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05/30/14

Toying around: Some toys didn't take off for good reason

As a kid, you never think about toys as anything other than enjoyable, loveable and sought after at various times throughout the year. As for the toy companies, the same sentiment can't be echoed.
That revelation centers on those same manufacturers that devised, created and marketed toys that simply failed to connect to the intended audience: the children. Furthermore, that same marketing not only failed to engage kids but also left a lot to be desired with the parents, who ultimately are the ones buying these toys.
On the heels of Mattel, the gigantic toy company, recently unveiling an unbelievably inane and hardly cuddly Skeletor Baby Doll, it's hard not to recall other toys released to little or no fanfare with the sagging or non existent sales to match.
As for Mattel and its "baby" doll that is a spitting image of the villainous Skeletor from the He-Man franchise, this toy is the type of product that kids take one glimpse at and run in the opposite direction. The Skeletor character doesn't belong in this incarnation, and you have to wonder who at Mattel ultimately green lit this awful idea.
But the improbably and likely doomed Skeletor Baby Doll won't be alone its presumed failure. Plenty of other would be successful toys took a similar path to be heralded by the creators as historic, only to flame out in epic fashion.

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The first toy that comes to mind that remarkably tanked as the pseudo Transformer from the 1980s dubbed "Rock Lords." Someone came up with the brilliant idea to have a robot turn in a rock. Yes, a rock. During a time when Transformers took the world by storm and had robots that doubled as intense and awesome vehicles of all shapes and sizes, Rock Lords left a lot to be desired since paying to play with a rock seems silly when they're sitting around your house for free.
One of the more storied movie franchise, "The Karate Kid," deployed toys to store around the world but they didn't do much to complement the series of movies. Every action figure had the same body and a ridiculous white lever on their backs that either made Daniel or Mr. Miyagi throw a really lame karate chop or kick.
From a movie that was box office gold ("The Karate Kid") but couldn't quite deliver on the toy front to a movie that was a pure big screen stinker that had equally bad toys, "Battlefield Earth" is a perfect example of a fail on both levels. The figures themselves were average at best with very little detail, but the movie being a huge failure didn't help the sales, either.
Toys that piggy back on huge movie successes almost always do well in the retail marketplace but not every company has that advantage. That's when originality and creativity either come to play and win over the consumers or fail miserably.

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