Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Make Subscription Boxes Great Again: An open letter to Funko

Dear Funko,

I hope you read the following in the spirit of constructive criticism with which it is intended.

I've been collecting Funko POPs! since 2011. At that time, my meager little collection included only Disney villains. Since then, things have gotten progressively more diversified.

Last year, I jumped on the subscription box bandwagon for the first time. My first box was the Women of DC | Legion of Collectors box. It was a blind buy but I was sure that, with so many amazing heroines to pick from, the selection would be phenomenal. I was not disappointed: The Wonder Woman Invisible Jet, the un-Funkoed heroines tee, the artisty Batgirl patch. I didn't even mind the Harley Quinn pin. And that Hawkgirl POP! remains one of the crowning jewels of my collection. 

The next Legion box was to be the Villains of Batman so I stuck around. That too was a terrific box.

Euphoric with excitement and never being party to legendary comic rivalries, I quickly subscribed to the Marvel Collector Corps. box. And that's when things began to take a turn. The Marvel theme then was X-Men. "How could you miss with such a rich tapestry of characters?", I thought This is how:
  • Another Wolverine POP! (FYI there are more mutants in that world than just him, despite Hugh Jackman's heroic tenure in the films)
  • An admittedly cool tee shirt (which turned out to be of such poor quality that it's now a belly shirt)
  • A Mystique bobble head 😴
You get the flow of my drift. There was absolutely nothing exciting there. I ended up re-gifting a lot of this to unsuspecting nerd friends. I decided to continue with Collector Corps. for the Showdowns box and canceled soon thereafter.

Next came your DC Legacy | Legion box. I remember the teaser trailer for this and was so excited! Who would they dig up from the vault? A classic Green Arrow surely. Nope. It was Elongated Man Plastic Man; a character so obscure and irrelevant that one would be hard pressed to even call him a Legacy figure. The rest of the box was just as pointless. I believe this was also when I got my first Funko salt and pepper shakers (Batman and Robin respectively). Green Arrow was in the box by way of the patch and the Batdog was my tee shirt. This time around, even the aforementioned nerd friends didn't want what I was giving them.

The Superman-themed box taught me how literal you are with your themes. A Superman box means All Superman, All the Time. No Lois. No Jimmy. Not even Lex Luther made it to that box. A little diversification would’ve helped this one a lot. While the POP! figure was awesome and the ReAction figure was very appreciated, no one is subscribed to these boxes for Funko key chains. 

Like many of your fans, I learn about the contents of these boxes on your YouTube channel (Hi Cameron!). As I was watching the reveal video of the Superman box, I vowed then and there to end my subscription to all boxes. But just before the end, it was revealed that Wonder Woman would be the theme of the next Legion box. Alas, there was no way I could pass up on Diana.

While I was very happy that this box contained two POP! figures, I was less happy with another version of the same Roman-styled Diana. By my count, there are now four. (Someone fact-check me here). The term overkill leaps to mind. This box also had the worst patch I've received. It was probably a good idea in theory, right? Perhaps the most insulting thing about this box were the socks. They were so small that I almost got a hernia trying to put them on. Getting them off required scissors. 

Fast forward (or is it rewind?) to last week, when I heard the deafening buzz over the bigger-than-usual Smuggler’s Bounty box commemorating the 40th Anniversary of A New Hope. The already-revealed POP! figure of Luke Skywalker on his Tatooine speeder was a promising lead into things to come. I promptly subscribed to the Star Wars box. In my mind and surely in the minds of countless others, this bigger box (with Princess Leia on it no less!) also meant more awesome stuff. How wrong I was.

Let's review the contents from today’s reveal:
  • No other POP! figure besides Luke
  • The patch repeats a character (Luke)
  • The pin is Chewy, which is fine but a Ben Kenobi would’ve made more sense
  • The wearable items are wrist bands (can’t tell if this was cost saving-related or not... but even I'm embarrassed by these)
  • Adding insult to injury, another set of salt and pepper shakers comes in this box. This time, the seasoning-filled characters are Han Solo and Greedo (two characters that already conjure up bad feelings in Star Wars fans the world over)
How many Funko-shaped salt and pepper shakers do you think we need? The answer is zero.

We didn't even get a Princess Leia item in the box, and she’s ON the box! Even the most cursory review of the New Hope theme of the #FunkoPhotoADay challenge shows how special we all consider her to be. As your comments section on YouTube confirms, this was a resounding fail. I will not be continuing with the Droids 🙅

Still, all this said and done, I haven’t given up hope on you yet. What you’re doing for the Disney Treasures boxes is pretty terrific. And I’m currently anticipating the Batman Animated Series | Legion box with great anticipation.

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that most of us still love collecting your figures. We love your marketing. We love hunting down exclusives (btw that SDCC Megazord is amazing!) We love sharing all this with our friends and family. But we’re tired of feeling disappointed in your subscription boxes. Especially when we know you can do so much better.


A Funko Fan

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