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SDCC 2012 Coverage: Interview with Hasbro's Aaron Archer and Jerry Jivoin

Transformers News: SDCC 2012 Coverage: Interview with Hasbro's Aaron Archer and Jerry Jivoin

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 11:44PM CDT

Categories: Event News, Interviews, Site News, Toy News
Posted by: Seibertron   Views: 81,456

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Shortly after Hasbro's Transformers brand panel on July 12th, 2012 at San Diego Comic-Con, Seibertron.com's owner Ryan Yzquierdo had an opportunity to interview Hasbro's Jerry Jivoin (Marketing Director of Global Brand Development) and Aaron Archer (VP Creative Director, Brand design IP creation). Jerry and Aaron are well known to Transformers fans around the world. The audio from this interview will be included in our next Seibertron.com Twincast / Podcast early next week. In the meantime, I did my best to transcribe the audio for all of you to read. Without further ado, here's Seibertron.com's interview with Hasbro.

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Seibertron.com / Ryan: "What can you tell us about Takara Tomy exclusive figures such as Unicron, Breakdown? Are they going to stay exclusive to Japan?"

Hasbro / Jerry Jivoin: "We don't have plans right now really. This is the second time this question has come up. We're definitely evaluating those and one thing that we're trying to do is that you saw with the Year of the Dragon edition Optimus Prime and the China exclusives that we're bringing over to Toys R Us is we recognize that Takara Tomy is working on great stuff that's being released and we want to bring stuff over to the fans here so rather than paying $200 on eBay ..."

Seibertron.com / Ryan: "Yeah, I just dropped $70 on those Legends class toys [from Asia]."

Hasbro / Jerry: "I'd rather us get those into a store and sell it here. All that kind of stuff we're looking at. We don't have any plans right now but not to say that we wouldn't do it."

Seibertron.com / Ryan: "Then again with the Takara Masterpieces, it seems like the smaller scale might be more appealing to American retailers such as Walmart and Target. Are you working with Takara on that or is that too far down the road?"

Hasbro / Aaron: "No we work with them on concept with "here's the next one we're thinking about", "what do you think?" so we do discuss it even though we know on the offset that it's for their market. Doing the smaller cars has helped but it's really about the market for Jerry. Do we do a non-connected high end item as an exclusive or where does it fit?"

Hasbro / Jerry: "The other thing with Sideswipe too is we have to get the Lamborghini license, which they have, which they were able to secure for the Japanese market. We have not [secured that]. If we're going to do that, we're going to need to approach Lamborghini and setup a licensing deal with them to do that. But we've seen them, we love them, we'd love to bring them to the US, there's no plans exactly yet but Masterpiece will continue. You've got Optimus Prime and Thundercracker this year, so we definitely see the value in bringing them over because fans love them."

Seibertron.com / Ryan: "The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the new pictures from Takara is basically this is Hasbro's answer to Mattel with their Masters of the Universe Classics line which has the perfect epitome of all of those characters. That's what I [thought] when I saw that. What can you tell me about the shared exclusive G2 Bruticus set? You guys really went all out with that package so much so that I don't think I've seen you guys put that much work into an Amazon.com or BigBadToyStore.com exclusive before. Was that at one point going to be a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive?"

Hasbro / Jerry: "You know the package, we wanted to make it something special because we realize "hey, you can buy Bruticus in the main line in the deluxe format, we're selling him here at Comic-Con as an exclusive, and we wanted to make it special. We didn't just want to do a redeco and put it in a general package. This was an opportunity to really do something unique with this item. And a lot of it goes to our packaging creative group and art directors. They really had a lot of fun."

Hasbro / Aaron: "They challenged themselves. They went above and beyond, not that we didn't want that. The brief was the brief but they certainly did extra work to take it to a much finer point than may have seemed necessary at the beginning."

Hasbro / Jerry: "They surprised us when they showed it. They had a lot of passion for it. They just dove into it and replicated everything."

Seibertron.com / Ryan: "Please thank whoever. That's awesome I think. Looking at the size of some of the other items that are with the Marvel or G.I. Joe brands, you've got the giant heli-carrier for Marvel, I feel like Transformers is getting the short end of the stick as far as big products. Someone mentioned about Omega Supreme, Metroplex, Fort Max ... some of those big guys ... is there a chance of getting some love for some of those guys?"

Hasbro / Aaron: "I think that we recognize that those other groups have done that and even some other companies have. You know, $300 items, $400 items, in the market place not just for collectors or [conventions]. So it makes sense for us to look at that so we're starting that process because we do have big characters."

Hasbro / Jerry: "And I think you see with Bruticus and having that ..."

Seibertron.com / Ryan: "Well then you have the 3rd party companies coming out with the big figures and I know that's a sore spot."

Hasbro / Aaron: "(sarcasm) Not familiar with that."

Everyone: (laughs)

Seibertron.com / Ryan: "It's obvious that Transformers fans have lots of money to spend when it comes to this stuff. I'd rather give you guys the money than somebody else."

Hasbro / Jerry: "We appreciate that."

Seibertron.com / Ryan: "Alright, one more question. Recently Hasbro trademarked "Transformers Combiners". Is that for the Kre-o line or is that for another future product line that you guys have coming down the ropes?"

Hasbro / Jerry: "Probably for Kre-o. We have our combiners from like the Bruticus combiners from Generations but it's probably from the Kre-os and Kreons that we showed today with those combiners. But it's probably specifically for them."

Seibertron.com / Ryan: "Alright, one more. With the success of some of the big brands that Hasbro owns such as Transformers, G.I. Joe, ... My Little Pony apparently now, is there any discussion within Hasbro of maybe doing an equivalent of a Hasbro-Con or something to that effect?"

Hasbro / Aaron: "A lot of people bring that up, not at Hasbro, just people bring that up. And some at Hasbro. Not yet."

Hasbro / Jerry: "I think between the conventions and Toy Fair, like our collector day at Toy Fair, BotCon, JoeCon ..."

Hasbro / Aaron: "What's great about BotCon and JoeCon is that it's targetted conversation exactly about your brand to the people that care most about the brand. It's an ability to take all that information that goes out around the world."

Seibertron.com / Ryan: "Which we appreciate. I would not be a big fan of going that route just seems like a possibility as these brands keep getting bigger and bigger."

Hasbro / Aaron: "There could be risk of taking away that intimacy in doing that though the Hasbro mark is cool too though. It's not like the fans cross polinate all the time."


Thank you again to Jerry Jivoin and Aaron Archer at Hasbro for taking some time out of your very busy and hectic SDCC schedule to answer some questions for Seibertron.com. We really appreciate it!

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Re: SDCC 2012 Coverage: Interview with Hasbro's Aaron Archer and Jerry Jivoin (1404267)
Posted by mooncake623 on July 26th, 2012 @ 12:58am CDT
Great interview!
thanks for all the Awesome SDCC coverage!

On a side note
Ryan, you look nothing like what I imagine from listening to the podcast. lol
Re: SDCC 2012 Coverage: Interview with Hasbro's Aaron Archer and Jerry Jivoin (1404282)
Posted by quickmixed on July 26th, 2012 @ 2:55am CDT
So they didnt have much to say about 3rd parties?

Its also an interesting point about the lambo license being strictly for Asia at the moment too.

Nice interview.
Re: SDCC 2012 Coverage: Interview with Hasbro's Aaron Archer and Jerry Jivoin (1404295)
Posted by xyl360 on July 26th, 2012 @ 4:16am CDT
quickmixed wrote:Its also an interesting point about the lambo license being strictly for Asia at the moment too.

They are not Takara Tomy. They (Hasbro), a separate company from Takara Tomy, have not licensed Lamborgini yet. The continent or country is irrelevant. If Takara Tomy sold Transformers here (in the US) instead of Hasbro, they would be able to sell Sideswipe right now without any issues.

If Hasbro wants to do so here (or anywhere else in the world) they (Hasbro) will need to get licensing to do so from Lamborgini.

Anyway, that was a really great interview Ryan. I can't believe that you smacked em' in the face with the 3rd party thing the way you did, but good for you. The size vs cost thing for collectors is obviously one of the hot issues right now, so I'm glad you brought it up (and pointed out that their competition is not downsizing and yet are still making tons of money).

I'm not saying I want all TF's to be super expensive, but getting Hasbro to think again and again about collector-centric ideas, concepts, product lines and toys is definitely a good thing lest they forget that as small of a chunk of their market as we may be, many of us have thousands we'd be willing to spend if only they had the product to satiate our desires (instead the 3rd parties are getting a lot of that dough).
Re: SDCC 2012 Coverage: Interview with Hasbro's Aaron Archer and Jerry Jivoin (1404300)
Posted by Anonymous on July 26th, 2012 @ 4:40am CDT
I love how Aaron blatantly expressed interest in getting us new versions of the big TFs.
Re: SDCC 2012 Coverage: Interview with Hasbro's Aaron Archer and Jerry Jivoin (1404349)
Posted by Mkall on July 26th, 2012 @ 8:15am CDT
Big TFs. Yes please. The fact that Aaron Archer, a VP, said they were starting the process has made me oh-so-giddy with anticipation.
Re: SDCC 2012 Coverage: Interview with Hasbro's Aaron Archer and Jerry Jivoin (1404412)
Posted by Tigertrack on July 26th, 2012 @ 10:25am CDT
Some great questions to pepper them with. I appreciate the Lambo answer. Makes one think a little.

Hoping with fingers crossed for a few larger toys representing our friends who have not got some love in awhile.
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