Red and green may be the traditional colors for the holidays, but this year Toyland will be ablaze with pink.
Moosh-Moosh plush friends, miniature cats and pink slime.
The blockbuster hit film, starring Margot Robbie as America’s iconic doll, was not only a huge hit for Mattel, but it also helped boost sales for other toymakers offering something in Barbie pink.
“It’s always like that with toys,” said Julie Everette, co-owner of Whistle Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy Store in St. Clair Shores. “If they really love the movie, they want to immerse themselves in it.”
Darrin Winkler agreed.
“I remember loving the movie ‘Gremlins’ when I was younger. I saw the movie in the theater when I was 8 years old and in third grade,” said the fourth-grade teacher at Pierce Elementary in Birmingham. “Immediately after becoming obsessed with Gizmo, I wanted everything to do with the character. For Christmas this year I got a Gizmo toy that looked like a stuffed animal but had a sound maker inside. When I shook it it made a disgusting squeaking noise. I remember the home video when I received it and how excited I was to have my own gizmo.”
Winkler said it was his favorite toy for a long time.
“I don’t know when or how it disappeared from my childhood, but it disappeared,” Winkler said. “To be honest, I’m still looking for a similar Gizmo toy to add to my pop culture toy collection.”
One Toy Pop collector will likely be on the lookout for this year is the Barbie version of Robbie and even Ryan Gosling (Barbie’s Ken).
“Mattel’s strong performance in the third quarter reflects the successful execution of our strategy to grow Mattel’s IP-driven toy business and expand our entertainment offerings,” Ynon Kreiz, chairman and CEO of Mattel, said in a press release. “Consumer demand for our product increased in the first quarter and we continue to outpace the industry. Our results benefited from the success of the Barbie film, which became a global cultural phenomenon and marked an important milestone for Mattel.”
And for the toy industry itself.
“There’s a big decline when the $1 billion Barbie brand does well,” said Jay Foreman, chief executive of Basic Fun. in an article published in the New York Post.
“There’s a whole ecosystem that’s being lifted by the pink tide in toyland,” added Foreman, whose company makes this Tonka Truck (3-seater, $26.82), Lite Brite (4-way, $30.99) and basic fun Care Bear’s Cheer Bear Buddy (6 people, $44.99). “Our pink Care Bears are flying off the shelves or three times as fast as they were four weeks ago.”
James Zahn agreed.
“The strength of ‘Barbie’ has brought a lot of people back to the toy department,” said Toy Insider’s senior editor, known for his coverage of toy industry trends. “Barbie’s Dream House (3 people, $199)it’s one of the top toys every year.”
This year’s version has also been redesigned to offer plenty of play value.
A toy that is not pink but green and is already seeing big sales thanks to its film is Playmate Toys TMNT Mutant Mayhem Pizza Fire Van (4 people, $39.99).
Zahn noted that not only did they manage to capture the atmosphere of the film at an affordable price, but they also created an award-winning toy.
“This is a free-wheeling vehicle that carries all your TMNT characters and shoots pizza,” Zahn said.
“This toy is a huge success,” added Zahn, who monitored consumer reaction at the annual Toy Fair in New York City.
Other films like ““Lady Bug and Cat Noir: The Movie” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” and even popular television series like Netflix’s “Gabby’s Dollhouse” are also helping to boost sales in an industry that has been dramatically affected by the fallout from the pandemic.
Zahn said that if you look at the industry’s history, you’ll see that these spikes in toy sales are tied to the world of licensing and entertainment and go back to TV-inspired trinkets, gizmos and gadgets Batman, Hello Doody and that Lone Ranger.
“What really changed the business were ‘Star Wars’ movies,” Zahn said, recalling a unique toy introduction in the 1970s.
Before the toys hit shelves, licensing and entertainment marketing geniuses came up with the idea for an early bird set. Parents could order their set, which was an empty box with a certificate saying that once the action figures came out, they would be the first to get one.
“It showed the figure in the box and a few months later the kid received an action figure,” Zahn said. “Marketing genius. That was the first time we saw a film brand get a full aisle in the store.”