Kenny Penman of Forbidden Planet International in the UK saw the ICv2 2002 Toy Awards (see 'ICv2 2002 Toy Awards, Part 1'), strongly disagreed with our choice of DC Direct as Toy Company of the Year, and offers this impassioned response.
Mostly ICv2 has always given the impression of looking to lead comic-book/entertainment/pop culture retailers toward crossover products that might expand their business' range and customer base - then they go and pick DC Direct as toy company of the year??
Given your own criteria 'These awards are given as a way of reflecting on the events of the year and to draw some conclusions from them. The ICv2 Awards are based entirely on the business impact of events on retailers, as determined by the editorial staff of ICv2.' - where was the 'impact' of DC Direct this past year? Many retailers have been selling these products for years (often in pitifully small numbers) - what exactly changed last year that made DC Direct the retailers' best toy 'friend.' Ok, they are just for the specialist trade - but there is a reason for that - who else would want them? DC Direct toys until now have been almost totally uninspired, with average sculpts and accessories and a VERY high price point at both cost and retail. Personally I resent paying the same at cost (give or take a few cents) as I could sell a Toy Biz Marvel Legends line for. And even getting the Toy Biz product a few weeks late no-one can convince me I won't sell more of a Captain America (packed with comic-book) over time than I will ever sell of a Golden Age Sandman figure. Furthermore DC does not support the retailer in trying to sell more of the product with their frankly insulting 3% discount for case quantity - if I buy toys by the case I expect a realistic discount of around 20%.
If ICv2 really feels we should be looking to DC Direct product to save our Toy Categories there has got to be something wrongheaded with that thinking. If there is a retailer out there who didn't stock and sell Lord of the Rings figures, and make his $2 each on them, because he would rather sell 1/50th of the volume of DC Direct figures, where he makes a bigger margin, then maybe the industry is doomed.
DC Direct is really no different than buying your comics - buy what you need - it will never bring extra customers through your doors. Go out and buy real toys - support the more innovative companies out there who are offering quality toys at value for money - Toy Biz , Art Asylum, Palisades, Mezco et al. There is a reason this stuff is appearing in Tower etc. - they know some of it is cool and it appeals to more than just your average fan-boy. If we are to appeal to more than just the converted - something I thought ICv2 was zealously in favour of - then the choice of DC Direct is unfathomable to me.