Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy as a purple dinosaur: there's money for everyone, from Barney and Barbie to the ultraviolent street thugs of Mortal Kombat. (toy industry) (Supp

Holiday 2008 USA, LLC

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Traditional toys are selling well and do not appear to have lost sales to increasing sales of video games. The most significant development in toys in 1993 was the enormous popularity of licensed products depicting Barney the dinosaur, the star of a children's television show. The video game market is dominated by intense competition between Sega and Nintendo, which are together expected to spend $100 million in advertising in 1993. Sega's 'Mortal Kombat' video game has been a high volume sales performer.

Full Text :COPYRIGHT Adweek L.P. 1993u7372 Prepackaged softwareu3944 Games, toys, and children's vehicles
Surprisingly, the explosion in videogames does not seem to be coming at the expense of traditional toys. "It's almost like it's a different category altogether," said Dick Garvey, vice president of marketing for lego Systems, market of the plastic building blocks, which has prospered amid the videogame phenomenon.

A soft economy actually may not be an impediment to toys. Parents, after all, aim to please. And--at least on the pricetag--most toys look like decent value. Virtually 80% of Hasbro's product line sells for under $20.

The big brands are expected to take advantage of their following this year with line extensions that expand their categories. Barbie--whatever her selfavowed problems with math--continues to run up big numbers, breaking through the $1 billion annual sales mark. Mattel, which in recent years has managed this brand as smartly as anyone in packaged goods, it not likely to run out of new versions of Barbie anytime soon. Paint-and Dazzle Barbie, which lets girls create their own fashions, is just now arriving on store shelves.

Last Christmas 3 3-foot-tall Barbie was a sellout in limited market tests, so this season youngsters everywhere will be able to look Barbie in the eye. Mattel expects to sell 200,000 of the dolls, at $125 each.

After Hot Wheels expanded from its original 1/64th scale last year, sales jumped 30%. In all, Mattel is expecting its fifth straight year of records sale and profits. When the Fisher Price merger is completed in December, Mattel's stable will even be stronger.

Companies are trying to move away from the block-buster that can make or break a year, said Toy and Hobby World editor Chris Burns. "There will be a lot of niche marketing," he said. Much of this will come from movie and TV tie-ins a la Jurassic Park, which continue to drive billions of dollars of sales.

Mattel not only has the exclusive licensing right to Disney characters in the dolls and infant-and-preschool categories, it also is introducing a line of food activity products under license from McDonald's King Features expects retail sales of $250 million for licensed goods based on the Berenstein Bears books, and Twentieth Century-Fox has announced plans to spend millions to relaunch its Chipmunks franchise and compete with the likes of Disney's Mikey, Warner's Daffy and Turner's Flinstones.

Tyco, mostly through acquisitions, has grown to the point of just trailing Mattel and Hasbro. It has signed an agreement with Warner to distribute a line of toys based on the studio's cartoon characters.

But the year's biggest surprise was Barney the dinosaur. A plethora of Barney items have been launched. The lyons Group, which produces the PBS show, has been so overwhelmed it's called a moratorium on deals. Nintendo and Sega continue to slug it out and--like Coke and Pepsi--seem to be benifiting mutually from all the attention. For the first time, Sega may outspend Nintendo on media this year. Both companies are expected to approach $100 million. Software makers are riding the coattails. Mortal Kombat, launched with the buildup of a Hollywood movie this fall, is "selling like crazy," Burns said.

Most toymakers are expecting a healthy Christmas. The main concern seems to be that the Christmas shopping season, which traditionally began the day after Thanksgiving, is being pushed back further and further as shoppers wait for the markdowns. "The only danger we see is whether the trade will be too cautious," Garvey said. "Theyh run so lean there isn't time to reorder."

Source Citation
Snyder, Adam. "Happy as a purple dinosaur: there's money for everyone, from Barney and Barbie to the ultraviolent street thugs of Mortal Kombat. (toy industry) (Supplement: America's Top 2000 Brands)." MEDIAWEEK 3.42 (1993): S110. General OneFile. Web. 21 Dec. 2009. .

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