies
    i know we want Muppet toys trust me i feel you guys on that, id love to walk into a store and see shelf to shelf muppet toys , id love for my sister to call me telling me Muppet Vision 3D has brand new stuff every month,but we dont live in that style of merch days anymore....it is mostly about the store exclusive stuff...they all do it,and even if we did how many of us can honestly say we would get each one..I love the Muppets but my room is full of stuff and i doubt my roommates would be happy i kept being stuff to hide away in boxes taking up more space and would probably kick me out..
    so what if arthurs christmas has toys r us toys...yes a few will sell, and guess what aside from a few toy collectors they will be played with and discarded or broken but do we honestly belive it will be like these Disney Store Muppet plush we are getting , flying off the shelves ,being sold out online where a group of us keep getting put on hold till new ones are made

    but we cant blind ourselves to stuff that is there we just have to open our eyes and come out from behind the veil to see it, lets not become those fans who will never be pleased with the future of our franchise for lack of merchandise
  17. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Other than the Muppet plushes at Disney store, I still dont see any proof of there being hardly any noteworthy merchandise. All the misc stuff out there is what we'd have in any given year. Rubber bands shaped like Muppets...exciting:) Im not trying to be a gloomy gus, but its holiday season, huge hyped movie that delivers the goods...nothing at stores. I hope Disney gets the message.

    And why is what little muppet merch at Disneystore tucked in the back? Are they afraid of distracting from their cars, princess and other junk? Are these kids truly going to look back fondly on Cars and bad cgi dtv princess stuff in the same reverence we have with the muppets?

    Disney has one strategy: reel in college kids and adults on the nostalgia factor, and hope they bring their kids along. EVERYTHING has been targeted to older collectors and "hey older people, remember the Muppets? Heres more retro stuff!"

    Again, was at a few retailers today...nada. I mean black friday-christmas eve shopping period is upon us...NOONE at Disney or involved with the Muppets is thinking "oh yeah, maybe we should have some cross promotions, food tie ins and toys?" I mean...Underwriter Laboratories, a safety commission is like the only tie in. And Alamo rent a car. Thats it. It boggles my mind.

    People on here are confusing older Muppet products that have nothing to do with the film for new merchandise. There literally is not very much new merchandise. Theres the 16" plushes at Disney, a few shirts, mugs. Theres the Kermit headphones at Toys R Us and the FAO puppets. Beyond that, tumbleweeds and crickets.

    Yeah the only few cool new Muppet products are going to be park exclusives it looks like. I mean yes, if theres another film in two years, we'll finally see(hopefully) the merchandise...but maybe not for awhile

    I think Disney is conflicted. They gave us a lame generic logo, decided to sit out merchandise...but then decided last minute to hype the heck out out of the movie to every website in the universe, tv show, channel, billboard, bus advert, etc.

    Heh, well it was literally exactly 13 years ago this week I joined Muppet Central..and it's funny what has and hasn't panned out. We got a mighty merchandising whallop in 2002-2004 but not a lot of solid Muppet projects. But now, the Muppets have this insanely critically acclaimed so many people are excited about...but hardly anything in stores. Back then many of us hated Disney, and were screaming foul when they bought the Muppets...some even calling JHC sellouts. Well, as we saw, JHC has a hard time seeing anything through so in retrospect this was a good move...its just, it took 7 years for them to do anything with the brand. And if it wasnt for Segel, who knows where we'd be.

    Yeah Ive always loved modern Muppets, while exploring the 50's-80's stuff. I grew up with the Muppets in the 80's, but learned to really enjoy them post Jim Henson too.
  18. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Oh I hate Cars. I realize the braintrust at Pixar realized they needed to appeal to the Southern Nascar demographic, and that's fine. But it's not my bag, just like Im sure many people didnt "get" Up(I consider Up my favorite Pixar film) And next year they're releasing a sidequel spinoff called Planes...thats about US military war planes. I kid you not. But I had a feeling there'd be no Muppet merchandise...I didnt think itd be this non existent, but I knew Disney wouldnt have any confidence. Has there ever been Disney merch in Disneystores? Vinylmations finally...maybe a few mugs. The large plushes are cool, but its not enough.

    Aw, I grew up on the half hour toy commercial cartoons of the 80's, so I got a soft spot for them. But I get what you mean.

    Why does Toy Story 3 get a large aisle to itself at TRU and Target, but not a single Muppet item? Its strange. My dream is to walk into a store someday, and see carded 3-4" kid's action figures, smaller plushes, all sorts of books, backpacks, misc items, etc. Im sick of the adult collector stuff, bring on the kid stuff! Meanwhile Im sick of toddler only Sesame merch and lame parody SS shirts.

    Btw, you mentioned a love of dogs. Man I hear you. I never got to be around dogs much, but moving to this new neighborhood I see so many people walking their dogs of all kind. Dogs are so kind, happy, excited. They seem to love unconditionally and just want love. I don't get that feeling at all from cats I hate to say. I realize how much Ive always dug dogs in pop culture...Jim Hensons Dog City. Spy Dogs on fox kids. Disneys Bolt. Doug's Porkchop. Rowlf the dog. Dug from Up.
  19. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Other than the plushes and FAO puppets, do you really think that stuff is worthy of excitement? I mean, snuggies? I respect the completist thing...but honestly, dont you feel in the early to mid zeroes we got some truly exciting merchandise? I dont have much money, but Id gladly open my wallet for some cool merchandise.

    What you listed to me is the same general stuff we've always had, and that we'd have even if there was no movie. In the early to mid to late 90's we got all of this general purpose Muppet stuff. Applause put out some really cool stuff in the mid to latter 90's.
  20. robodog

    robodog Well-Known Member

    Don't get me wrong, I grew up on the half hour toy commercials too and I still have a soft spot for some of them myself. Particularly Masters Of The Universe and Pound Puppies.

    I'm with you on the adult collector stuff. I prefer kid's toys. I'd kill for a kid's action figure of Rowlf.

    I've loved dogs all my life. I'm a huge fan of dogs in popular culture. When I was a kid I loved Spuds Mackenzie, the dog in the old Bud Light ads like some kids loved Transformers or Care Bears. Up is my favorite Pixar movie too, largely because of Dug. Remember what I said about the Rowlf action figure? Ditto for Dug.

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