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Thread: What is your definition of a toy and of merchandise?

  1. #1
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    Default What is your definition of a toy and of merchandise?

    Some people keep track of their collections, on listings or databases, or to quote an approximate number to others... not to compete or gloat against others. (it also helps with official records like insurance or promotional material)
    So what would your definition of the following be?

    Toy -

    Merchandise -

    Or more to the point, what would be included and excluded from those definitions?
    How playable must an item be to be classified as something intended to be a toy?
    And does anything that is officially licensed, count as merchandise, no matter how unusual or disliked it is?
    And yes, toys could be considered merchandise, even if it is a Toyline first that generates its own merchandise (like Transformers).

    (some of you may know why I'm asking about a definition for merchandise, because if I am to submit a total count of all Transformers merchandise that I own, do I count everything with an official Transformers label on it... because previously, I've only ever counted "toys" which I had originally deemed as being items intended to be played with, but is that definition accurate as well?)

  2. #2
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    I personally only see toys as something that can be played with and/or is designed and intended for play. How can a toy be a toy if I can't toy around with it?

    e.g. I cannot toy around with a bust or a statue; the most I can do is stare at them, thus I don't consider them toys. And if they do count as toys, then about other statues? Do statues in parks, outside museums etc. count as toys? Do the creepy statues of Ronald McDonald sitting on benches at Maccas count as toys? Is the statue of the Aussie soldier standing vigilant on Anzac Bridge count as a toy? For me they don't.

    But then again, what about other toys that aren't Transformers toys but bear the Transformers logo (and are licensed)? Transformers frisbees, kites, bicycles, skateboards, board games, yo-yos etc. These are all things that can be toyed with; they can be played with. Do they count as Transformers toys or are they toys that simply bear the Transformers brand?

    I guess for me it needs to be:
    a/ Something that can be played/toyed with; i.e. what would be commonly deemed as an action figure
    b/ Something that represents a Transformer character
    c/ Something that is marketed or branded as part of the mainstream Transformers action figure line

    Anything else counts as merchandise at best to me. To be honest, any method of classification and counting will always be subjective.

  3. #3
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    Just my thoughts, but..

    I would be thinking that merchandise would be objects that can perform their own function, independent of the brand (am/fm radio, toothbrush, shampoo, watch, zipper clip etc.), but have been marketed using a brand name.

    In my mind, a transformers toy would be a transforming robot which depends on the character and storyline to exist.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultra Mackness View Post
    In my mind, a transformers toy would be a transforming robot which depends on the character and storyline to exist.
    By my understanding of this definition...

    * Action Masters don't count since they don't transform
    * G1 Rescue Force doesn't count since they have no character or storyline, and arguably the late G1 Constructicons
    * Likewise the Real Gear Robots
    * Kabaya model kits sold with confectionery do count as they are characters that exist within storylines and do transform
    * the transforming Optimus Prime 07 movie DVD case counts since it transforms and is a character tied to a storyline
    * Transformable Happy Meal exclusive characters like Under-3 counts since it can transform and has made canonical appearances
    * The Motorvators' Energon figures don't count as they've never appeared canonically, but the Brainmasters' individual Brain figures do count because they have appeared in canon (even if it's only during transformation sequences) - even though the Energon figures are repaints of the same mould. Similarly Giga and Mega count separately but Hasbro Overlord's Energon figures do not.
    * Then there's the question of how to count other figures individually or separately; does G1 Fortress Maximus count as:
    1 toy?
    2 toys (Fort Max + Cerebros)?
    3 toys (Fort Max + Cerebros + Spike Witwicky)?
    4 toys (Fort Max + Cerebros + Spike Witwicky + Cog)?
    5 toys (Fort Max + Cerebros + Spike Witwicky + Gasket + Grommet)?

    I'd personally rather leave canon out of counting toys as it can get really messy.

  5. #5
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    Some good points Gok.

    Perhaps it's easier to differentiate merchandise as as objects performing their function independent of the storyline/mythology/canon.

  6. #6
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    As I see it - if it's an action figure that is meant to be part of the mainstream action figure line then it's a "toy." Anything else is "merchandise." Basically if I can see the toy in a Transformers catalogue then it's a toy and if not then it's merch. I know that they don't print catalogues anymore, but we can also look at what tfwiki defines as toys and merchandise and use that as a standard.

    e.g. Optimus Primal/toys
    In Section 1 of this page we can see a long list of Optimus Primal toys, then in Section 2 we can see a list of merchandise. And some of that merch fits the definition of "transformable characters with a storyline" such as Happy Meal and confectionery toys, but they are listed as merchandise. This is the standard that I go with.


  7. #7
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    Oh good, here comes Pandora and her now-open box....

    I'll keep it simple.

    For me, it either transforms or it's an Action Master. Otherwise it doesn't count. How others choose to classify... is their business


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  8. #8
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    Umm.. if its sold in the toy section its a toy. Otherwise its a merchandise item.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoktimusPrime View Post
    ...but we can also look at what tfwiki defines as toys and merchandise and use that as a standard.
    I just use the TFwiki classification, but I was looking at the site, and unable to find the criteria they use for said classification.

    Hmm, I am in two minds about BotBots. I'd go with 'toy' rather than 'merchandise'. TFwiki does the same, and lists the merchandising for that line separately from the transformable action figures of that line.
    Recent Acquisitions:
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  10. #10
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    It's all subjective and TFwiki's criteria isn't better or worse than anyone else's, but being more publicly visible I guess it can represent what might be a general consensus.
    Quote Originally Posted by Autocon View Post
    Umm.. if its sold in the toy section its a toy. Otherwise its a merchandise item.
    By this criterion Transformers skateboards, balls, frisbees etc all count as a Transformers toys. Btw I'm not saying that you're right or wrong, just pointing out that your criterion is a very broad one.

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