Spin Master sows new seeds in gift and toy aisles
Remember how slavishly you watched for the first green shoot to sprout up in your Styrofoam-cup bean planter in grade-four science class? Well, Canadian toyco Spin Master is building on that fundamental kid excitement this fall with a new line called Magic Sproutz that plays around with plant genetics in a really consumer-friendly way. The product’s Taiwanese creative developers figured out a way to laser-etch onto bean and flower seeds a secret message that only becomes visible when the plant sprouts, and Spin Master has signed on to distribute the Sproutz in North America.
When the line rolls out this month at Target, KB Toys and Toys ‘R’ Us, it will encompass three planter styles and a variety of text messages (‘Thank-you’ and ‘Good Luck,’ for example), with each SKU retailing for US$5.99 SRP. But the licensing execs at Spin Master are already having conversations with kids entertainment property owners about how simple character graphics might play into future product ranges. The company expects this product to appeal toyetically to kids, but also to adults as a cool alternative to greeting cards, and it will be expanding its retail base accordingly in the coming months.
Mattel goes directly to the source for new plaything concepts
Mattel has entered into a marketing partnership with By Kids For Kids, which is dedicated to helping kids turn their consumer product ideas into reality. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, BKFK runs an annual kids invention convention, which drew 2,100 submissions in 2004. These concepts are then evaluated by a panel of retail buyers, toy developers and other industry execs for patentability and consumer appeal, and a winner is announced at a special ceremony during Licensing Show in June. Mattel will sponsor the 2005 event, but more importantly, the company has signed a deal for first right of refusal on all toy and game concepts invented by kids working with BKFK. The toyco should see its first batch of potential ideas soon since the invention convention officially opened its doors to submissions this month.