An Annual Event

Friday, September 30 2011
An Annual Event

To say that the WWE runs a to an annual calendar is something of an understatement.

Wrestling fans know the formula and dates almost off by heart; Clear Vision builds it’s release schedule around them and anyone who’s been in the industry, especially retail, for more than a few months will have a fairly good idea of how that calendar works.

And as part of that annual cycle, it’s fairly much a given that Christmas is not necessarily a time when WWE product comes to the fore. Sure, there are still constant sales, but it has never been a huge part of the gifting market.

All that could change this year, however, as Clear Vision launches a new box set initiative aimed at driving incremental sales of its product.

For the company has spotted an opportunity. Working from the massive sales of its biggest release on the calendar, Wrestlemania, through to the average sales of its other releases, the company has realised that there are a number of consumers who buy into the blockbuster titles, but may not pick up every other WWE title. Add to that the fact that sales remain constant for many of the WWE titles and yet their audience is in a near-constant state of flux, with new fans getting into it and older fans drifting away and you’re looking at a potentially lucrative market of both casual and lapsed potential customers.

And how can these customers be tempted back into the fray?

With box sets, that’s how. And that’s why Clear Vision, via its Silver Vision and Fight imprints, will be testing the waters with two box set collections, taking in its WWE and UFC franchises respectively.

“We have a tried and tested traditional release strategy and the nature [of the business] is cyclical,” explains Clear Vision’s Ben Stanley. “But this year we’re delving into the wonderful world of the Q4 business and looking to maximise our incremental business.”

It’s not that people didn’t want Clear Vision to be producing this kind of product. “Retailers have often asked us why we aren’t doing a WWE box set,” he adds. Well, now they are.

“If you want a benchmark, then look at what Wrestlemania does, it is the casual fans and the lapsed fans’ one purchase of the year, so we know the market’s there.”

Offering what Stanley describes as great titles at a great price, the box, the WWE Annual 2011, contains three recent WWE releases. The Best Of collections for the two separate Raw and Smackdown strands and a live in the UK event too. “These are three key titles,” he says.

The package, pictured here, was put together after detailed research and planning. “We looked at what price point they should be at and what sort of packaging,” he explains.

Eschewing a complete formula, including all 13 of a year’s pay per view events, as being too costly and just too damn big, Clear Vision’s WWE title was targeting younger fans and lapsed punters. “We wanted a nice, tidy compact gift,” says Stanley. “We didn’t want it to be huge, but when you pick it up, it’s really heavy, it feels weighty. That’s got a really high perceived value.”

As for the UFC box, UFC Ultimate Collection, a similar philosophy was employed, albeit one that also nods towards the growing reputation of the mixed martial arts fighting organization. As Stanley says: “The Best Of titles have done phenomenally well, the [UFC’s] profile is getting bigger and it’s becoming more acceptable and in the mainstream, it’s outperforming people’s expectations. There’s a great opportunity to put together a great box set.”

In terms of the packaging, Clear vision has aimed at getting the vfm offering across, as well as featuring the respective organisations’ biggest names and franchises. “We haven’t missed a trick in getting across the value proposition. When you get them on the shelf it hits you, we want to get across the great value,” Stanley says. “For the WWE it’s a huge brand and we’ve got the big superstars [on the cover]. It’s all about seeing it from a distance and making the branding clear enough. There’s massive branding on the front. It ticks all the right boxes. It’s a similar approach for the UFC.”

And if it all goes well? Expect more from Clear Vision in 2012.

As Stanley concludes: “We have the potential to be a great Q4 box set company. If it sells we’ll be looking at it again.”

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