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Spin Master crafts a Play-Doh rival

Toronto-based toyco Spin Master looked to the sky for inspiration on its new building compound product that debuted at Toy Fair in New York in February.
April 1, 2010

Toronto-based toyco Spin Master looked to the sky for inspiration on its new building compound product that debuted at Toy Fair in New York in February. Taking its Moon Sand line further, the toyco has developed Moon Dough. Whereas Moon Sand was designed for preschoolers to craft objects and then subsequently destroy them, Moon Dough is a sturdier compound that encourages a ‘make and play’ play pattern, and it might just revolutionize the building compound category currently dominated by Hasbro standby Play-Doh.

The environmentally sound product is looking to stir up a segment of the arts & crafts supercategory that has withstood the downward pressure on profitability and price-point over the last 12 months. According to Port Washington, New York-based researcher The NPD Group, the clay/dough sub-category yielded US$231 million in US retail sales in the US in 2009, representing a 1% bump in a tough climate. While the number-crunchers don’t release individual brand results, it’s recognized that 53-year-old Play-Doh currently owns the space. And looking squarely at the iconic building toy, Spin Master developed a product it feels answers the major criticism of the toyco’s chief competitor in the space.

‘It has no water in it, so it will never, ever dry out,’ says Mark Sullivan, EVP of marketing at Spin Master. ‘It’s incredibly light and it molds like magic.’ In fact, the marshmallow-like compound is dry to the touch and won’t stick to carpets or furniture. As well, Moon Dough is being sold in playsets that come with molding tools to give its core audience, preschoolers, the ability to sculpt detailed figures.

‘Because Moon Dough doesn’t droop or dry out, you can make things with incredible detail and actually play with them,’ says Sullivan. The dough comes in eight different colors, including red, orange and pink, and will retail for US$2.99 for a 1.5-ounce tin up to US$19.99 for an entire playset that comes with three tins of dough and tools. So far, playsets featuring a barnyard, a burger shop, a doghouse and a pizza shop are planned to rollout with the other products this fall.

Looking past year one, Sullivan says Moon Dough certainly has potential to work as a licensed product, which Spin Master will measure once the tins of compound start hitting mass-market retail. ‘Typically licenses don’t come until the second year or third year,’ he says.

About The Author
Gary Rusak is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has covered the kids entertainment industry for the last decade with a special interest in licensing, retail and consumer products. You can reach him at garyrusak@gmail.com

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