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Nick/Long Hall Technologies introduce a phone with play value

Kids and teens will be answering the phone to the sound of a 'moo' next month when Long Hall Technologies and Nickelodeon release the TalkBlaster telephone. In addition to a regular ring, the TalkBlaster can be set to a cow's moo,...
February 1, 1997

Kids and teens will be answering the phone to the sound of a ‘moo’ next month when Long Hall Technologies and Nickelodeon release the TalkBlaster telephone. In addition to a regular ring, the TalkBlaster can be set to a cow’s moo, a honk, a bell or the Nick noise (‘Nick-Nick-Nick’).

Lawrence Richenstein, a partner in Long Hall Technologies, describes the TalkBlaster as ‘a telephone with play value.’ As well as serving as a ‘high-quality telephone,’ the TalkBlaster will be ‘fun to own.’

The TalkBlaster is the latest in a line of items including the BlastPak personal cassette player, the Gakulator calculator and the most popular product in the line, the TimeBlaster digital clock radio that Long Hall has developed in the last three years as a Nickelodeon licensee. A camera to be introduced in the third quarter of this year will boost the line to about 10 products.

Children age five to 13 are the target audience for the TalkBlaster, but considering the age range of consumers who bought the TimeBlaster, Richenstein predicts that older teens and adults will also be interested in the product.

Since novelty telephones typically have proven to be poor sellers, Long Hall hadn’t planned to develop this kind of product. But requests from retail buyers and participants in the company’s focus groups convinced it to reconsider.

‘We are very pleased that we did proceed with the product,’ says Richenstein. Given the favorable reaction received at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, Richenstein is confident that the TalkBlaster will do well in stores. ‘Kids seem to have a positive response to almost anything Nickelodeon.’ But in focus groups, parents also said they would display the colorful telephone in their family or recreation rooms.

The TalkBlaster will hit shelves throughout the U.S. next month, and will be available at a retail price of US$49.95. Richenstein expects that the telephone, along with other products in Long Hall’s Nick line, will follow Nickelodeon as it launches in other markets.

‘We’re going to be aggressively marketing this product this year,’ says Richenstein. The launch will be supported by a full-page ad in Nickelodeon Magazine in April. The ad will draw attention to Target, which will be one of the first retailers to carry the product.

As well as Target, Richenstein says Sears, JCPenney, Toys ‘R’ Us, Zany Brainy and Noodle Kidoodle will likely be among the retail outlets offering the TalkBlaster.

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