|I got this from Party City.|
The year just ended a few hours ago. With it ended the The Official Transformers Collector's Club. Without going on for too long and risking explaining it to someone who already knows, Hasbro has taken the official club and convention license from Fun Publications and everything ended at 12:00am New Year's Day.
So we already know Hasbro intends to roll Transformers and all their other properties into a mega con called Hascon. They did say there is a new fan club coming soon. Personally, I'm more interested in the fan club than the con. Of course being so, I'm really anxious waiting for developments. While waiting for developments, I've pretty much dreamed up how I'd run the new fan club if I was in charge. I'll never be and I'll never get to be more than a member. None the less, I thought of what I'd do and thought it would probably be a good idea to write it all down.
1. There would be a free membership model.
When I would pick up a TF toy and see the TFCC logo on the package, I often wondered how many kids begged their parents to let them join only to feel left out. The old club catered directly to older fans and honestly went too obscure for some members. Sometimes odd fiction or articles would require research for the more casual fan to understand. The free model would be of service to them.
In my mind the club would be web site based and once a member signed in, they would have access to what their membership package would allow.
The free membership would have Transformers news, things like character bios and art, access to a club store, and maybe a schedule of events. This would be adequate for children and more casual fans and not make them feel like they didn't belong.
2. There would be a pay model.
In addition to the basic membership, there would be a paid premium membership. This would give them access to paid benefits that would be of more interest to the more hardcore fan who'd crave more in-depth articles. Interviews with celebrities within the Transformers world. Exclusive fiction such as prose, comics, and character bios. There would be a discount on the club store and exclusive merchandise.
I would offer a membership incentive figure, but it would be a smaller toy to help keep costs down. I would try to keep membership exclusives fairly priced and not have more than a few items a year as to not overwhelm fans who would want to be a completist on club figures. I would try to have a yearly shirt available for sale as well as a printed club annual containing the various articles and fiction from the members section. Because while print isn't as dead as some would lead you to believe, it's not for everyone anymore. I'd imagine some folks would like to get the annual each year, while others wouldn't.
3. Be ran separately from the convention.
Many felt that the existing club was just peripheral to BotCon. While it certainly wouldn't hurt to be involved with the official convention in some way, it would certainly operate independently. This would keep some members from feeling left out of some aspects of the club and allow it to feel more like a fan club in it's own right.
4. Be more community focused.
Fans have get togethers. There are several conventions. There are non Transformers conventions that offer Transformers content. Fans make art. They make custom toys. They get tattoos. They do more than buy. That being said, there would be a community section on the club site where members can showcase their activities. There might even be articles about going to the conventions and stuff. Because it's a club.
Obviously being official, the club wouldn't highlight unofficial products and toys that are sold. However wouldn't make a point to outright damn them. That way they wouldn't ostracize the fans who do participate in those unofficial items and create an unnecessary division. If any fan made a point to poo poo the club for not highlighting the unofficial stuff, then they'd basically just be ignored and not engaged in redundant arguments. An official entity should behave in such ways. While on that subject, personal beliefs would also not be included in the club as much as possible. Because fans are there because they like Transformers and that's all it should be there for.
In all honesty, that's all I got. It's just me fleshing out a daydream and there's more to running an official club than just speculation. There's various legalities and all sorts of operational issues that I haven't ever outright dealt with. I may have a clue, but not all the clues. Anyone can lift a nose towards former license holders, but it takes a certain amount of self righteousness to assume based on your own opinion. So, I can just daydream.
But I suppose there's no harm in that.