Bratz, a line of noseless fashion dolls whose owner has spent the last decade in litigation with Barbie-maker Mattel, have returned to store shelves. Is this a good thing? Maybe. The company is certainly making a big deal out of its relaunch, with ad campaigns, a “brand anthem,” and a big event in Times Square. [More]
The doors will close, the giant piano keyboard will fall silent and all those giant stuffed animals will lose the attention of adoring crowds when FAO Schwarz’s New York City flagship closes today. Will there be a clearance sale on ginormous tigers, or an auction of oversized musical instruments? It’s unclear, though Toys “R” Us, the owners of FAO Schwarz, says it’s looking for a new home to sell toys and bring in tourists again.
Probably the only person to ever have actually gotten rich off Beanie Babies isn’t exactly relaxing on piles of money or swimming in his vault of gold coins anytime soon, but Ty Warner, the billionaire of the plush toys did get to escape jail time after a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the probation sentence handed down to him after he was convicted of tax evasion.
Anyone who’s familiar with Jurassic Park knows that all the dinosaurs in the park were engineered to be female — this, to control the animals from making their own dino babies and overwhelming the humans. So then why did Hasbro rewrite the Jurassic Park canon by rebranding its Jurassic World dinosaur toys as males in product descriptions for its raptor toys?
Last year, LEGO made 60 million blocks out of the same plastic material the Danish company has been using since 1963. But the bricks of our childhood could one day be of a different substance, as LEGO has plans to spend a bunch of money figuring out how to develop new sustainable materials to replace plastic.
In yet another example of a company offending a whole lot of people in just a few words, LEGO is apologizing for branding a toy in their online store as a “back-of-the-bus window-licker.” “Window licker” is known as a derogatory term for people diagnosed with learning disabilities.
Barbie has spent her entire life standing on her tiptoes and boy, she must be tired. Too long has she toiled for hours in dream mansions and in ice cream shoppes without the benefit of having her feet flat on the ground, encased comfortably in flat shoes. Her time has come: Mattel’s newest line of dolls have adjustable ankles, and a line of flat footwear to go with that new flexibility.
By now we all know that McDonald’s is trying to appeal to a younger audience, but a commercial the company aired last fall geared toward its youngest customers apparently didn’t sit well with an ad review board. And now that group is warning the fast food giant to stick to its food and not to use toys to appeal to youngsters.
Toys ‘R’ Us has a problem: they’re a specialty store that people love, but they must compete with mega-discounters like Walmart and online vendors like Amazon on price. When they can’t do that and still make money, how are they to survive? The company’s new idea: get kids in the door by creating an experience, not just a place to buy toys. [More]
Since some imaginative cave child made the first doll out of a dead marmot, kids have been talking to their make-believe pals. And for more than a century, some of these dolls have been talking back. But the newest generation of Mattel Barbie dolls may take things to the next level by not only listening to what you have to say, but by sharing your conversations with complete strangers. [More]
Is it every kid’s dream to go flying through the air, light as a bird, only to land safely on a soft surface? Perhaps. But that doesn’t mean that all of those inflatable bounce houses, castles, slides and other amusements are necessarily safe for children, and a federal agency is pointing to a rise in injuries on such attractions to make sure parents are aware of the risks.
The days of grainy, hard to decipher photos that came with Mattel’s View-Master are apparently behind us. The company, along with Google, revealed an overhaul that transforms the classic kids’ toy into a virtual reality gadget. [More]
Do you know who I feel sorry for this week? The people running social media for Hasbro’s Play-Doh brand of perpetual play clay. People keep posting to point out the resemblance of an accessory in one of their current play sets to a human phallus, and Hasbro keeps taking down their posts. Update: Hasbro has acknowledged the issue on Facebook and will send a replacement extruder to families on request. [More]
News stories about “layaway angels,” people who stop by a retailer’s layaway counter and pay off the balances of strangers, became very popular during the holiday season of 2011. They’ve since become a recurring tradition, and this year we have mostly heard about people spending five-figure amounts to pay off everyone’s balance in a show of generosity. [More]
Are pricing algorithms racist? That’s not really possible, and several big retailers are blaming “pricing errors” for discrepancies in the prices of Barbie dolls of different ethnicities. Shoppers interested in a doll in a figure-skating costume, for example, have to pay $1.99 extra at Walmart for a doll with darker skin and black hair. How does that happen? [More]
A year after the combination potty/iPad stand took home an award for Worst Toy of the Year, an app from BabyFirst and AT&T U-Verse that your youngsters could use while pottying on last year’s winner has been crowned the worst for 2014. [More]