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| Toys and Games

07/10/14

Toy story: It's not hard to see why some toys tanked

For every Slinky, Barbie Doll or Lego set, you get at least three toys that flat out tank upon being rolled out by various toy companies that have all the best intentions but fail as far as the product and execution are concerned.
Most success when it comes to toy is directly related to a movie or television that resonates with just the right demographic: kids. Star Wars, Transformers, Superman, Batman and a slew of other comic book related movies, Disney pics, or even professional wrestling cater to kids who can't get enough of these brands and thus watch their toy market at the very least stay relevant if not grow immensely with each new movie or episode.
That formula doesn't always hold true, however, as some movies have the best toy intentions but fail to deliver. Coming to mind almost immediately is the amazing success of the 1980s series of movies, "The Karate Kid." What teenage boy didn't idolize the Daniel LaRusso character and feel empowered by his victorious run in his fictional karate tournament.. The kids who turned out in droves for the movies certainly were underwhelmed by the campy, plastic toys dished out to stores after the first two films. Worse than the action figures, which had a white lever that controlled the kicking and punching when you pulled down on it, were the generic accessories, particularly the brick wall or pole that broke in half. The pole looked more like something your cat would climb on, rather than anything menacing from the movie. And for the five people that saw the movie "Battlefield Earth," the toys were almost as horrendous as the flick itself.
From movies to the toys that barely moved you, sometimes these toy companies forget that toys are supposed to be fun. Yes, imagine that a toy that makes you laugh or gives you hours of enjoyment. Then, you have products like the always beloved yet maligned Pet Rock. This actually existed, and the name pretty much sums up what this "toy" of sorts did.
Nothing. It was a rock that you took care of, even though common sense tells you that it's a rock, and you just wasted your money, no matter how little it is. Not quite as bad as the Pet Rock was the Easy Bake Oven, an idea that often is remembered as being revolutionary but in actuality presented safety issues and a premise that was predicated on a time consuming, tasteless batter that begged the question: why can't you just help mom and dad make dinner?

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Toys that never truly take off shouldn't be too surprisingly. Toys are just like soft drinks, clothing or anything else that is a hit or miss proposition. Toys tend to get a little more of the negative press, mostly since kids are involved and but the end results is still the same: failure.

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