The Rubik’s Cube was just the beginning. Then came the Cabbage Patch Kids (and Garbage Pail Kids), Trivial Pursuit, Transformers, Barney, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, Beanie Babies, and Pokemon, and bunch more along the way. One main offering a year. They went viral before that meant anything. The debate has always been, “did the marketers force these products on us or did consumers go out in full force on their own without the aid of commercials?” The marketing geniuses – when they get lucky – like to point to their own efforts, else how would they get the jobs. Consumers say they made the choice themselves. It’s probably a combination of the two, with a little more emphasis being placed on the marketing influences.
So we come to the new Christmas season. New toys. New gimmicks. New products. “Which of these new toys will go viral?” is the kazillion dollar question would love to know the answer to. Even if they got it right on one product for one year, they could retire tomorrow.
Two toys from the 2016 shopping season seem to be making a resurgence into the 2017 market: Fingerlings and Hatchimals.
Fingerlings are essentially finger puppets that wrap around the finger. They small, cute, and will be fun for kids under about seven or eight. Perhaps there will even be an offshoot for parents much like My Little Pony had their Bronies. Yeah, let’s hope not.
Hatchimal creatures first start out inside a large egg. When your child plays with the egg long enough, it hatches and out comes a fuzzy creature. But it doesn’t end there. It talks and walks and dances. Your child needs to be able to nurture it through baby, toddler, and kid stages. (Sorry, there are no Adolescent or Adult stages)
So, you’re buying a pig in a poke, so to speak, it hatches, and needs to be cared for much like the Tamagotchi digital pets of a few years ago. This year’s offering is called the Surprise! You’ll get two eggs for the price of probably one and a half. Double the fun at less than double the cost. To be fair, though, they are cute little creatures, and your kids could spend loads of time with them.
Marketers seem to be pushing these two toys this year but it’s anybody’s guess which toy will dominate the market. Actually, the market is ripe for three or four viral toys.