Sweet Merciful Zeus! While we in the UK could be considered mere beginners when it comes to the rabid ferocity of fandom of those cute little vinyl bobble-heads that are ubiquitous at US conventions, we are certainly catching up in terms of interest and fan interaction for all things Funko. The stands that Funko Europe have put together in the past year, at last October’s and this past weekend’s MCM London Comic Con, have seen ever-present lines and plenty of excitement on the Exhibition Hall floor. Sure, they may not be at the level as seen at shows like SDCC or NYCC… but they’re getting there!
That excitement is due mostly to the fact that it is now Funko the company itself that is representing, and not just some UK distributor on their books. That being said, that is exactly where Funko Europe finds its origin – the UK arm of Underground Toys, bought out by the Washington-based company and given bold blue t-shirts and a new lick of very bright, back-lit paint.
While it could be said that Underground in the past was your typical toy distributor to the high street – a little mercenary, more than a little unreliable – it now finds itself as part of a bigger whole, and the company has had to transform and step up to that level of professionalism and presentation set by its parent organisation. What the US team – lead by Marketing Director Cameron Deuel, and featuring such personalities as Yoko McCann, Chris Sully and Hilary Gray – have brought is a bold sense of celebrity and identity to the company, hosting podcasts, presenting unboxing videos and meeting fans at cons. What I wanted to know is, could we see Funko Europe blazing a similar trail and taking a similar approach?
To that end, I spoke to Funko Europe’s Charlotte Kinson, their Social Media & Marketing Executive in a very brief lull on the stand at MCM London Comic Con. What came out of the conversation was the impression that, while they were determined to keep a strong sense of the UK market and Funko Fanatic fandom, they are setting their stall big for the future…