Shelf Talk

Hasbro gambles on a do-it-yourself Asian action figure line
July 1, 2002

Hasbro gambles on a do-it-yourself Asian action figure line

Why make toys when you can get consumers to make them–and pay for the privilege, too? It’s no doubt a question that many a toyco has pondered, and one that Hasbro has seemingly found an answer to in Stikfas, a new kit that lets consumers create their own action figures. Retailing for US$10 each, Stikfas come with 44 interchangeable parts that snap together to form a three-inch action figure with multiple points of articulation.

Hasbro recently signed a deal with the toy’s creator, Singapore-based Stikfas Private Limited, for global marketing, distribution and manufacturing rights to the line. According to Deron Ellis, Hasbro’s VP of marketing for boys toys, Stikfas successfully marries the creative play of arts & crafts with the rock’em, sock’em role play of action figures. Initially, Hasbro will sell the line exclusively through comic book and hobby stores in North America, bowing this month with the first kit, Alpha Male Military. Though Ellis is keeping mum on the details, future kits will hit on different themes and feature new color schemes. Also worth noting: Hasbro hasn’t ruled out applying entertainment licenses to the kits.

Sagwa sidles up to FAO

FAO Inc. has nabbed a two-month exclusive on the toy program for Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat from licensor Sesame Workshop, which co-produces the 2-D PBS show with Montreal, Canada-based prodco CinéGroupe. The program, which runs from August to October at all of the chain’s FAO and Zany Brainy locations, will encompass plush and dolls (Panache Place), games (Lights, Camera, Interaction!) and tea sets (Reuter), as well as non-exclusive product such as books (Scholastic) and home videos (Warner Home Video). To commemorate the exclusive, Sagwa author Amy Tan will do in-store signings at FAO stores in New York (September 14) and San Francisco (October 5).

Razor puts the pedal to metal

If retro-toy revivalist Razor has its way, no sidewalk will be safe this summer. The Cerritos, California-based company, famous for bringing back bygone toys like scooters and pogo sticks, is hoping to do the same with the Scream Machine–a souped-up version of the classic Big Wheel toy from the 1970s.

SM is a low-riding tricycle that comes with a handbrake and an adjustable seat. Unlike its plastic predecessors, though, SM is made of chrome steel and features a large black front wheel that allows kids to coast at high speeds without pedalling. Currently available at most toy and sporting goods retailers, SM retails for US$99.

Rather than opting for a traditional advertising campaign, Razor’s marketing strategy will consist of a steady diet of in-store demos. The Scream Machine will also be featured in The Dare To Zours obstacle course contest, a Radio Disney-led promotion co-sponsored by Zours Candies. Kids will use the Scream Machine in obstacle courses at summer fairs and other large community events in 17 U.S. markets, including L.A., Chicago, Boston and Denver.

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