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?