Author Topic: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021  (Read 1378 times)

Offline Redmao

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Re: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2021, 15:20:23 »
They still make home runs, like the recent Space Station that got the toy of the year award. Not surprising as it looks like a modern version of the classic Playmospace station.
I think that it shows that "classic" themes adapted to today will still prove to be popular. Maybe they should look at their long history of successes instead of trying to jump on any potential fad?

I know that the toy business is changing dramatically. Today's children abandon their toys in favor of other type of entertainment way faster than we did. Well, WE still haven't abandon our toys, but I meant our generation.
Most of people our age played with toys until their teenage years, while now, kids will favor video games and cell phones from an early age. Today's video games are very immersive and offer a complete visual and interactive experience.
The environment, the characters, everything is pre-generated and stimulating so much in fact that some children have troubles returning to the real world. It's hard to compete against that with a few plastic plastic figures.

I think that children are losing the imagination to pretend that the couch can be a mountain to explore or that a shoe box could be a house since they're so used to things being "real" on the screen.

Maybe it's why we're getting more named characters in Playmobil sets even in original themes.
Before, you created a character out of a klicky. You gave it accessories to make it whatever/whoever you wanted. From there, a new story and even a new world was beginning.
With named figures, the story is already told, just follow the description on the website. He does this and she likes that. It's like that with licensed theme, we know the characters and how they are supposed to be.
Sure you can change it, but the strong guidelines are still there.

Offline Indianna

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Re: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2021, 18:04:13 »
Thank you for sharing this article, StJohn! 

This is very unsettling and disturbing news, indeed.  I wondered what would happen after HOB's death and this article explains a lot, including some of the strange (IMO) product decisions that Playmobil has made over the past few years.

If anyone wants to dig a little deeper, I found that an online search of the words Marianne Albert Playmobil will yield many news reports describing problems with the company.  :'(
U.S.A.      Massachusetts

Online StJohn

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Re: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2021, 01:27:21 »
Thanks for all the responses, especially Redmao's thoughts:

I know that the toy business is changing dramatically.

I enjoyed reading them. I think that you nailed it, I can see it in my own household: the next generation is fundamentally different from mine when it comes to where they feel comfortable and how they want to play – I admit that I struggle with screen time control. Perhaps I shouldn't bother, their world is different from the one I knew long ago, and the pandemic isn't helping either. But for a manufacturer geared towards serving the needs of the 20th century, the era that is now upon us must be massively threatening.

Offline Oliver

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Re: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2021, 02:22:16 »
They still make home runs, like the recent Space Station that got the toy of the year award. Not surprising as it looks like a modern version of the classic Playmospace station.
I think that it shows that "classic" themes adapted to today will still prove to be popular. Maybe they should look at their long history of successes instead of trying to jump on any potential fad?


Does winning Toy of the Year translate to sales though? Years ago I remember reading an article that - playfully - suggested that Playmobil was successful because it made the kind of toys that middle-class parents wanted their children to play with, rather than appealing to children's actual tastes. I don't think that's completely true, but I certainly think the historical themes provided a 'halo' affect and added to the 'educational' element around Playmobil - and probably the reason the Noah's Arc set was such a big seller (which I wouldn't have expected).

It does feel like there's been of the 'let's throw things at the wall and see what sticks' - I can't remember what year it was, but I remember once looking through the catalogue and thinking 'This feels like they have no idea what they want to be doing'

Offline tahra

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Re: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2021, 07:23:09 »
Years ago I remember reading an article that - playfully - suggested that Playmobil was successful because it made the kind of toys that middle-class parents wanted their children to play with, rather than appealing to children's actual tastes.

That's very well put. And it may be true.. It is (well, these days, there are exceptions) a.. wholesome toy. Positive. But then you have the idiots that complain that it took too long to assemble, and they DO have better things to do than spend time with their own kids.

I don't think that's completely true, but I certainly think the historical themes provided a 'halo' affect and added to the 'educational' element around Playmobil - and probably the reason the Noah's Arc set was such a big seller (which I wouldn't have expected).

Considering the animal barge educational is all kinds of scary, imo. At least they stopped with that horrid scary leaflet, right?

The educational part was dropped for silly shooting/blinky thingamagigs, and the full "pink idiots"/"fighting brutes", especially in non modern themes. We no longer have a medieval city, and almost all the only peasants we get are the annual peasant set for xmas :(

Ok, I am not sure actually suggesting "breaking into" the ATM machine in the instructions is a great idea, but..  >:D
(a shame this little devil only appears on the "more" smileys again)

Then there's the quality drop. Several sets bought recently. Of 3 of those thieves pack, all the women have their faces printed in the neck. 2 of the tan guy are useless (the heads, I mean),  because the mustache is printed wrong. One horse doesn't hold his head up. This DID NOT use to happen.

Missing parts, mismolded parts.... weird decisisons (make a van for a licence, but BRILLIANTLY use speedos with skirts, so they can't seat in the freaking van!? GENIUS!)

Problem is... it's still the best. So I whine and complain, but...  playmobil = :love: 

Or maybe I am biased. Could be.  :P
 

Tahra

Offline Oliver

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Re: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2021, 09:46:27 »
 :lol: :lol: I wasn't actually thinking about Noah's Ark as being a particularly educational toy - but it's very traditional, and something that lots of people grew up with. From personal experience, a Noah's Ark actually has pretty limited play potential, at least in it's devised form. I can't imagine a child particularly wanting it either as a boat or as an animal set (when much better alternatives for both exist) - but it was a huge seller in Germany when it was launched.

Offline Ismene

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Re: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2021, 09:53:11 »
That's very well put. And it may be true.. It is (well, these days, there are exceptions) a.. wholesome toy. Positive. But then you have the idiots that complain that it took too long to assemble, and they DO have better things to do than spend time with their own kids.


Right?
Lego still sells. You'd think Playmobil could find a way to market assembly as a good thing (keeps the kids busy longer). They might have to rethink how certain parts go together, so assembly doesn't require too much dexterity or strength. Ideally, they'd have a modular customizable building system (the horror, I know), so kids could spend even more time reconfiguring the buildings.

The popularity of the ark, in my opinion, shows a market for animal-centric sets (although largely, it's parents and relatives buying a traditional set - they may have had an ark as a child). All the good ones were sold out when I was shopping for Christmas. I've thought for a long time that PM should have a "collect-them-all" series of allowance-friendly animal sets (sans klickies or buildings). I bet pink llamas in a baggies would sell out rapidly.


Offline playmofire

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Re: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2021, 11:56:16 »
A lot of well-thought out and well-expressed interesting comments here.  Thank you to everyone for sharing them.

Sophia, our great-niece, now 10.5 years old, will, I am sure during lockdown have had the Playmobil out, and her mother has probably said, "Leave it out until you go back to school", as she involves herself with it too.  (Her dad also does, but he's maybe more Scaletrix so that may have been out as well. Despite being a civil engineer, his attempts to build with Playmobil are, to quote his daughter "Rubbish", so that put him in his place!)  So there is hope for the  generation.

But going back to Playmobil's present situation, the problem really results from the weird structure Brandstatter bequeathed the company, or maybe more to his selection of people to run it.

EDIT to make first sentence of last paragraph clear.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2021, 17:03:32 by playmofire »
“Today well-lived makes every yesterday a day of happiness to remember and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”

Offline JLMatterer

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Re: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2021, 16:12:57 »

Offline GrahamB

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Re: Deep pockets but no plan: the Horst Brandstätter Holding in 2021
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2021, 21:34:10 »
Report: Playmobil is in a crisis, the new management isolates itself and puts employees under pressure.
At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)