Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The paint pots


I read redmanphill's post this morning and it instantly reminded me of this funny story (old I know, but still valid).



Originally posted @

I guess a hot debate took place among Games Workshop marketing department. I can imagine it:

- Welcome gentlemen. Today's topic is "How can we make people buy more paint?". We sell miniatures, books, rules, on everything we increase our margins except on paint. This has to change. How can we force customers to buy more of Citadel paints?
- Err... By selling larger models?
- Don't be stupid. We don't want to switch scale, we are already barely 28 mm.
- Err... By selling miniatures made of sponge? I've tried to paint a sponge one day. It took me a while. It's amazing how a sponge drinks paint.
- Please! Is there anyone with a brain here?
- Seriously, why can't we just get back to good old habits? Increasing the price, selling less paint in each pot.

(Nods of agreement in the room)

- That's good, but frankly, it's not a business decision. We are not paid to find such blatant solutions. It's good, but just not enough. We have to find something better than that.
- The problem comes from the paint.
- Could you explain?
- You know, when you buy food, it lasts only for a limited time. Not because you eat it, but because after that it's rotten. So you are forced to buy fresh food again, even if you didn't eat the one you bought the week before.
- Yeah, but we produce acrylic paint, and it lasts forever.
- Correct, but note that the medium can dry. The medium evaporates when the paint is applied on the model.
- So what?
- Well, could you imagine a paint pot unable to close? You'd have to use it whithin hours. After that, it would be dry.
- Good, but selling disposable paint pots would be a bit obvious. Nobody would like to buy disposable paint for just one afternoon of painting.
- Yeah. The trick would be to prevent the paint pot to be airtight. We could design the lid for that, drying paint would make it unable to close properly.
- That's a great idea!

(Everyone agrees)

- Oh, one final note for you Kevin: no more of those "Paint pot sets". Each will have to be bought individually at premium price. We already discussed it, no more rebate on bulk.
- Ok, boss. Hey, what about selling all of them at once?
- I said "no rebate", can't you listen Kevin?
- Yeah, but we could price the whole as if each item was bought at retail price, and throw in some worthless goodies.
- Since anyone purchasing such a set would certainly already own several of our paints... Okay, then. Let's call that the "Mega Paint Set".

And that faithful day, Paint Pot Mk III was designed. 12.5 ml (30% reduction in paint quantity compared to previous one), price increase, but also a new screwing lid ensuring that after several times spilled paint would prevent it from closing completely. After several painting sessions, your paint was doomed.

Call me a paranoid if you want, but Mk III was so badly designed that in my humble opinion, it must have been on purpose.
If you consider it that way, it's pure marketing genius.


  1. that was a fun post to read, he has a valid point there on the paint pot´s they suck ass. but the pot´s that I hate the most now is the foundation paint pots. 

    I have gone over to P3 and valjo paint. 

  2. The old round GW pots were great. I still have them on my shelf and  they're still working. Nevertheless I've also moved to Vallejo. 

    How are the P3 paints compared to Vallejo?

  3. p3 are the old GW paints you can say. I find them to be the best now. and i like that pot a lot more as well, it is air brush nice to. and you don´t need a lot of water to thin the paint. for the most part i just put down some paint on my wet pallet, and it is done.

    if you can grab your self two or tree colours and try them out.

  4. Thanks for the info. I'll try to find a retailer here in Finland or I include them in my next order from Maelstrom. Although I really like the dropper bottles. They just make life so much easier :)


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