As Australians, we want nice things; we enjoy nice things. But much like the child screaming for lollies at the Woolies check out, we don’t really deserve nice things. Not when we, as a society, have turned a charming, cute and innocent marketing strategy for a Disney film into an opportunity to make bank, and fleece our fellow Australians out of thousands of dollars.
That is just what’s happening with Woolworth’s latest plot to get shoppers in – a series of small, adorable collectable figurines called Ooshies, released in cahoots with Disney to promote The Lion King flip, which is now at cinemas.
Despite Woolies going to extreme length to avoid a grey-market type situation around the promotional toy, including listing in big font on the signage that the actual value of each toy is literally $3.00, a secondary market has reared its head on eBay where these simple toys, no bigger than half a finger, are going for as much as $31,000, the same price for a entry level luxury SUV.
I’ll say it again for this up the back…These are valued at $3 each by Woolworths.
Shoppers can collect all the fan favourites – Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Timon, Pumbaa, Scar and beyond. It’s the ‘rare’ variations that have put people in a mild frenzy. Anything blue, or fuzzy, or gold has people seeing dollar signs, and racing to post the miniature toy for sale to cop a huge profit.
There are certain legitimate benefits involved with the Ooshie campaign. One being the meet up event happening on August 3rd – people interacting with other people is never a bad thing, even if it is in the name of mass consumerism. There’s also a competition for you and your family to win a trip to Walt Disney World Resort and family time is never a bad thing either.
But any sort of social or community benefit that could be reaped has been stomped out now that people are using Ooshies as a means to make a quick buck. The items are posted in an effort to attacked not just completist nerds, but also parents put under pressure to ensure their child doesn’t miss out.
Obviously, by declaring some as more ‘rare’ (read: valuable) than others, Woolies was inviting this sort of thing to happen, as it has in the past with their promotional toys. As a 90’s baby, I can’t help but shudder at the thought of what it would feel like to have enjoyed less access to be immersed in the world of The Lion King based on my parents purchasing power.
Being a fan of something should not come with the threat of having to take out a second mortgage just to enjoy that thing.
Perhaps it’s time for Woolies to regulate this. It would appear blue and fuzzy ‘rare’ Ooshies are going for the highest price, now would be a good time to flood stores with them.