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A card with fire to the Pony, the toy dealer awakens the "second spring of IP"

Play Generations 2024/05/31 10:31

"Which one do you choose, Hermès bag or Pony card?" Of the more than 800 comments on social media, many chose the latter. Although it has its gimmick component, a wave of people who like My Little Pony has truly become "Hermes".

Play Generation, a card with fire Pony Paulie, toy dealer awakens the "second spring of IP"

Recently, the collection cards of the anime "My Little Pony" set fire to the school. Some retailers in stores around the campus pointed out that "men play Ultraman, women play Pony", and Pony cards are becoming a popular social currency for post-10 girls. Coincidentally, a trendy grocery store in Beijing opened, and Pony Pony played the "top brand" of the main shelves.

Thanks to the collectible card collection craze, the influence of my Pony's IP has increased significantly.

The social platform not only has "Pony Card Demolition Blogger" and "Pony Card Live Room"; On the e-commerce platform, Pony Polycard also drove the highest monthly sales of 2 million pieces in a single store, and appeared on the hot list of Taotian Vertical Category; Many stores sell tens of thousands of Pony cards a month.

A small card is hot to drive the circle, and the second-hand circulation price of popular cards can reach hundreds to thousands of yuan. The topic views on the Xiaohongshu platform exceeded 250 million.

Play Generation, a card with fire Pony Paulie, toy dealer awakens the "second spring of IP"

My Little Pony Lika is on the sales & hot search list of Xianyu platform (May 23)

From the "unpopular" that children only pay attention to, to the trend collection "hot ring", it only took two or three years.

It is unimaginable that "My Little Pony", an animation IP whose sales have declined and become a cold bench in the hands of the parent company Hasbro, has become "crazy" in the hands of Chinese toy manufacturers.

The "ancient IP", which can't be covered by my own mother, has become popular in China

"My Little Pony" is aimed at preschoolers and has never been able to keep up with trends.

Back in the 80s of the last century, the two major toy companies in the United States, Hasbro and Mattel, competed in the children's toy market. In order to fight Mattel's Barbie doll, Hasbro also needed a girl IP that could fight, so the first pony toy was born in 1981.

Similar to the Transformers' playstyle, My Little Pony also uses cartoons as commercials: an animated story of a group of cute ponies learning magic, which directly leads to the same pony-shaped toy. This is the beginning of a 40-year sequel. At its peak, its toy sales were not inferior to Transformers, and its business segment could generate $1 billion in revenue a year.

Play Generation, a card with fire Pony Paulie, toy dealer awakens the "second spring of IP"

My Little Pony pre-loved dolls, the unique grooming gameplay is loved by little girls

But the whole series is difficult to reach its peak after the popularity of the fourth-generation Pony (G4). After four consecutive years of growth in 2017, the company's revenue stalled the following year (-12% in 2018), and then suffered the impact of the epidemic, and the parent company Hasbro fell into a performance quagmire, with constant news of layoffs and asset sales. The toy sales were not smooth, and the Pony IP once cut off the creative project, and finally ended in 2020.

In fact, my Little Pony has had few market waves in recent years. China's box office market is even more difficult to compete with. In 2022, the movie "My Little Pony: New Generation" will have a mainland box office of 17 million. In 2018, the mainland box office of the My Little Pony movie was 46 million, becoming the film's largest international box office market, compared with the bear-infested movie released in the same year, with a box office of 600 million.

From the cartoon to the CCTV Children's Channel in 2013, as well as the continuous launch of streaming media sites such as Station B and iQiyi, the cultivation of "My Little Pony" in China is still stuck in the sub-supply direction, far from being out of the circle.

But just recently, this IP was detonated by its derivative Pony card.

There are as many as 940,000 notes related to Xiaohongshu's "My Little Pony Polycard" (an increase of about 35% in the past week), and more than 150,000 products. There are also some anchors who specialize in small horse cards, and thousands of people can watch just by opening the card.

In some millet shops in Shanghai and Beijing, there is a whole side of pony card shelves on display, and the unit price ranges from tens of yuan. According to the relevant business owners, Pony Paulica is mainly loved by elementary school students and middle school girls. Three or four years ago, the most popular collection for elementary school girls was Yerolica.

Another trendy toy collection brand revealed that my Little Pony card players used to be concentrated in K12, but now more and more senior students and even college students are buying cards. At the same time, he pointed out that in recent years, female card players have grown rapidly, and the consumer base of My Little Pony card is also changing, and there are also some family customers.

The enthusiasm of "Hermès" is higher than ever. The older generation and the new generation of horse fans have grown, and new interest categories have stimulated the market and driven a rapid increase in interest in collecting.

The My Little Pony Card Publisher Card Game captures this fundamental: it grasps the migration of the age group of the My Little Pony audience, integrates it with the collection culture, and makes a breakthrough in the new customer group.

According to an online tracking survey data on the "horse circle", the ratio of men and women in the horse circle in 2022 will be 6:4, and the age will be concentrated in 15-20 years old, accounting for about 7 percent. Compared with five years ago, the core age group is on the rise, reflecting the increasing age of horse circle fans. From the younger age group to the adults, male and female fans together constitute a "horse circle". (*Due to the limitations of its research channels and methods, it is estimated that the proportion of actual primary school students will be higher).

They are not only animation audiences, but also fan creation enthusiasts, and their spending power is more amazing than that of the K12 group. On the occasion of my Little Pony's character's birthday, some fans spread many collections throughout the room, attracting tens of thousands of likes and onlookers. This type of gameplay is commonly found in the B game circle, where players use it to express their love for the husbands of the paper people.

Play Generation, a card with fire Pony Paulie, toy dealer awakens the "second spring of IP"

The "horse circle" has its own "Crazy Horse Show". Its consumer culture is also getting closer and closer to the two-dimensional eating grain culture: several animated protagonists have formed their own corresponding fandoms, and support their favorite characters with consumption behaviors. Players derive emotional satisfaction from collecting, viewing, and displaying. Different regional markets are more popular in different regions, with Pinkie, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy having high popularity in China, and Twilight Sparkle becoming more influential in the world.

The analysis of the above report pointed out that Sancheng fans entered the circle after G4, and the speed of new fans entering the circle has not decreased. Generation G4 not only corresponds to the main group, but also the core development point of toy manufacturers.

In 2021 and 2022, Bubble Mart will launch a two-bullet Pony blind box series, which can be regarded as a prelude. It was also at the same time that the collectible cards launched by card games quickly captured female enthusiasts, and then recently became stronger in the integration with the trendy collection culture, and the hype continued. In addition, there is also a Pony Pony character image backpack similar to the pain bag in the market.

In terms of productization, it can be displayed and shared, the attributes of social currency are prominent, and the collection and exchange gameplay strengthens the circle connection. These trendy evolutions and characteristics have activated a potential consumption zone and brought the popularity of Pony IP's to another dimension.

Toy developers, but also invisible operators

Not only my Little Pony, Pingu (Chinese translated as "Penguin Family") is also typical of its popularity in China.

Recently, the X11 co-branded Pingu flash mob event landed in Hangzhou, and the 5-meter-tall Pingu inflatable model landed in Hubin Yintai in77. This "nearly 40-year-old" clay animation character is "face-to-face" with fans. This is also Pingu's largest offline interactive exhibition in Chinese mainland in many years.

For this flash mob, X11 has been preparing since the Spring Festival, bringing a total of 120+ SKUs covering 5 categories, including blind boxes, hanging ornaments, dolls, millet and good living things. 7 of them became debut and flash limited.

This is a concentrated blasting of the focus circle. X11 found Pingu's core consumer group through past product sales data: there are more female groups, they often have a study abroad background, or urban white-collar workers, who are keen on petty bourgeois lifestyle, and are concentrated in East China. Based on this, X11 avoided Shanghai, which was overly dense with flash mobs, and chose the magnitude business district of Hangzhou. With the combination of "fun product planning, interactive gameplay and community operation", Pingu is brought back to the user's field of vision.

Play Generation, a card with fire Pony Paulie, toy dealer awakens the "second spring of IP"

In April last year, X11 reached an authorized cooperation with Pingu to jointly create Pingu's first domestic trendy toy line, among which the "Pingu Acting My Day Series" plush blind box was sold out on the day of its debut on Tmall, ranking among the TOP3 categories of the current Tmall hot list, and so far only X11 has sold more than 200,000 boxes in a single channel.

In fact, Pingu has very few operations in Chinese mainland. Its animation works are distributed, and the total number of broadcasts of the six seasons of dramas on station B is only more than 3 million. Only memes have spontaneous transmission.

Under the interruption of the animation series, it was a group of domestic partners who made the "fill-in".

Toy company SHANDMOO has developed a series of derivatives for Pingu, and the representative plush blind box has sold well in multiple channels. Shanmo particularly emphasizes the product development idea of "emotional expression". Its product "Pingu and My Daily" has emotions like emojis; Or such as "double door pillows", which combine the use scene with the mood.

Shanmo also tried to build his own social media account matrix, taking toys as the "protagonists" and outputting continuous creation of scenarios and stories. This, in turn, becomes a content asset for Pingu. Some friends who are not familiar with Pingu have learned about Pingu's character traits through image sharing and memes.

In other words, the "product developer" plays the role of "content operator" to a certain extent. Not only product companies, but also channel brands are also doing "content", and Pingu currently has 40,000 notes on Xiaohongshu.

Play Generation, a card with fire Pony Paulie, toy dealer awakens the "second spring of IP"

The popular "Pingu sticks out his tongue" was played as an emoji by netizens

In this flash mob linkage, X11 and the copyright owner adopted a negotiation method to find a suitable development rhythm for Pingu, and used the data assets precipitated by the retail terminal to guide the IP market actions and avoid excessive overdraft. The person in charge of the X11 brand pointed out that considering Pingu's age background and circle size, after the flash mob in Hangzhou, the follow-up activity plan will be revised based on data feedback.

It is no longer an industry secret that product developers and retailers are going to do "operations".

MINISO will not only hold birthday parties for IP characters, invite users to participate in themed activities, and introduce new products according to product preferences in the circle; It will also classify consumers according to interest tags, and operate fan private domain communities around different interests. For example, the trend of Barbie's IP brand, such as Chiikawa's shift from grain-eating culture to lifestyle. Penetrate the market with a comprehensive approach, reshape the IP image, and ultimately help the IP feed back value.

My Little Pony cards are also changing their playing style and strengthening the operational side. In 2022, my Little Pony's popularity is far inferior to Ye Luoli, who is also a group of little girls. Even if a My Little Pony movie is released, the popularity of the card box is not very high. But this year, dealers and channel providers have collectively gone out to build momentum as bloggers, and the sales popularity has risen together with social media popularity and card prices.

Since last year, card games have begun to launch more IP theme stores, launching themed activities, integrating mainstream cultural interests such as cosplay and Gu Mei (DIY decoration for IP peripherals), which in turn promotes the promotion of card culture.

The card game prospectus also mentions "IP operation capabilities" and "effective fun and interactive operations", and points out that "we have adopted a systematic strategy in the overall IP operation value chain from IP acquisition and creation to commercial households", and "we can promote IP popularity, extend IP life cycle, and maximize IP business value".

Seize the opportunity of the "second spring of old IP".

Whether it's My Little Pony, Pingu or Barbie, these classic IPs of "super long standby" have developed over time, and fans of all ages have high demand and differentiated needs. Grasping the generational transition can often bring unexpected explosions.

Looking at My Little Pony, different generations have different visual identity systems and expression connotations in the past 40 years. In the context of the mainstream style of cute and cute, the early stage is more inclined to cater to the aesthetics of young children. Later, Equestria Girls made a breakthrough in humanizing character design, and later 3D. Each generation's vision is different, and the response is very different.

But the key twist that really created the pinnacle was the Pony G4 generation. The series was directed by Lauren Faust and became an instant hit. Its success is that it significantly weakens the "low sense of inferiority". In terms of character modeling, G4 is more American-style and cute, simple and bright rainbow colors, which are in line with the aesthetics of young people (later "dopamine wind" followed). At the same time, the theme of "friendship" kills both men and women, the characters' personalities are more distinct, and the core of the story has also been improved a lot, so that adults can also read the empathy.

A good story + good visuals unexpectedly locked a large number of young fans and adult fans (over 12 years old). As a result, a large number of fanfic creations exploded, and pony culture quickly merged with niche subcultures, becoming a kind of Internet pop and "must-see for macho men". The G4 generation is also the biggest IP "gold mine".

However, for a long time, my pony's toy development is still focused on 4-8 years old, and the design and taste have been difficult to meet the preferences of the consumer market. "Ultra-long standby" IPs also need to grow, with content iteration, brand renewal, diversified development, and adaptation to local conditions.

Just recently, Pony has also begun to join the co-branding trend, and cross-border attacks such as MINISO, Nova Coffee, and Costa have hit. The "second spring of old IP" is a trend that is happening.

Toy dealers are seizing this window of opportunity. On the one hand, the intensification of competition in the domestic market has forced enterprises to find more unique and differentiated IPs, which are sentimental and differentiated, and are a good choice for cooperation. On the one hand, the cost of traffic is intensifying, and brands need to understand traffic and group psychology better, and create content of interest to leverage the market. Many internal and external reasons have prompted a change in market thinking and opened up new opportunities. But there is no doubt that when it comes to manufacturing trends, Chinese toymakers are on the right track.

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