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What Are Funko Pops and How Did They Get So Popular?
Giant-headed, big-eyed plastic figurine replicas of your favorite people and characters from pop culture. That may not sound like new ground, but Funko, which rose to global stardom selling just that, has reinvented the wheel when it comes to fandom merchandise.
Channeling an energy that seemingly fizzled out in the 1990s , Funko Pops are the most “I need that” fad toy on the market since Beanie Babies, Pogs and Pokémon cards of the ‘90s. Much like other collectibles, people enjoy Funk Pop figures in many different ways. Some collectors don’t ever take their Pops out of the box in the hopes that they’ll be worth more some day, while others remove them to create impressive displays or bring a pop of fun to their workspace. There are also people who buy them just to resell them for a higher price.
One big difference? No one collecting ‘90s merch had to worry about bots buying up all the good Beanie Babies before they hit the shelves. Funko Pops are very much a product of the 21st century. They’re only becoming more ubiquitous in this decade. That means worrying about bots buying up products and driving up prices. But it also means that a strong community has formed around Funko.
Like with many collectibles, it’s easy to obsess over Funko Pops. It’s not uncommon for a collector to own hundreds of Funko Pops, all proudly on display and (potentially) boxed. Just how, exactly, did Funko get so popular, though? Here, we’re taking a look at Funko’s rise to find out just how their plastic claws gripped onto the heart of popular culture. Whether you’re a seasoned “chase collector,” or someone who’s just learning about these figurines, the story is still in mint condition.
Funko’s Modest Beginnings and Transformative Sale
Funko was started in 1998 by a toy collector named Mike Becker. The founder wanted to create a toy-sized version of a mascot for a restaurant called Big Boy Restaurants, a franchise based in Michigan. After working with the restaurant, Becker created a line of bobblehead figures called “Wacky Wobblers”. Even then, they were targeting nostalgic intellectual properties like Looney Tunes and Peanuts.
In 2005, the company was sold to Brian Mariotti. The new leadership’s strategy was to expand to other properties. As was the case with the UFC , another once-niche interest, a change in leadership and strategy brought Funko to the mainstream. This continues to work well for Funko to this day! In 2010, Funko’s Pop! Vinyl figures — the product that the company is most well known for — started hitting shelves and selling quickly.
Since then, the most expensive Funko Pops have gone for thousands of dollars. A documentary called Making Fun: The Story of Funko can be streamed on Netflix if you want the whole history. But take our word for it: Funko Pops have sold millions of units, swept across countless fandoms, and even made an appearance as balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
What Made Funko Blow Up? The Secret to Can’t-Miss Collectibles
Funko is excellent at securing licensing deals with properties they don’t own. It feels like the company is working with literally everyone. Disney , Sony, the NFL, HBO, Amazon and over 200 other content providers have worked with Funko since 2019. Thanks to whatever savvy business practices made these connections possible, there are Pops for nearly everything and everyone.
This covers fandoms that typically sell merch, like comic books, video games and anime. But Funko Pops even goes beyond in these fields, from capitalizing on hit shows like WandaVision to gaming franchises like Super Mario Bros. to trending anime like Demon Slayer . There are Funko Pops of other icons, like Conan O’Brian, the White Stripes, and characters from The Office . There’s even a Kool Aid Man Pop.
In creating merch for fans that don’t typically get the opportunity to buy toy-like products, Funko is reaching an untapped market. This can make any fan of virtually anything say, “I want that” for the thing that they enjoy, too.
Plus, Funko Pops are cheap to make and usually sell for under $15. Only having to pay a 16% royalty fee to the properties they license from, Funko has made consistent profits off its products. Since Funko Pop often makes limited runs of each character, their products sell quickly and there’s always demand for more.
Looking for Rare Funko Pops? Learn the Lingo
Collecting Pops has become so popular that a language has developed around the products. The language isn’t as hard to learn as Elvish , but it could make collecting Pops feel less approachable for beginners. For example, people who own Pops are referred to as collectors. Seems easy enough. But what are some of the other terms associated with Funko?
“Exclusive” means that a Pop may only be available at certain locations. Pops are sold through retailers like Walgreens, Hot Topic and Amazon. Occasionally, a retailer will secure exclusive rights to a particular model or variation of a character. Other Pops will only be available at special events like Comic Con and similar gatherings.
“Chase” is one of the more common terms that’s used to describe some of the most sought-after Funko figures. A chase is an altered variant of a regular figurine. This might mean that the figure has a different hair color, is holding a different item, and so on. If a Pop is going to have a chase variant, a limited number of chase figures are made. That might be one for every eight or 30 figurines.
The rarity of chase variants makes collectors and Funko pop hunters “chase” after them. Sometimes chase variants are sold through exclusive partnerships, while other times a collector won’t be able to tell if their Pop is a variant until they take their figure out of the box. The “ game of chance ” element adds an extra layer of fun to finding and locating a product that people already like.
If you were to plunge deeper into the community, more and more words will pop up. Other words that can help one on a Funko journey include “grail,” a personally defined term for one’s greatest or most-desired Funko Pops, and “vaulted,” the term for a discontinued Funko Pop, and perhaps a reference to “the Disney vault”.
The Future Is Funko
Much like the fads that precedes it, the Funko Pop trend could end in a matter of months. At this rate, however, it would take a lot of missteps on Funko’s end to bring their behemoth down. It seems like more people have become collectors since the pandemic began, despite the hardships caused by COVID-19 .
Funko continues to make Pops of contemporary figures as well as of deep cuts from past franchises or decades that folks are nostalgic for. People enjoy collectibles like these because they love being able to have something tangible that represents a joy they’ve experienced. In creating figurines of nearly everything under the sun, Funko is able to reach a wide audience with varied tastes.
Funko’s latest endeavors include going digital. That’s right, Funko is getting into the NFT game . Using Droppp’s io platform and Wax’s blockchain, some Funko Pop products can become more exclusive than ever before. Owners of Funko NFTs can acquire a physical version of the NFT after 120 days. Somehow, Funko has figured out how to make their Pops even more exclusive.
It sure looks like Funko will be around for quite some time. If the future really is Funko, at least they’re cute.
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The Only Scenarios When It's Absolutely OK to Ghost Someone
There are times when you are well within your rights to up and disappear..
I’ve been ghosted and I’ve done the ghosting. When someone ghosts me, I assume it’s because they’re so in love with me, the prospect of texting me back is simply too overwhelming. My name pops up on their phone screen, and for my suitor, it’s like looking at the sun. And so, consumed with emotions too powerful to describe, the easiest thing for them to do is keep their true feelings locked away and ignore me indefinitely. But when I ghost someone else, it’s usually because I got bored.
More seriously, there are plenty of times in which I’m pro-ghosting.There are a lot of different opinions on what qualifies as ghosting, but it usually comes down to the lack of explanation. Different from a formal rejection, ghosting leaves people with one-sided uncertainty to sort through. When is it ever OK to do that to another person?
Despite all the connotations of “ghosting” as an unfair or immature disappearing act, sometimes it’s necessary for your emotional wellbeing or safety. Below are some of the many legitimate scenarios when it’s perfectly acceptable—or even advisable—to ghost.
You never met face-to-face
Not to brag, but my dating app inboxes are chock full of false starts and fizzle-outs. If you want to find success on the apps, you need to make real plans ASAP . Otherwise, the threshold for ghosting is a high one. If you’ve never even made plans to meet in person, then you don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you’ve stopped responding. On the contrary, I’d feel horrible if someone I’ve only ever texted took the initiative to detail why they don’t like texting me anymore. On that note…
It protects their feelings
If I only go on one or two dates with someone, I’d rather get ghosted than hear the reasons they aren’t into me. Sometimes you want to explain what someone did wrong, e.g. they said something offensive or violated your boundaries. But if your reasons are more benign ( they’re boring, or have bad music taste, or give you a vague “ick” feeling), g hosting could be the kindest course of action.
You were clear about your intentions
Sometimes a hook-up is just a hook-up. If you respectfully communicated your intentions from the start, and the other person seemed to understand them at the time, then you don’t need to engage in a drawn-out rejection period.
Try not to interpret this one too generously, however. Ghosting can be an inconsiderate, cowardly course of action. Ask yourself if you really, truly communicated the nature of your relationship with this person before you give yourself an “OK ” to ghost freely.
If someone misrepresented who they are
Liars, catfishers, cheaters—if someone deceives you, you’re well within your rights to ghost. In fact, I’d argue that it hardly counts as “ghosting” if the other person can deduce on their own why you stopped responding. Confrontation isn’t always wise, especially if there’s a chance the other person can manipulate or lash out at you. Similarly….
You have a bad gut feeling
If you feel unsafe for any reason, ghosting might be the safest move. As Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist specializing in relationship safety, tells Tinder : “Confronting an angry or abusive person may do far more harm than good. Ghosting an abusive or chronically angry person doesn’t mean you are weak; it means you are smart and strong.” Trust your instincts and don’t force yourself to stay in an unsafe situation.
The bottom line
To zoom out for a moment: Humans were never meant to have constant access each other’s every thought and feeling. This applies to emails, Slacks, and texting someone with whom you only went on one mediocre date. The term ghosting is overused and abused by people who feel entitled to a reason for every human interaction. In reality, sometimes a connection between two people simply isn’t there, for no good reason at all.
So long as your relationship to another person is still in the earliest possible stages, ghosting might be the kindest move to preserve their feelings. Likewise, ghosting can also be the safest course of action for you personally. Ultimately, you’re allowed to walk away when something doesn’t feel right—no explanation needed.
- FaZe Holdings-stock
- News for FaZe Holdings FaZe Holdings
GHOST® and FaZe Clan™ Launch Epic GHOST® ENERGY and GHOST® GAMER Flavor: FAZE POP™
As part of their record-breaking partnership, the brands launch a product collab that's sure to take you back
Download hi-res images HERE
LOS ANGELES , Feb. 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- This is what streams are made of! GHOST , the lifestyle brand that spans sports nutrition products, energy drinks, dietary supplements, apparel and merch, and FaZe Clan , the lifestyle and media platform rooted in gaming and internet culture, are taking the next step in their partnership with an exciting product collaboration. The GHOST® x FAZE CLAN™ "FAZE POP™" flavor is available in both GHOST® GAMER and GHOST® ENERGY product lines.
Ready to get you in the summer spirit all year round, " FAZE POP ™" is inspired by the nostalgic popsicle flavor you know and love with classic raspberry and citrus notes. Regardless, if you prefer a ready-to-drink or powdered supplement, you will be locked in to conquer the next level or whatever the day has in store for you.
GHOST ® GAMER delivers an EPIC combo of brain-boosting nootropics and natural energy to ensure you are in the zone for an afternoon on the sticks or at the office. GHOST ® ENERGY is the fully transparent, fully loaded, feel good energy drink you've been waiting for. Both products are vegan-friendly, soy-free, gluten-free, and contain zero-sugars.
" GHOST® x FAZE CLAN™ 'FAZE POP™' has been loading from the minute we first announced the partnership nearly a year ago," said Dan Lourenco , CEO and Co-Founder of GHOST® . ""FAZE POP" is the first product collaboration in FaZe history that unifies the entire organization, incorporating feedback and ideas from the entire FaZe roster rather than a single creator or team member. We promised our collective communities fresh ideas and innovation and this is just the beginning."
"In our partnership with GHOST®, we've had a shared ambition of setting a new standard in the gaming category by creating an energy product that both of our communities will love," said Adam Bauer , FaZe Clan's SVP of Partnerships. " GHOST® x FAZE CLAN™ "FAZE POP™" is our combined take on one of the most nostalgic flavors of all time, and we believe it truly embodies the next generation of the FaZe brand."
The brands will hold giveaways across their social media channels to celebrate this partnership and product launch. Fans will have a chance to win merchandise and product!
GHOST® x FAZE CLAN™ "FAZE POP™" will be available online at ghostlifestyle.com on February 22 and in-store at GNC on March 2 . In addition, GHOST® ENERGY will be available at select 7-Eleven®, Speedway® and Stripes® stores nationwide starting February 27 .
About GHOST GHOST is a lifestyle brand of sports nutrition products, energy drinks, dietary supplements, and apparel. GHOST is disrupting the sports nutrition industry by creating a lifestyle movement that includes transparent innovative products, global distribution, immersive content, key influencer partnerships and authentic collaborations with many of the world's leading flavor brands including OREO ® , Chips Ahoy! ®, Sour Patch Kids ® , Sonic ® Drive-In, Warheads ® , Swedish Fish ® and Welch's ® . GHOST products can be found at GNC, ghostlifestyle.com and select global retailers in over 40 countries. For more information visit ghostlifestyle.com or connect with the brand on Instagram , Twitter , TikTok , or Twitch .
ABOUT FAZE HOLDINGS INC. FaZe Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: FAZE) ("FaZe Clan"), is a digital-native lifestyle and media platform rooted in gaming and internet culture, reimagining traditional entertainment for the next generation. Founded in 2010 by a group of kids on the internet, FaZe Clan was created for and by gamers and today operates across multiple verticals with transformative content, tier-one brand partnerships, a collective of notable talent, and fashion and consumer products. Reaching over 500 million followers across social platforms globally, FaZe Clan delivers a wide variety of entertainment spanning video blogs, lifestyle and branded content, gaming highlights and live streams of highly competitive gaming tournaments. FaZe Clan's roster of more than 100 influential personalities consists of engaging content creators, esports professionals, world-class gamers and a mix of talent who go beyond the world of gaming, including NFL star Kyler "FaZe K1" Murray, LeBron "FaZe Bronny" James Jr., Lil Yachty aka "FaZe Boat", Offset aka "FaZe Offset" and Snoop Dogg aka "FaZe Snoop." Its gaming division includes 13 competitive esports teams who have won 37 world championships. The content of any website referenced or hyperlinked in this communication is neither incorporated into, nor part of, this communication. For more information, visit www.fazeclan.com , investor.fazeclan.com and follow FaZe Clan on Twitter , Instagram , YouTube , TikTok , and Twitch .
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS: The information in this communication includes "forward-looking statements" pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of present or historical fact included in this communication, regarding the company's strategy, future operations and financial performance, market opportunity prospects, plans and objectives of management are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words "budget," "could," "forecast," "future," "might," "outlook," "plan," "possible," "potential," "predict," "project," "seem," "seek," "strive," "would," "should," "may," "believe," "intend," "expects," "will," "projected," "continue," "increase," and/or similar expressions that concern strategy, plans or intentions, but the absence of these words does not mean that a statement is not forward-looking. Such statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are based on the management's belief or interpretation of information currently available.
These forward-looking statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not identified herein, and on the current expectations of management and are not predictions of actual performance. Because forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions, whether or not identified in this communication, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict. Many factors could cause actual results and condition (financial or otherwise) to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to serve as, and must not be relied on by any investor as, a guarantee, an assurance, a prediction or a definitive statement of fact or probability. Actual events and circumstances are difficult or impossible to predict and will differ from assumptions. Many actual events and circumstances are beyond the control of the company. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. While FaZe Clan may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, FaZe Clan specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing FaZe Clan's assessments as of any date subsequent to the date of this communication. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed upon the forward-looking statements.
GHOST Press Contact: Alessandra Luckey [email protected]
SOURCE FaZe Clan