That typo is just the start of the issues on that article. I'm currently going through and updating some sorely outdated information, but I'd rather have Ben go through and clean it up/verify some things. In particular, I disagree with the emphasis on shelf space issues, especially with the addition of the Hydroblitz and that retailers were willing to carry them. I think design team incompetence is the main issue here, and the reasons are as follows.
When Larami was completely absorbed, many of their best engineers left and went to BBT. I don't think the reasons for this are clear, but when you go from Max-D and CPS 2100 to the EES, its obvious that there has not only been a shift at marketing direction, but also on the design teams. While Hasbro's design team improved slightly afterwards, they simply never got the gist of what makes a good water gun, and what makes them sell. Larami knew just how to make good water guns and they definitely sold very well in their time, while Hasbro experimented with bad gimmicks and designs like the Arctic Shock. The Arctic Shock showed that gimmicks can sell but only for the short term as people trash theirs once they find out that it's a piece of crap compared to the Flash Flood, which was legitimately popular and well-liked. However, the fact that FF triggers were breaking left and right must not have helped for SS's popularity very much. And I don't think I even need to get started on the Oozinator; the reasons Hasbro came up with it and the reason it was such a huge flop are all glaringly obvious.
Enter the Hydroblitz. Hasbro is still experimenting with gimmicks, but this time on a large sale. It flopped too when stores and Hasbro alike were flabberghasted at the concept that no one would want to pay $40 for an oversized underpowered blaster. If it was a re-release of the Monster instead, it might have sold better and definitely be worth the money.
I think too many people have the misconception that gimmicks are effective and that's why Hasbro went towards that approach. Gimmicks only work for the short term and eventually you need a new one. Hasbro truly turned the water gun into a buy-and-consume product to be bought, used for one summer, tossed into the garage, and tossed out in the garbage, not necessarily by spending less money on material quality, but by spending less on their design/ideas/marketing teams. The Hydroblitz and Oozinator failures must have costed them a good amount of money, whereas if they continued selling the same old CPS's in new cases, they'd be less likely to have such problems. A CPS 1000 takes as much shelf space as some Nerf guns and BBT's, and a 2500 may take 1.5 times as much. (About as much space as a Nerf Longshot takes) But when they all sell well, it really does not matter that much; if shelves are constantly getting emptied savagely by eager consumers, then all the better!
To further my point on design/marketing incompetence, just look at what happened later on around '08 to '09. The SS brand was nothing but re-releases, then they handed it over to Nerf for 2010. They made blasters more useful as props or to mod into Nerf guns than for any possible water warfare use. Hasbro really does not give a crap about the SS brand as it has treated it as a little sideline all these years and not given anything to it while they work on huge Nerf projects, pumping out all sorts of battery powered novelties and accessories. When was the last time you saw a vest for holding water refill bottles? When was the last time a SS had a strap other than the Hydroblitz? That's right, BBT has been picking up all their slack and Hasbro is basically handing the market to them. There are two reasons the water gun market isn't that profitable; one is because Hasbro has treated it as a nearly worthless commodity, and two, that treatment has lead consumers to also treat them as such. They are not treated as toys people value anymore.
I'll just make a few basic corrections for now, but honestly most of the article needs re-writing to be up to date.
Last edited by C-A_99
on Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:24 am, edited 1 time in total.