After the success of Fingerlings, it might be considered a gamble for WowWee to stray from its reputation as a titan of high-tech offerings. It’s a good thing the Montreal-based toyco is feeling lucky.
WowWee’s Lucky Fortune range of collectible bracelets launches today at Toys “R” Us, Walmart, Mastermind, Indigo and Hudson’s Bay locations across Canada. Each bracelet features a charm and is packaged inside a plastic fortune cookie that can be turned into a keychain. The range’s first series features 100 bracelets across five categories—happiness, friendship, love, success and adventure—and four levels of rarity.
“Everything today in blind bags is very focused on characters and figures,” says Sydney Wiseman, brand manager at WowWee. With the figure market so saturated, the toyco had to look elsewhere to make its newest blind bag offerings stand out and, considering WowWee’s success in the world of high-tech wearables, jewelry was a natural jump.
With all things ’90s making a comeback, choker necklaces might have been an obvious choice except that, as Wiseman puts it, “things around your neck are a no-no with kids.” And, with an age range of six and up (with a sweet spot of ages eight to 12), something like mood rings could be difficult to size.
Bracelets, then, seemed like a perfect fit. What’s more, “there hasn’t been a bracelet craze in a really long time,” she says.
In an effort to stand out, WowWee avoided creating a single bracelet with multiple collectible charms and instead focused on bracelets that can be worn alone or stacked. The wrist gear is also adjustable, with a fortune cookie-shaped clasp. The company tested the design with kids, and Wiseman observed that younger children seemed inclined to stack as many bracelets as they could, while older kids wanted to change their bracelets based on their outfit or mood each day.
The focus groups also helped WowWee narrow down the designs for the charms. Pulling inspiration from everything from stationery to apparel, the team created about 250 designs and had kids choose their favorites and least favorites. Rainbows and unicorns are still all the rage, Wiseman says, while narwhals are up-and-coming.
The Lucky Fortune range will launch with Walmart in the US on May 31 before rolling out with other retailers in July. Suggested retail price for the line is CAD$4.99 in Canada and US$3.99 in the US.
The launch strategy for Lucky Fortune is similar to the debut of WowWee’s hit Fingerlings range, which was first released in the UK and Canada followed by the US several weeks later. Because it’s a less expensive market to test advertising and creative, Wiseman says Canada is the perfect place to pilot the product. And, though it is about a tenth of the size of the US, Canada’s population is fairly representative of the demographics of its neighbor to the south with families exhibiting similar content consumption and shopping habits.
“We can can test ad copy to see what gets parents to click more often. We can then apply these findings to our US digital strategy from the start,” Wiseman says. “We can also see early customer feedback or questions, and prepare additional assets like tutorial videos in time for the US launch. We feel this test will help us better forecast, better understand how our marketing tools are playing and give us time to make any last-minute changes prior to our US launch.”
WowWee is focusing its marketing efforts on digital platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram in addition to traditional broadcast advertising. A lesson learned from Fingerlings, Wiseman says, is how beneficial it is to connect with kids on social media early and provide them with assets they can share with friends to build brand awareness.
For now, Wiseman says the Lucky Fortune line will be strictly focused on bracelets, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of other accessories launching in subsequent series. She adds that the range is ripe for licensing possibilities down the line.