If you are a girl, or know a girl, there is a high probability that she is receiving a monthly box. No, not her period. An actual box filled with various goodies according to which subscription she has – maybe it’s gluten free snack, make up samples or even pet products for that rat she calls her dog (if it fits in your purse, it’s a rat.) Now one company has decided to jump on this monthly subscription train with Nerd Block – a box full of nerdy goodies that comes monthly. Nerds are big right now – between Heroes of Cosplay, San Diego Comic Con and Fangasm – why not tap into that market? Au contrair, my friend. It is not so easy to sway the nerd crowd into purchasing your box of mysteries. Being a nerd myself, I understand the lure of this untapped monthly subscription mass. However, I will not be forking over my hard earned nerd cash for one of these tubs o’ fun. Why?
1. There are WAY too many fandoms
The list of things people nerd out about is endless – Avengers, Battlestar Galactica, Big Bang Theory, Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Continuum, Disney, Doctor Who, Firefly, Fringe, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars, Superman, The Walking Dead…the list goes on. Some Star Wars fans also love The Game of Thrones. Some don’t. Some nerds only love three of those things, and don’t care for anything else. It’s very hard to make broad statements about nerds.
Even attempting to place “things that nerds like” in a box is quite a task. My brother is a Lord of the Rings nerd. I am a Disney, Doctor Who and Breaking Bad nerd. Any type, shape or form of those categories would be welcome into my home with glee and delight. Anything outside of those realms, I could not give two shits about.
The point is that many nerds would feel angry and jipped if “their” fandom was not included in their monthly box. Why would I pay money for a box full of Star Trek themed crap when my nerd heart only beats for Star Wars? How dare they try to group me with those lame-os! Simple solution – allow the nerds to pick their categories of what they’d like to receive. I may be a nerd, but mama knows what she likes.
2. Let me know what’s in the box…kind of.
Here’s another fact about nerds – we don’t like to be surprised. Especially when it comes to things we nerd out about. I mean, character deaths and plot twists are one thing. What would Doctor Who be if all of the companions didn’t meet some type of horrible, but acceptable end? Would Firefly nerds have the same passion if the show wasn’t canceled so early? Nerds, while they may throw a fit, can handle surprises within their respective fandom realms. But nerds are careful about who, what and how they collect.
I’m not saying “Tell us exactly what’s inside!” I mean, give me an outline of what to expect. Will a t-shirt be included in every box? Is it going to just be figurines? Are there any comics in there? Give me an outline – each box contains 1 figurine, 1 t-shirt, 1 specialty item and 1 surprise. That’s not so hard! If the box is going to be 6 figures from the Big Bang Theory, and that’s it, I feel like Nerd Box just gave me and my fandom a giant middle finger.
3. Don’t put as much crap in the box.
This goes along with point #1 – don’t try to overwhelm me with goodies with something from multiple fandoms. There are way too many TV Shows, movies and comic book characters to try and pick from a few. Just because it fits in the box doesn’t mean the nerd crowd wants it. The company seems to be going in the direction of trying to please every nerd, which is both impossible and kinda sad.
In the words of Ron Swanson, “don’t half-ass two things, whole ass one thing.” Don’t cheapen the box by putting in a shit ton of collectable cards and cheap mini plastic figures. Go for quality, not quantity. Nerds will know the difference in the details of shit you wouldn’t think of.
4. Focus the box into themes
I love Disney. The only thing I love more than Disney is Disney themed for a holiday. Halloween, Christmas, New Years, Easter, Saint Patrick’s Day, you name it, I probably have the matching refillable mug from Disneyland. It’s a chance for my favorite characters to play dress up. And because Disney is a money making machine, they have tons of merch to go with it.
Nerd Block should take note – theme their boxes for the major holidays, premiers and events. Gearing up for Halloween? New Avengers movie releasing? Doctor Who 50th Anniversary coming up? They have numerous themes to pick from that can step up the box’s quality. It gives the box direction and focus, showing the care and love they are attempting to package.
5. Get better shit.
Plain and simple. Don’t give me a comic book that’s only 3 pages. Don’t try to pass off some hideous SWAG as a special prize in the box. Nerds are collectors, and if you give us some grade A collectable thing that actually has some value, we will love you forever. Try to trick us with cheap items and flashy stickers, we will hunt you down and make you hurt.
Considering the average inventory at your local comic book store, there is a variety of items to pick from. And with the popularity of Comic Conventions on the rise, more and more people are making their own merchandise that features their favorite characters in unique ways. Simply combing through Etsy brings up numerous stores featuring custom screen printed shirts, tote bags, hair bows, shoes, socks and even dinnerware tailor made to feed the nerdy need to have Doctor Who wine glasses.
Nerd Block is a great opportunity to provide those with their own stores a chance to reach a massive crowd. If Nerd Block is truly for the nerds, they should include some underground merchandise as well as the commercial stuff. It’s a great way to market to a new audience…without having to talk to people.