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A random collection of rants, reviews, and miscellaneous thoughts on everything from instructional technology to local restaurants.
Since we don’t have kids of our own, each year Laura and I contribute to Toys for Tots and other charities. Last night we went shopping at Toys R Us and ran into an interesting dilemma. We always try to get something for the older kids. It’s easy to run into a store and pick out something bright and shiny for younger children, but those in the 10 – 12 year range are often overlooked. Toy manufacturers aren’t making it any easier.
Take, for instance, the game Uno„¢. It’s a simple, straighforward game that should appeal to a variety of ages. However, we could only find the game with Disney branding for their movies. There was a Cars version…
…and a Disney Princesses version…
…and while the store had tons of these, we had to struggle to find just a plain version.
The problem is that branding like this associates the toys with younger children, so older kids are reluctant to accept them, thinking that it’s a “little kid’s toy.” We found this to be the case with several popular games, including Monopoly„¢ and Clue„¢. Toys that used to be a safe bet for those middle kids were now branded in a way to make them less appealing.
The marketing analysis must show that these do increase sales. After all, if you’ve got a boy and a girl, the boy’s not going to want to play with the princesses cards, so you would have to buy two sets if a generic version isn’t available. Still I prefer the classic versions. Maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy who doesn’t like companies like Disney messing with iconic games.