Monday, August 1, 2016

Pop! Ad Icons (Funko)

Pop! Ad Icons
2011 - 2012

Funko slowly crept onto the scene in the summer of 2010 when the relatively unheard of company made its Funko Force 2.0 debut at San Diego Comic Con. Focusing on DC related super heroes, the company soon found themselves at the wheel of what would become one of the fastest growing pop culture phenomenons of the new millennium - The Funko Pop vinyl figure.

Since those early days, Funko has gone on to obtain numerous licenses for various characters from not only comic books, but also television, movies, video games, and well, pretty much anything else you can think of. Will Funko leave any stone unturned seems the most popular question among collectors - Well, that and will the company go the way of the once popular Ty Beanie Baby, and crash into the ground in a heaping flame.

In 2011, Funko introduced another popular entry into their wide spanning sets - Ad Icons. Though the possibilities were relatively endless in terms of the available mascots / characters, Funko started and stopped with General Mills Halloween favorites, Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Franken Berry. Sorry folks, no Fruit Brute or Yummy Mummy.

Much like the Funko Force 2.0 series, Ad Icons got their start in the summer of 2011 at SDCC with the metallic and for Boo Berry, the glow in the dark pieces. The trio would later be released via retail avenues, but only in a standard version - I.E. no glow or metallic features.

As mentioned above, these were the only characters released (to date) in the ad icons series, which is strange considering the massive amount of available mascots just from cereal products alone. There was certainly room for growth, and a shame that so far there hasn't been further releases.

And just as we finish writing this, Funko announces Big Boy from Bob's Big Boy. Of course it's a SDCC exclusive.

Unlike a lot of the other SDCC exclusives this year, Big Boy has not been released yet (and perhaps won't be) as a "2016 Summer Convention Exclusive" via various retail outlets - Such as many others have. This in turn is contributing to its already high secondary market value which has been hitting upwards of $200.00 already.


It's as if Funko was waiting for us to publish this post, and then decided, "Okay, let's release more Ad Icons." We just got word from them that Bullseye, the Target mascot will also be joining the fray. It of course will be a Target exclusive.

What's interesting about Funko Pops in general is the incredible rate in which their secondary market values are expanding. Prices shoot up rapidly for newly released items as scalpers prey on the "Gotta Have It" collectors who aren't patient enough to wait. Sadly, a lot of these collectors are right to follow this route as we've come to find that if you don't buy them when you see them, the chances of you seeing them again are slim to none - Especially at retail prices. As we said above, Funko Pops have soared in popularity - So much to the point that it appears supply can't keep up with demand.

To make matters worse, Funko has taken to vaulting certain pieces as time passes. This is most likely the result of a license agreement coming to an end, and both parties (or possibly just one) opting not to renew. The end results are retired pieces that can reach as high as several thousands of dollars to obtain on secondary markets - Which many Funko Pop collectors seem ready and willing to pay. This in turn only feeds into the scalper mentality as many dealers are willing to buy now, and sell (much) later if it ensures up to a one hundred fold profit margin.

For as many fans that there are of Funko's vinyl figures, it seems a good portion of them are not happy with the scarce nature of certain figures, and in general the over saturation of the market as the company continues to produce character after character. As a collector it's incredibly difficult to keep up with the sheer volume of releases, and more so frustrating that if you don't you're met with after market prices - Contributing to your collection falling even further behind, and possibly leading to retired pieces you'll never be able to obtain on your budget.

This is compounded by Funko's unrelenting desire to make agreements with numerous outlets for exclusive pieces produced in incredibly low quantities. In many cases, pieces not only start out costly to buy directly from each outlet, but explode in value on secondary markets. Then take into consideration if you can even pre-order (or in general get one) before they sell out. In the event of it being a convention exclusive, you also have to attend said convention.

For as fun as it is to collect Funko Pops, it's equally frustrating in the above regard.

Unfortunately our Ad Icon characters fall into all of these categories. The pieces that started as exclusives were produced in extremely low quantities, and the retail versions are long since retired. The retail ones will cost you upwards of a hundred dollars each. As for the SDCC metallic ones - You can expect to pay upwards of three hundred a piece for them. Then there's the SDCC glow in the dark Boo Berry which will set you back nine hundred dollars to a grand - Great news if you have one. Bad news if you want one. Now keep in mind that those prices are a benchmark as of this writing, and could potentially rise even further.

With prices ranging so high for each retired Funko Pop's (in general), it's "funny" to hear collectors talk about how they wished that they had purchased the figures they wanted when they saw them on the shelf for ten bucks. Personally, we wish we had just invested in the company on the stock market. We could buy all the Pops we wanted if we had - Not to mention be retired, live in a mansion, etc. Oh well. If collectors had time machines, toys wouldn't be worth what they are these days.

Truth be told, many Funko fans wish that the company would go the route of Ty Beanie Babies because it would kill the desire of scalpers, and make it possible to obtain the pieces that many want, but can't currently afford. However, what fans don't seem to take into account when making this kind of statement is that it would essentially mean the end of future Pops. It's never fun to hear about your favorite lines ending, but at the same time it's never fun to not be able to complete the collection you want because you've been priced out of the hobby. To put it bluntly - It's a crappy catch 22.

We'd like to cover more Funko Pop lines here at The Toy Box, but unfortunately don't known the realistic possibility of that. Well, actually we do. It's not realistic or possible. With so many on the market already, and an endless amount on the horizon, this is definitely not a line that we could reasonably obtain all of them - Nor would we want to - Especially at the prices for some of them. We'll revisit when we can, but it most likely won't be any time soon.

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