Thursday, September 16, 2010

Panini Has A Moment of Clarity

In the 8+ years I have been reviewing and writing about sports cards, I have never seen a company release an official product preview (complete with email distribution from their PR firm, widely distributed sell sheet and social media commentary on the product) and then reconfigure the product's pack-out based on negative feedback received.

However, that is exactly what happened this week, with regards, to 2010-11 Donruss Hockey. Upon the public release of the sell sheet, the disproportionate price to card ratio for what has always been seen as a quality, low end brand caused quite the uproar on Twitter, Facebook, the blogsphere and was also a subject for debat on Card Corner Club Radio last week in which we asked Scott Prusha, Marketing Director for Panini America, point blank, what they were thinking with a 5 card pack costing $3.99. As to be expected, Scott delivered the company line about insuring value at any price point and now was the time to think outside the box as they re-enter the hockey market.

Now, updated product information has 2010-11 Donruss Hockey, packing out with 10 cards per pack and a much more reasonable SRP of $2.99 a pack putting it right in line competition and value wise against Upper Deck Series 1 and 2, a long time collector favorite. If you missed the show, we also asked Scott why the conscious decision to leave a product gap and not compete for collector's dollars usually reserved for UD S1/S2. He said, "We don't pay attention or care what they (Upper Deck) are doing." Which is obviously not true and certainly not now on the heels of this recent happening.

Was this real time market research or did they get caught with their pants down? What do you think?


Captain Canuck said...

they have no clue what's going on. I'll wager they were extremely shocked at the reception that the hockey received. This is the tail wagging the dog.

Rob- AKA "VOTC" said...

If this was some sort of real time marketing, I give them credit for listening to the collector angst and responding appropriately.

Scott is a straight up guy and while, as the most visible and face and vocal voice of the company, he has to handle PR, I am confident he went back to the powers that be with the feedback from collectors.

I still don't believe for a second that with only "x" market share available, that they don't pay attention to their competition, that would just be bad business.

Sal said...

Of course they pay attention to what Upper Deck is doing. They'd be crazy not to.

$4 for 5 cards is nuts, unless you get an autograph in every pack. $3 for 10 cards gives us 2 more cards than Upper Deck Series 1 or 2.

Maybe Upper Deck, in turn, will give us 12 cards per pack in Upper Deck Series 1. Their baseball and football cards have more than 8 cards per pack at $3...maybe they'll finally do the same now that they have some competition.

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