Well, the news is in.
All 900 copies of the Mary Jane statuette have sold out. So, 900 sales are out there.
The New York Post slagged the MJ statue. Dunno what their readership looks like, but I think it’s more than 900.
Boingboing covered the negative response to the statue. Their readership? Over 95,000 unique users per day.
Feministe and Pandagon carried coverage. Their readerships? Probably more than 900.
In summary Sideshow sold 900 x $125 statues and received $112,500 for their effort
What’s the dollar value on the negative publicity? (more marketing thoughts after the cut)
Since this is a Marvel related issue, let’s bust a Stan Lee move, and present a ‘What if’
What if Slideshow had said
‘Okay, look, this product we make has made you pretty damn unhappy. Can we make something else that you’d buy? We need to replace $112500 of revenue to make this thing go away without suffering a financial hit. What can we do?’
How many suggestions would they have received? What if they engaged with the market that had arrived at the gates and said ‘We made this because we saw economic gain in exploiting women. We’re seeing an error in judgement here. What can we do different?’
Because Sideshow also happens to sell more than just this one piece. They sell products in the lines of
Aliens, Anime / manga, Buffy, Famous persons, Hellboy, James bond, Legendary musicians, Lord of the rings, Marvel, Military, Morpheus, New line horror, Planet of the apes, Predator, Scarface, Star wars, Terminator, Vintage monsters and X-files. Products that attracted a fair level of internet based interest, and internet support.
Sideshow was faced with an unhappy crowd and they choice to wall up the kingdom, delete posts and send back ‘Not thine’ level responses. How many messages did they receive? How many very unhappy people did they send to the wilderness?
In marketing, one of the things we have as a rule of thumb is that one happy customer tells three people, and one unhappy customer tells ten. When the unhappy customer tells you, that’s when you have a chance to perform service recovery, and potentially convert the unhappy person into a loyal customer.
What if II : Regaining ground
What if Sideshow responds personally now to each of the people who wrote to them?
What if they write back to everyone who wrote to them, and post on the board and apologised for having been in idiots about it and for dismissing their responses.
What if they asking for buy-in, and for suggestions? About what could do have done differently? About how to do things differently for next time?
We do this in marketing. It’s called responding to customer feedback. Ask Seth Godin about it sometime. He’d say that right now, Sideshow have created an ideavirus. The ideavirus being that they don’t like women, and don’t listen to customers. That’s an idea virus that’s spread to the New York Post and to Boingboing. Boingboing, which is a major metafilter point for online influencers. Online influencers who probably liked something in the Sideshow extended product catalog and won’t touch the ‘the creepy mary jane guys’.
So maybe the people who complained weren’t customers. Now they’re definitely never going to be customers because their complaints were dismissed and deleted. Which, even if you don’t like what they had to say, tells you, the Sideshow paying customer that Sideshow likes you when you give them money, and don’t give a damn if you have a problem.
For me, that’s one unexpected bit of news out of this I was going to buy some Sideshow products actually. Lord of the Rings figures to be precise. Boromir to be exact. I was going to join the backorder queue for one of the next 2000 statues.
Right now, unless I see Sideshow front up and take some ownership in this situation, I won’t feel safe putting my money in their hands, because they’ve demonstrated they don’t respond to feedback, delete complaints off the bulletin boards and those aren’t the features of a company I want to spend my money supporting.
Which also is contributing to why I’m quite so bloody annoyed I want that Boromir statue.
Sideshow, why don’t you want my custom?
Dr Stephen Dann
Well, the news is in.