Spin Master is unwrapping a new range of interactive pets—and a new marketing strategy—just in time for the holiday season. Present Pets, the Toronto-based company’s newest unboxing brand, is inspired by the childhood dream of getting a puppy.
The interactive plush toy unboxes itself, with each puppy tearing its way out of packaging after kids pull on the present’s oversized gift tag. The initial offering features two themes—Fancy Pups and Glitter Pups—and each gift box is home to one of two possible dogs. Moving forward, Spin Master says additional animals could be introduced into the range.
“People have all kinds of different pets,” says Spin Master’s VP of marketing and global business unit lead, Jean Gomez. “Once this brand is a success, the world is really our oyster in terms of where we take it.”
Present Pets are available for presale and will hit shelves on October 1. Retail partners include Amazon, Walmart and Target. Recommended for kids ages four and up, the toys are available for a suggested retail price of US$49.99.
Quantities for the North American market, however, are limited. The reduced number of SKUs is a result of shutdowns and delays earlier this year, Gomez says, but Spin Master decided to turn scarcity into a strength.
“Being able to tell retailers and consumers that there are limited quantities is a great message and actually encourages them to think ahead so that they don’t miss out,” she says.
The rarity of this first offering is being highlighted in marketing efforts, and Spin Master is bowing teaser content that focuses on the unboxing experience without revealing what the interactive puppies actually look like. The intention, Gomez says, is to build excitement and urgency for the brand.
This strategy comes in a year plagued by shutdowns and delays caused by quarantine, which has led to industry-wide concerns about product availability and shipping capacity. And while Spin Master is now working to take advantage of the lockdown, earlier this year it withdrew its 2020 outlook and announced it would take steps to reduce operating expenses and capital expenditures in an effort to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.