Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Conflicted Over Back On Topps

When first hearing about Michael Eisner's plans to launch a web series fictitiously based around the the day to day activities of the Topps company, I was intrigued as I'm sure many of you were. Upon casting of the Sklar Brothers you knew that the idea took a nerdish, cheesy turn and Season 1 certainly delivered humor of that variety.

I'll admit I was initially entertained, not so much by the comedy (or lack thereof) itself as I was with the novelty of the concept. However, with card companies, as of late, taking a more kid friendly marketing tactic, I was surprised that they choose to invest in and promote the irreverent juvenile behavior patented by the Sklar brothers as compared to say, I don't know . . creating better products!

I was even more surprised to see that the web series recently made it's Season 2 debut. Proving that apparently no group of people is safe from the scorn and ridicule of the Sklar Brothers, the first 2 episodes declare open season on Jesus and the handicap to create laughs clearly not focusing this show towards young collectors.

I did find the second episode of the new season better than the first (which sucked) getting a pretty big chuckle from the Jeter Cologne bit.

A list of the credits shows a litany of people on the payroll to support this venture which is currently sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods. When Eisner's group took over Topps he immediately made it clear that he wanted to leverage the Topps name and such icons as Bazooka Joe to create multi-media opportunities to drive revenue resulting in less reliance on the traditional card and candy business to drive profits.

Obviously I don't have insight into their books but despite the heavy production costs, it would be safe to assume that the first season made money, justifying its return.

My question/conflict is what could that money have done had they hired a new creative and product development team?
What do YOU think?

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