Entertainment Earth and its sister company, Bif Bang Pow!, are two major forces in internet toy retail. EE began as a site dedicated to Star Wars collectibles but over the last decade has grown to not only carry products from all manner of licenses but also serve as an international distributor, offering wholesale opportunities to countless retailers across the globe. Bif Bang Pow, a new company on the collectibles scene, sprung from Entertainment Earth abilities to become a separate entity entirely. They have used EE’s in-place infrastructure to market its licensed products. Bif Bang Pow’s current portfolio includes rights to films such as the retro cult classic Flash Gordon and the contemporary cult hit The Big Lebowski. Also moving into TV, the company secured rights to Dexter, hitting a variety of key collectible markets.
What is perhaps most fascinating about these two entities is not their mutually-beneficial relationship; but rather, the overarching model of their connected plan. As we here at Pop Culture Zoo focus on the various aspects of popular media and its products, so too does Entertainment Earth, at times directly through Bif Bang Pow. EE president, Jason Labowitz, took some time to let me know what this cross-platforming might look like… which appears to be a brilliant stroke for this online retailer.
We first discussed the upcoming 10th anniversary of The Big Lebowski DVD hitting this fall. The special edition comes in a collectible bowling ball case and includes a flyer for Big Lebowski products, available from Bif Bang Pow, through Entertainment Earth. When a customer gets the flyer and jumps online to visit EE’s Lebowski section, they will not only have the advertised Bif Bang Pow figures but also other related merchandise, such as shot glasses and keychains. The shopper now sees that EE is a retailer of all manner of licensed product; and then the browsing begins. How many of these flyers will turn directly into sales is obviously unknown, but even if only a small percentage of those who purchase the DVD visit EE, that could still be thousands of potential shoppers. Given that at least 100,000 units of the DVD will be produced, the revenue could be very strong for this single cross-promotion alone. Without the direct tie-in of Bif Bang Pow to the studio (since they are the company with the license, after all), Entertainment Earth would have been unable to get the guaranteed ad space. Without Entertainment Earth, Bif Bang Pow would not have had the clear, definitive retailer to which costumers can be directed for all their Lebowski needs. Hence, both companies are getting a big “pick-me-up” from the other.
Apply the above model to the growing popularity of the television series Dexter (hypothetically for inclusion with the Season 2 DVD set), and one can see how the system set in place provides the ability for both Entertainment Earth and Bif Bang Pow to constantly benefit from their continued relationship. Cross-promotion is a common part of all merchandising at this point in the licensing game. However, despite the fact that a great deal of consumers check the internet for their collectibles needs, a vast majority of the population still shop in brick-and-mortar retailers. Casual collectors who simply pick up knick-knacks at random would never venture to a site like Entertainment Earth to see what’s being released in the coming months. More importantly, if specialized licensed products (like those produced by Bif Bang Pow) never made it to their local retailers, these collectors may not know that products from their favorite cult classic films and TV shows even exist. So, the insert provides not only an advertisement for Entertainment Earth, but the entire product line itself, as well as the Bif Bang Pow name and brand.
It’s an incredibly advantageous place to be. Bif Bang Pow as a licensee allows the two companies to have a closer relationship with the original copyright holder. This enables both to better position themselves to do things like advertise their collectibles in conjunction with the original license. Labowitz made this distinction when we spoke. He brought attention to the fact that Entertainment Earth’s ability as a retailer to gain exclusive advertising would be extremely difficult while Bif Bang Pow’s ability is much simpler given that they have a direct tie to the licensor. It is much easier to advertise your product when you are able to say, “go HERE to purchase” rather than “products available at your local specialty store.”
The second largest hurdle after bringing attention to the product is making it easily accessible. Anyone who has been in the retail business knows that the primary goal is to make it easy for your customers to give you their money, leave satisfied and ultimately come back. Entertainment Earth and Bif Bang Pow seem to understand this principle to its core and as such, they are guaranteed success for the foreseeable future.
Both Entertainment Earth and Bif Bang Pow reveled product at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Check out our photo gallery to get pics of their ever-expanding lines like Flash Gordon figures (Series 2), Big Lebowski figures and bobbleheads (with new characters Jesus, The Stranger and Donny), and Dexter bobbleheads.
And don’t forget to check out pics of Entertainment Earth’s upcoming and currently-available exclusives, including their Heroes “Phasing” Invisible Man and the plethora of Star Wars products like The 3 ¾ sclae Joker Squad Exclusive 7-figure box-set, ‘Luke In Disguise’ bobblehead, Animated Boba Fett w/ Han in Carbonite Maquette.
You can read more of C.J.’s musings on film, toys and music over at stunksstage.com.