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Trends in Toyland

TRENDS IN TOYLAND $37.95 ViP GRATEFUL DERD OPOLY GRATEFUL DEAD Even in a city like New York, there's only one place where you can play Ping-Pong with a Korean robot, watch grown men ride rhinestone-encrust- ed tricycles and have your picture taken with Pikachu. It's Toy Fair and-snigger all you want, marketers of cars and digital gadgets and French fash- ion-this happens to be the biggest industry show in the Western Hemisphere. Assuming your willingness to trudge through 350,000 square feet of exhibit floor, you would have seen 100,000 new products that represent the cleverest, funniest and, at times, most unimpeachably moronic stuff that the modern branding mind can conjure. Yeah, we know: A trade show is still a trade show-so why'd we blow nine hours at this one? One reason. Toys mirror the shopping culture better than most anything by providing marketers with the most valuable piece of intelligence they can know: what kids think is cool. Granted, that's about 1,000 different things at any given time, and we only have two pages. But here are five trends that popped out from Toy Fair's endless aisles of whirligigs. MONO POLY -Robert Klara $11.99 $200 DELTA BUG LUXURY EDITION Monopoly Never Dies Introduced back in 1935, Monopoly is the best-selling game in his- tory. For Hasbro, its current owner, licensing its endless permuta- tions is more lucrative than owning Boardwalk. Nobody's sure exactly how many themed versions of Monopoly now exist, but it's well over 100-from the Monopoly Luxury Edition ren- dered in hardwood from Winning Solutions, Inc., to Grateful Dead- opoly, licensed by Gold Standard Games, where one of the "Chance" cards can send you into rehab or slap you with a palimony suit, just like a real rock star. Also spotted at Toy Fair: Baltimore-opoly, Bible-opoly and Pug-opoly. Robots Rule With their touch-sensitive antennae and aversion to light, HexBug's line of Micro Robotic Creatures (the Delta bug is shown at right) behave just like real roaches. (For slightly more money, you could also move to New York and enjoy the real ones.) Robots have always been cool with kids, but Web 2.0 and recent advances in touch-sensitive and infrared technology have given rise to "animatronic play." For example, thanks to the USB port hidden in the tail of Tandars' interactive pet monkey, the fuzzy primate can be programmed to call you by name and respond to touch with a variety of facial expressions. Meanwhile, Brain- e-Bear from the Brainy Company responds to squeezes, plays interactive games and can even teach your kid French or Chinese. $39.99 HAND Gross Is Cool We have to assume that a generation of boys and girls raised on a steady diet of slasher films and autopsy shots on the Internet is what's led to the proliferation of toys that are completely, unapologetically, disgusting. This summer, Fantasma Magic will introduce the Hand Runner-a riff on "Thing," the severed hand from The Addams Family-which you can send scuttling across the floor via remote control. Fotorama has come out with a charming game called Pigout Pete in which an overweight plastic boy vomits green slime on the players. And, not to be out- done, the Uncle Milton company sells a nifty little "educational" toy called Dino Poop. It's brown and mushy, and, well, we'll just leave it right there. O $39.99 WIND POWER 2.0 $179.99 Eco Goes Juvenile Sure, you've noticed the million or so items in the grocery aisles-including a variety of toxic cleaners-that now claim to be "green." Well, it was just a matter of time: Eco-friendly has made it to kiddie land now, too, from toys that teach good environmental stewardship wholly from recycled and/or sustainable products. Two standouts are Thames & Kosmos' Wind Power 2.0, which lets kids build their own turbine that's powerful enough to charge rechargeable batteries; and Green Toys' fork and spoon set. Not only is the plastic made from recycled milk jugs, but the box itself is recycled paper printed with soy-based inks. BARN Down on the Farm Maybe it was FarmVille that started this. Or the organic movement. Or the popularity of green markets that visit our dirty, carbon-emitting cities. Well, whatever, but farm toys are cool. What's more, they've progressed well beyond the basic plastic cow to highly detailed, functioning models that allow kids to do everything from bale hay to till and irrigate their fields. Canadian toy maker Schleich sells the red barn and front-loading tractor at left. Bruder Toys America now makes a wide variety of miniature field choppers and combine harvesters. And pedal-car maker New Holland recently added a farm tractor kids can ride themselves. The hay wagon, which hitches to the back, is extra. ones made $24.99 TBPA-Free Forks & Spoons $5.99 Sreen wwww.g-e FORKS & SPOONS TRACTOR 12 | ADWEEKMEDIA | 2.21.2011 2.21.2011 | ADWEEKMEDIA | 13

Trends in Toyland

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Toy Fair branded trend data visualization originally published in Adweek

Publisher

Adweek

Designer

Carol Wells

Category

Entertainment
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