COMMENTARY: Toys Are More Fun Than Candy

Mattel’s North American team recently kicked off an Easter program called Save the Bunny, which launched with a clever celebrity PSA. The concept is to promote giving toys, rather than copious amounts of candy, for Easter. As part of the promotion, consumers who visit www.savechocolatebunnies.com will have a chance to win a Mattel toy every day this month, download exclusive coupons on toys from Mattel brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Thomas & Friends, and win grand prize money.

As a parent and someone who loves toys, I whole-hardheartedly agree with this idea. Not only does my 3 year old not need a giant chocolate bunny, gallons of jelly beans, and piles of fluffy marshmallow chicks (OK, I’ll admit this is making me hungry), but I know from experience that I won’t actually let her eat it all, and I’ll end up eating it, which isn’t exactly part of my summer bikini plan (though I’m pregnant, so what’s the difference, right?). Anyway, she will have a lot more fun if I limit the candy to a few of her favorites, and fill that basket—er, strongly suggest the Easter Bunny fill that basket—with toys!

For retailers, signage suggesting spring/summer toys to fill Easter baskets should already be up, but it’s not too late! Many consumers wait until the last-minute to shop, especially with the holiday coming earlier this year. A special display of spring-like, small, basket-sized items makes shopping easy and promotes quick sales. The pharmacies already do this, toy stores should too! [Read more...]

Universal Pictures and Walmart Unveil Exclusive Hop Merchandise

Universal Pictures and Walmart have announced a retail program tied to the upcoming live action/CG-animated comedy Hop, the second film from Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me) that hits movie theaters across the country on April 1. Walmart customers can build their Hop-themed Easter baskets, and visit the movie-inspired “Candy Factory,” with 100 exclusive licensed products, including candy, toys, activities, and apparel.
“This is the first time we’ve worked with a licensed property to brand an important seasonal event in Walmart stores,” said Gary Severson, senior vice president, Home Entertainment, Walmart U.S.
The program, which rolled out March 17 in more than 3,000 Walmart stores, includes a dedicated aisle rolling out sweet Easter treats, and a Build-a-Basket Factory. Toys include character plush toys from Funrise, coloring and activity books from Dalmation Press, bubbles, pinwheels, paddle board, memory card games, etc. from Funrise, and Hop-themed video games for the Nintendo DS, DSi, and 3DS.
Blending animation with live action, Hop is a comedy about E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), the teenage son of the Easter Bunny. On the eve of taking over the family business, E.B. leaves for Hollywood in pursuit of his dream of becoming a drummer. He encounters Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work slacker with his own lofty goals, who accidentally hits E.B. with his car. Feigning injury, E.B. manipulates Fred into providing him shelter, and Fred finds himself with the world’s worst house guest.

New Product: Eco Eggs

Eco Eggs are new-to-market plastic Easter eggs for egg hunts that are made in the U.S. from corn starch, 100-percent renewable content, and are fully compostable after use. The eggs are available in three box sizes of 10, 28, and 48.

[Read more...]

Big Idea Entertainment to Release New Easter DVD

Big Idea Entertainment, a faith-based studio and producer of children’s and family programming, characters, and brands, will release their first new Easter holiday DVD in seven years, VeggieTales: ‘Twas The Night Before Easter, on March 5 and 8, in Christian and general market stores, respectively.

Easter Toy Sales Increase 5 Percent in UK

According to The NPD Group, traditional toy sales in the UK during the two weeks of Good Friday and Easter 2010 increased 5 percent in revenue. This year, toy sales during Good Friday week rose by 30 percent versus the prior week, which NPD says is not an unusual trend for the UK.

Based on NPD’s toy market research, grocers’ market share for the two-week Easter peak increased from 28 percent in 2009 to 37 percent this year. The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service reports that grocers raised their average price by 11 percent during Good Friday week (versus the prior week).

Properties such as Stars Wars, Ben 10, and Toy Story saw an increase in sales by more than 50 percent, compared to the prior week.