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History 200 – The M.U.S.C.L.E. Wrestling Ring, Wrestling Belt, Board Game, and Video Game
Modern toy makers have always recognized the need for accessories and the need to diversify a brand. With a successful brand a toy maker is able to earn revenue by putting their property on toothbrushes, race cars, underwear, candy, and just about anything else. For a product without a tie-in, this process rarely starts out with an overwhelming gluttony of products. A few accessories are almost always the first step. Classic accessories for an action figure line are vehicles and a playset.
M.U.S.C.L.E. was not a traditional action figure line. Among other things, it was the release of an existing Japanese toy because of a partnership with the Japanese toy company, Bandai. Mattel’s decision to release M.U.S.C.L.E. was conceivably driven by two major factors: (1) an appealing and popular property from Japan; and (2) a lower than normal financial commitment.
By using the existing figures, and even an existing packaging formats, there were minimal research and development costs. By retooling the figure clasp and reworking the graphics Mattel was able to use the majority of the existing Bandai wrestling ring.
Mattel had three accessories directly tied to the figures, and a forth that capitalized on the emerging video game hysteria. The products were:
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