Pre-SDCC Interview with Funko’s Mark Robben

funko logoSan Diego Comic-con is right around the corner and one company that does it big is Funko. They have a huge list of exclusives this year (you can see them all on the exclusives tracker) so I wanted to get a peek behind the curtain. I had the opportunity to ask Mark Robben, Funko’s Director of Marketing a few questions about SDCC, NYCC and the Funko phenomena. Enjoy!

ATB: Funko has gotten huge at SDCC, what do you think makes Funko product lines and exclusives resonate so well with pop culture fans?

MR: We put a lot of thought into the licenses we work with – we really want to provide a varied offering and make sure there’s something for everyone. We’re willing to work with all kinds of content to make sure that for every single person there’s at least one Pop! or Fabrikation or Mystery Mini they’ll fall in love with. But the bottom line is the biggest reason our products resonate so well is that we have amazingly talented artists who create wonderful products. We’re just lucky we have so many people working here who are not just talented, but are also huge fans of the content they’re working with.

ATB: Of course the downside to how popular Funko has gotten is that getting into the Funko booth can be difficult, is anything being done this year to make getting the product easier?

MR: It can definitely be challenging to create a system that’s fair and manageable on that scale. It’s a balancing act. We want the exclusives to be “exclusive”, but we also want as many people as possible to have a chance to acquire them at the show. That said, we have put a lot of thought into some changes at our booth this year. We’ll have a new way of ordering that will hopefully speed up the line considerably. We’ll have more details about the process on our blog next week.

ATB: For the past few years the Funko booth has been home to some SDCC exclusive Vinylmations – will there be a series this year?

MR: No, there will not.

ATB: Which Funko’s offerings being so diverse, when does SDCC planning start for the Funko team? Thinking 2016 already?

MR: We’re definitely well into planning for 2016. Our exclusives for the rest of 2015 – including NYCC – are already locked and loaded. Given the production lead times, shipping schedules and what not, we’re already thinking about 2016 right now.

ATB: Some of the exclusives are being offered at brick and mortor retailers so folks not attending the show can get some of this year’s exclusives. Can you share some details on which stores are participating and when people should start hunting?

MR: Hot Topic, Barnes and Noble and Amazon will all be sharing some of our exclusives. You should see those in their stores as early as the Thursday of SDCC, but not before. Definitely get out early on Thursday to scope it out!

ATB: Fundays sold out super fast this year, it seems to be one of the hot events at SDCC. Is the event as much fun for the Funko team as it is for the fans? Any spoilers for this year’s Fundays?

MR: It’s definitely a hot ticket. We’re really flattered and proud that so many people want to attend. The event is most about the fans, and that’s kind of our internal mantra for the event this year – focus on the fans. We want to recognize them for everything they’ve done to help Funko grow. But make no mistake, we enjoy the event as well and relish the opportunity to hang out with our fans in person. Everyone here is beyond excited. Spoilers? No way, Matt. But we have plenty of surprises in store. J

ATB: SDCC is obviously a big event for Funko….but word on the street is that this year Funko’s heading to NYCC. What can fans expect for that show? Should they start saving up?

MR: We’ll definitely be there, and yes – we’ll have plenty of NYCC exclusives at the show. We can’t say more than that as of now, but as we get closer we’ll announce what we’ll have at the booth. We’re really excited about our first appearance at the con and can’t wait to make a big splash in New York!

ATB: And finally – which line of Pop!s is your favorite?

MR: Well, I’m a Star Wars guy at heart, so it will always be anything Star Wars. The Unmasked Vader Pop! we did is a personal favorite of mine, and I’m looking forward to ANYTHING we’re doing with Episode 7. Which I can’t talk about. So I should stop.

ATB: Thanks again for your time!

MR: Thank you! Please come see us either in San Diego or New York!

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About the Author: MattG