I really kind of wonder if each Haslab was the brain child of a specific person. The problem was each person has been successively less informed or realistic about their chances than the previous.
I think this comparison doesn't really work since Cookie Monster was before Unicron.
He went on sale first, but we don't know which one was actually green-lighted first. My theory is Unicron's lead-time was much longer (and we know it was at least a year-and-a-half from the Q&A).