Funko's Project Fred: A Bold Move or a Niche Cash Grab?

The very first Project Fred is happening on March 7, 2024, at 12:30 PM ET / 9:30 AM PT. If you're serious about snagging one, set your alarms and get ready to join the queue.

Funko's Project Fred: A Bold Move or a Niche Cash Grab?

Funko has rolled out Project Fred, kicking things off with an 11" vinyl collectible of Freddy Funko as Bob’s Big Boy. To me, this feels like a clever nod to their roots, but with a modern twist that's bound to stir up some buzz—and some debate.

Project Fred 01 Bob's Big Boy drops March 7, 2024, at 12:30 PM ET / 9:30 AM PT.

Project Fred - What is it?

At the heart of Project Fred is Funko's beloved mascot, Freddy Funko, who takes on the guise of some of the most iconic brands and characters in pop culture history. This time he is back with an all-new vinyl design, standing at 11 inches tall, and comes in very limited piece counts as part of a series of limited drops.

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The first in this innovative series is a nod to Funko's own beginnings - Freddy personifying Bob’s Big Boy. I find the design refreshingly different from Funko's usual lineup. The big feet, large hair and awesome burger crown look fantastic. The 11" stature is imposing, making it a statement piece for any display. Of course, design is subjective, but Funko seems to be upping their game here.

Adding to the excitement, Funko has introduced a chase variant with a 1 in 10 chance of finding Freddy in an alternate Bob’s Big Boy outfit (blue). With only 750 pieces made, each verified with a certificate, it means the chase is limited to only 75 pieces!

Thankfully Funko has partnered with EQL to run the launch of Project Fred. This means everyone gets a fair shot at adding Freddy as Bob’s Big Boy to their collection. The process is straightforward: sign up for a chance to purchase, with the assurance that entries are bot-free and one per person, ensuring that true fans have the best chance at success.

Sticker Shock!

Now, let's talk about the elephant in the room: the price. For a cool $295, you can pick up the very first Project Fred, which puts this out of reach for the vast majority of fans. If you can afford to get involved, and get lucky enough to snag one, they're likely to retain, if not increase, their value over time.

The appeal of Big Boy might be niche, but as Funko rolls out more popular IPs in this series, we could be looking at some seriously pricey collectibles down the line. Indeed, the high cost is likely to deter many fans; there's no denying this is a pricey affair.

To some, the $295 price tag for Project Fred may seem steep, potentially raising accusations of a cash grab. It's undeniable that Funko, like any company, aims to profit from its products, whether that means selling thousands of vinyl figures at $12 each or a limited run of 750 at $295.

However, it's also worth considering the unique value these limited editions offer to collectors, including the design, exclusivity, and potential for appreciation over time. While Funko's primary goal is indeed to generate revenue, separating you from your hard-earned dollars, the premium pricing also reflects the niche status and limited run of these items.

Project Fred isn't for everyone—in fact, it's likely not for most. It's designed for those in search of something new and exclusive, tailored to collectors who are ready to pay a premium for that distinction. Similar to the Funko NFTs, which initially faced significant criticism, there's now a thriving community of enthusiasts.

It's a reminder that in the vast world of collecting, there's something for everyone. Not every item will match every collector's taste or budget, but, to me, that diversity is far from a negative—it's what makes collecting such a rich and varied hobby.

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Personally, I won't be investing $295 in Project Fred 01, primarily because the Big Boy IP doesn't quite justify the expenditure for me. However, I view Project Fred as a bold and positive step for Funko. It shifts the conversation around the brand, framing it more as a producer of highly sought-after collectibles rather than merely disposable toys—a perception that has shadowed the brand in recent times.

Sure, Funko may be grabing piles of cash, but only from those with deep pockets and a taste for the exclusive, doing so with a smile on their face. For the rest of us, we'll just admire from afar, wallets safely tucked away.

Either way is ok with me.

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