How Funko Pop have conquered the world of gadgets

How Funko Pop have conquered the world of gadgets

In recent years the name Funko Pop has become synonymous with collecting. These miniature action figures are a real costume phenomenon, which in the last ten years has affected the whole world. The recent Lucca Comics & Games also saw a massive presence of the company of American origin, which presented some products exclusively for the Lucca fair related to the latest news from the world of pop culture. These included some Funko Pop taken from the latest season of Stranger Things, the Marvel TV series Moon Knight and the famous anime My Hero Academia. Needless to say, all these new figures have been snapped up within moments of the opening of the Funko pavilion at the fair.

It seems incredible that the passion for these little vinyl figurines has grown so exponentially in about a decade, since the first Funko Pops (at the time called Funko Force 2.0) dedicated to Batman and other DC characters were presented. Now the company has expanded all over the world obtaining a dizzying number of licenses: think of a famous brand in the world of pop culture, including TV series, cinema, anime, manga and even famous characters, and almost certainly there will also be one or more Funko Pop dedicated to him. To understand the path that led the American company to this great success, we had the opportunity to speak with Rossella Galimberti, Marketing Executive of the Italian division of Funko.

The story of Funko

Funko was born in 1998 from the mind of Mike Becker, a passionate collector looking for a special reproduction of the mascot of a restaurant chain called Big Boy. Not finding it, if not at very high prices, he decided to create his own version of him. Mike therefore created Funko, a company for collectors like him in search of rare pieces. In 2005 Brian Mariotti took over the company, which was too focused on a niche of enthusiasts, and decided to expand it to target a wider audience. Thus, as mentioned before, in 2010 at Comic-Con in San Diego the first Funkos related to DC characters were launched, which were very popular with the public. The company started with three strong licenses: DC, Marvel and Star Wars, but quickly expanded and expanded even further with twenty-five additional licenses, including that of Game of Thrones, which triggered the boom of these figures around the world. br>
There are numerous iconic scenes from The Batman that have been reproduced by the merchandise released in recent months. Among the collectible figurines not to be missed inspired by the Matt Reeves film, there is a Funko figurine of a Batman with wingsuit in an exclusive version: about eleven centimeters high, very detailed and including a footrest wall, it shows a Dark Knight ready to fly up. Gotham on the hunt for bad guys. Today Funko has an incredible amount of licenses in hand and Rossella herself explains to us: "Having the opportunity to work with all these licensors is our strength, so that we can bring products to the market for everyone." Some brands, despite being competitors, or even manufacturers of toys and action figures themselves, such as Hasbro, without problems entrust their licenses to Funko, after having seen the popularity of the many existing miniatures.

The success of these collectible figurines, however, is due not only to the many licenses owned, but also to the great attention to detail, as regards both the action figures themselves and the packaging. "The great thing is that all Funko Pops have these black eyes that have now become very recognizable, but at the same time each one has different details that make you immediately understand what character he is. ”In fact, Rossella explains how with the team of designers in America she continues to push for making the various vinyl models more detailed and interesting: "For example, years ago, although they were always recognizable, Funko Pops had more static positions, now they are created with more ergonomic positions that represent the characters in their most iconic moments". Funko has in fact expanded this idea, creating the Pop Moments, that is two pops joined together that recreate unmistakable scenes from movies, TV series, anime and much more.

Funko Pop are also famous for transforming the own packaging in an aesthetic element, so much so that many collectors exhibit them without even pulling out the action figure. "We are very happy that our fans appreciate them so much, beyond the product: the box is one of the many strengths and I can't think of any other product that considers the packaging so fundamental."

The soul of collecting

Over the years so many Funko Pops have been produced that we have lost count of how many exist in the world. Some estimates say over ten thousand, but it is very likely that there are many more, so much so that it is impossible for a single person to have collected them all, also considering that the oldest pieces are now out of production and very difficult to find. As explained by Rossella, the record was that of a collector with over 7,000 pieces in his possession.

The huge variety of Funko Pop and licenses obtained by the company is also thanks to the fans themselves. The team that deals with the acquisition of the various brands often listens to the suggestions of fans to create new lines of Pop and it is for this reason that today Funko has the primacy for the number of brands treated. Rossella also reiterates the importance of the fans: "For us the most important thing is our fans: although we have a huge team always looking for licenses, there is no better thing than listening to the fans, taking their ideas and realizing them. ".

Funko Right at the Funko stand in Lucca we met a fan who became a collaborator of the company, who told us about her passion, born in 2014, which led her to own 700 Funko Pops, also completing several collections of now very rare characters, such as the very first edition dedicated to The Big Bang Theory.

Funko is a company that is growing dramatically thanks to the success achieved all over the world and the plan is not to fossilize only on Pops, but to always bring a certain innovation to the sector, as Rossella explains: "In addition to Pop there are also other things, such as board games, currently only available in America, the line of bags and even a new videog ioco that will come in the future ". In addition to these innovations, there are also new product lines, such as Popsies: small figures with the unmistakable style of Pop, but accompanied by a message that can be used as a greeting card. Not to mention the existence of the new line of bags, key rings, t-shirts and many other gadgets on the way.

Before leaving us, Rossella reiterates that the company wants to continue listening to fans in the future, because, 'on the other hand, if Funko is what it is today it owes it above all to the many fans around the world who continue to collect the now iconic vinyl figurines.

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