The NYSE-listed purveyor of pop culture collectibles – which holds hundreds of licenses and the rights to create tens of thousands of characters – is using its unique business model behind its collectibles to sell its line of breakfast cereals.
Funko’s Pop! Vinyl, for example, is one of the most popular stylized vinyl collectibles on the market, selling millions of figures to collectors around the world.
Likewise, according to CEO Brian Mariotti, the same methodology is behind its cereal releases: to create a short-term demand for sought-after collectible.
For example, the company launched a line of brightly colored multigrain cereals called FunkOs in July.
FunkO’s was packed in boxes that featured a well-known character, like Batman, Beetlejuice and Freddy Krueger, as well as a little Funko Pop collectible.
Available in very limited numbers, when stocks ran out, fans did not get a second chance to get their hands on the cereal.
Sense of urgency
“The sell-through is very quick and we move on to the next one. That mirrors what we do a as a company. We create a sense of urgency around a product,” said Mariotti.
More recently, the Washington-based company rolled-out a Golden Girls-themed cereal at selected Target and online stores.
The box shows the sitcom’s four central characters in an anime-style illustration and contains a collectable figurine of either Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia or Rose.
Funko produced only 16,000 boxes of Golden Girls FunkO's – and the interest from consumers has been “insatiable.”
The cereal is priced at $7.99 in Target, but for those desperados who missed out, online retailer Mercari is selling boxes for $19 and ToyWiz.com for a whopping $99.99.
According to Mariotti, Funko is set to release between 75 and 85 different cereals in limited runs of just a few thousand over the next several months. So far, almost one million boxes have been presold to retailers like Target, BoxLunch and Hot Top.
Funko was founded in 1998 by Mike Becker to create low-tech, nostalgia-themed toys.
Its first manufactured bobblehead was of the Big Boy icon for the American restaurant chain. Today, the company has signed licensing deals with companies such as Marvel, Paramount, Disney and The Pokémon Company, among many others.
Funko notched up $5.16bn in sales in 2017.