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Missing a WDCC piece? I know where you can find it.
Marketing the Disney brand to a voracious consumer would seem to be a no-brainer - to a great extent it is - there is a fan base that will buy just about anything with a Mickey iron-on transfer on the front or © Disney on the tag. Its the sheer range and scope of the Disneyana marketplace and the increasing level of sophistication of the consumer base that has created the immense range of product now available. Disney also has the financial clout to be able to create product that can hit each and every point in the marketplace - from the extreme high-end - who else would have crafted a $1,000,000 solid gold Mickey? - to the 50¢ postcard - some of which now sell for 1,000% above original cost. Disney also has the benefit of time - there have been Mickey Mouse collectables for nearly as long as Mickey has existed - more than 75 years of product is in the marketplace.
Pins are everywhere - the "hot" items can be found at the Show & Sale.
The real marketing skill involved in selling Disney to a global mass-audience is in determining what items will sell in what quantity and to whom and at what price-point to insure maximum profit in return - tough job - especially as it has to be done several months - and occasionally a year or more - before the item will actually be on the shelf. When these factors come together, the very existence of the product creates its own demand and sells out - but - when they dont mix - the product sits on the shelf and is then blow-out at the outlet mall cutting into the profit margin considerably. Mistakes made in a world-wide marketplace are expensive and sure things in the same marketplace are very rare. But that market is no place for the timid or the feint of heart. It takes time, money and talent to produce an item that finds an audience that can support its production.
Something for almost everyone
For the most part the primary market operates in complete disregard for the secondary market - all marketing cares is that the piece moves at the point of sale - beyond that they have no interest in the re-sale of the item. Can this disassociation with the consumer lead to missed merchandising opportunities? Yup. Has it? Yup. Will it again? Yup. Has the company misjudged the demand from collectors and casual buyers? Yup. Will it again? Yup. The first rule of business - any business - is "know your audience" and its a lesson that the Disney Company is still learning. Can the market for any item be over-run with product? Yup. Has it? Ask any pin collector and youll get a near-unanimous "yup". But, the second rule of business - any business - is "make money" - and the company has learned that the most important thing about pins is that they make money - lots of money.
Theme park specific and special event merchandise is also easy to find - even the obscure can be tracked down.
The demand for pins is still pacing the production - and with the promotion having moved into the Disney Stores world-wide its not likely to stop anytime soon. And, even with the trading promotion ended at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort pins are still being produced to fill the demand in the marketplace and are still selling out. The collectors, and the secondary market are driving production without the promotion to drive demand. Pins have grown beyond the bounds of any other single collectable and taken on a value above and beyond the marketplace. This is not to say that Disney doesnt take an active interest in the prices brought by some of its product on the on-line secondary marketplace - think of the evil marriage of Disney and e-Bay.