Dear Disney/Pixar/Mattel Marketing People,
You really do want to make things more difficult for me, don’t you?
Yes, yes, you know your marketing. *golf clap*
I know marketing too, having been on the other side of that curtain for years and knowing many of your crafty little tricks for releasing, packaging and jazzifying your products to feverishly irresistible levels, and then dangling them teasingly in front of even the youngest unsuspecting crowd.
And that’s who I’m talking about. Your prime target. My 4-year old. He was wasn’t even born the year your first Cars movie came out and well, hats off, the buzz of your flick and its sequel have stayed alive four years later, just in time to penetrate the brain of my keen logo and packaging-identifying offspring.
That’s all fine and to be expected. We’re the ones who let him see Cars 2 after all. You make World Grand Prix Cars. He wants World Grand Prix Cars. I get it.
This doesn’t upset me. It’s part of parenting for me to jump directly in your monolithic path and stop him from becoming a mindlessly obsessed consumer. I’m fine with battling you on that front.
What I don’t like is your limited release of certain characters. Catering directly to crazy collectors who have nothing else to do but hoard children’s toys, preserve them in unopened vacforms and then turn around and sell them to the highest bidder. Literally. <—I’m looking at you, eBay.
That just makes this mama angry. Why?
When I see my son defeatedly lamenting that he can’t find a Rip Clutchgoneski to add to his cars – hello, a collection that he actually plays with – well, I just get angry at the whole merchandising machine.
See, toys are for playing with. That’s their very definition. How novel! They are for bashing and crashing and racing and playing with. To the point that the paint chips off and occasional wheels cease to function properly.
They’re not for releasing limited editions of and intentionally fostering hoarding and price gouging of, in this case, little ol’ Made in China 1:55 scale diecast cars. Not in my opinion anyway.
There is absolutely no way I’m going to pay $25.00 (and up!) for a Rip car, because, call me crazy, I’d rather save that money for college. Plus, it’s not like my kid would or even should treat that wildly overpriced Rip any more specially than the cars he got for $4 a pop.
And I don’t care to be the freak who then adds perceived value to that lone car, exclaiming, “Don’t lose it! Don’t chip it! Don’t even PLAY with it! It cost TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS!”
So you know what, Disney/Pixar/Mattel Marketing People? This mama took matters into her own hands.
We’re no longer waiting for you to decide when you’re going to release Rip and finding ourselves obsessively searching the shelves of Target, Toy ‘R Us, BJs, Walgreens, CVS, and every other toy store in between.
Mama hatched a plan and got all DIY on your corporate a$$e$.
The Bub would not even have known about this random character if it were not for a Cars Encyclopedia he received for Christmas.
Once he realized Rip was part of the World Grand Prix cars that he already had some of, the ceaseless requests to procure him began. And continued with intensity.
We already had a duplicate Francesco (thanks to more crafty marketing, we unintentionally doubled up on this character), and decided we’d transform him ourselves.
The Bub was adamant about him not being yellow like in the book, but being orange because that’s what he looks like in the movie.
So we went to the craft store to search out a non-toxic paint that might actually have a chance at adhering to the factory-painted car and staying in place. I went with ceramic/glass paint. I had never used it before but it was worth a shot.
Unfortunately I picked up a bottle of green that had already been sneakily tampered with (outer cap seal still on but inner bottle paper seal had been removed and paint emptied out).
Thanks a lot, Jerk Crafter Theft, wherever you are!
With all supplies at the ready, Operation Franken-Rip was now in full effect. This is also where Mama realized her eyesight is really not as good as it used to be. *sigh*
I worked feverishly while The Bub was at school, so I’d be able to surprise him with it. Paint, paint, paint and slowly it was bye-bye Francesco.
Next up, I just had to wait for it to dry and get ready for surprise presentation time!
Franken-Rip got put into a special box and was given enthusiastically to The Bub.
He opened it very carefully and excitedly to reveal the results of our master plan.
Sure, I’d love the crisp details that a smooth factory paint job would make. But this isn’t about all that. It’s about taking matters into our own hands and refusing to have our quality playtime be held back by big business meanies!
Just look. He absolutely loved it!
The only glitch he spotted was that I hadn’t changed the #1 into a #10. So I quickly found my fine point Sharpie and made the requested adjustment right there for my discerning little client to approve.
Thank goodness he had no issue with the fact that Real Rip’s eyes are blue because there was NO way I was going to be changing those tiny things without going completely blind in the process.
Outcome? Total score! The Bub even suggested we make more for friends of his if they also wanted a DIY Franken-Rip.
I love that boy.
It’s been a few weeks since Franken-Rip was created and the paint has stayed on exceptionally well with regular play. The Bub has not once mentioned wanting to find another Real Rip from any store. He’s perfectly content with our DIY version.
I suspect this is not only because of his innate awesomeness but also because he was in on the whole plan from the beginning and not tricked into anything he might grow to resent later.
The best part of this entire experience is the new ideas it’s prompted in The Bub. After watching a Care Bears show not too long ago, he exclaimed, “Hey, do you know? We can make our OWN Care Bears if we want to!”
Damn straight, good boy! Commercial consumer shackles be gone! We’re off-roading in Imagination Land now! Nothing can stop this Mega Do-It-Yer-Damn-Self M-A-C-H-I-N-E.
To conclude, um, in your FACE, Disney/Pixar/Mattel Marketing People. 😉