AFJ TOY FAIR '16-MATTEL WALK-THROUGH!
By Jarrett Kruse
It is always a treat when you hear that a company is having a Toy Fair event that is off-site. Yes, it usually is going to be a big deal when you have to leave the Javitt's Center and make a special trip to a site that is created for an exclusive "Collector Night." The first 55 people were taken off of the lengthy line and placed onto a charter bus, one that was far nicer than the NJ Transit bus I took into New York City everyday for the convention. So I waited another half hour for the bus to come back to pick up the rest of the press who at this point were anxiously waiting to see just where MATTEL was sending us.
When I got on the bus and the trip began, we traveled some 30 blocks downtown to the Meatpacking District of town where we were directed to a flight of stairs that descended into a bar much like the one on my beloved Cheers. As the press entered, we checked in and then were given a colored bracelet so that any MATTEL staffers walking the floor would know that you indeed are in the right place and have gone through the correct protocol to enter. While you might not immediately associate a bar with toys, it actually was quite the setup with many reveals from the toy giant. The packed bar was filled with both press and executives all co-mingling over cocktails of both both hard and soft drinks. I opted for a couple of ice cold Coke's at the bar after a few laps of taking hundreds of photos of the many familiar brands I grew up with including THUNDERCATS & HE-MAN along with new and exciting lines like Suicide Squad and Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. In between downing the ice cold caffeinated beverages complete with free refills, I was able to grab some tasty crab cakes and other cocktail hour style delights. You have to hand it to MATTEL, they definitely know how to treat the press!
I also loved that the all of the figures were not encased in glass like so many companies choose to do. Instead, all of the figures on display were much more accessible to the hundreds of cameras packed into the basement bar. A whole lot of time was taken to put together several of the impressive displays, my favorite of them was a dynamic city landscape where the core three of DC (Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman) were featured in several different positions and poses giving us the chance to shoot the figures in all sorts of different and gritty backgrounds. I spent quite a bit of time at the DC MULTIVERSE station where some of my favorite TV characters will be getting their own figures along with a few surprises like a Melissa Benoist Supergirl. To top the event off, we were even given birthday party style goodie bags as a thank you for attending so that's always a plus and it certainly made the ride back to Jersey that much smoother. I would have to say that I am most looking forward to the THUNDERCATS which can be purchased via subscription on MattyCollector.com. All in all, the MATTEL crew brought their A-game with a smartly put together display in an unconventional setting that wound up working better than I expected.