Posts Tagged ‘
Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Hasbro, the company that makes such popular toys as G.I. Joe, Monopoly, Transformers, and My Little Pony, has been named one of the 2012 World’s Most Ethical Companies (WME) by The Ethisphere Institute, the company announced Monday. Hasbro joins Intel, GE, eBay, Starbucks, and Time Warner on the 145-companuy list, and it is the only toy or play company to be named.
“A strong ethical foundation is a competitive advantage, and Hasbro recognizes the important role corporate responsibility can play in improving its bottom line,” said Alex Brigham, executive director of the Ethisphere Institute, in a statement. “As more and more organizations strive for this honor each year, Hasbro’s inclusion as a World’s Most Ethical Company for 2012 demonstrates its industry-leading commitment to ethics and dedication to integrity.”
Image: My Little Pony toy, via Hasbro.com.
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
Parents who are contemplating what to buy their children for the holidays have a new option: toy rentals. A growing number of companies are offering rental toys using the Netflix model of monthly fees and easy returns, so that families can have fun opening holiday gifts, but not permanently overflow the toy room. An MSNBC.com blog reports:
Call it the season of regiving. Toy rental is part of a growing trend in recent years for renting everything from designer handbags to big-screen TVs.
It’s about stretching your holiday dollars further, said Nikki Pope, founder and CEO of Toygaroo, a toy rental company with 11 employees that launched a year-and-a-half ago.
“We don’t do tricycles and dollhouses, but we do filler toys that moms and dads feel pressured to put under the tree,” she said. Things like puzzles, educational electronic games, and wooden toys.
Pope compared her company to DVD rental giant Netflix. Members pay from $24.99 a month for four toys up to $50 for eight toys, and every box that ships contains $120 to $300 in merchandise. Toys offered include everything from products that carry well-known brand names such as Fisher-Price to items from lesser-known toy makers that don’t show up at Toys R Us. If a customer wants to swap out a toy during any given month that can be done for an additional charge.
Image: Christmas gifts, via Shutterstock.
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
A new Barbie doll that is being marketed as a collector’s item–with a $50 pricetag to match–is sparking discussion across the blogosphere because the doll has permanent tattoos.
The doll is made by Mattel and sold by tokidoki, a Japanese-inspired brand that makes fashion accessories, vinyl toys, watches, makeup, and skateboards. In addition to the doll itself, tokidoki sells Barbie-inspired apparel featuring the iconic dolls with small tattoos on her neck.
Mattel insists that the doll is a limited-edition specialty item for adult Barbie collectors, and it is not being marketed to children. But parents have mixed opinions on the matter. From The Huffington Post:
Some parents aren’t too thrilled about tokidoki Barbie, stating the doll’s fashion sense and upper body tattoos set a bad example for young children.
“If I give it to [my daughter] she will think [tattoos are] okay. She may want to go get some,” Virginia resident Bill Smith told ABC 13 News.
“It’s teaching kids to want tattoos before they are old enough to dress like that,” Virginia resident Kevin Buckner also told the station.
However, others are pointing out that Barbie’s new look is better than the alternative.
“I much prefer tattoos to unrealistic proportions and the message that the most important thing is to be pretty and get a boy. Good for you Mattel for making a doll a little more like the rest of us. I consider it a tiny step in the right direction,” stated a comment featured on Babble blog, ‘Strollerderby.’
(image via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/)
Thursday, September 15th, 2011
The Easy-Bake Oven, the classic children’s baking toy first marketed in 1963, has received the latest in a string of design makeovers, this time losing the 100-watt lightbulb that for decades generated the heat to bake the cakes and other treats kids could make in the oven.
Part of the reason for the redesign is the phasing out of incandescent lightbulbs. The compact fluorescent bulbs that are the new standard generate less heat than their predecessors, which is good for the environment, but not helpful to little bakers.
The toy’s manufacturer says, after a 2007 voluntary recall of an earlier model, the new oven can reach 375 degrees, but it adheres to all safety standards, as the outside of the oven never gets more than warm. The Associated Press reported on the redesigned oven:
The forced re-engineering also handed Hasbro an excuse to give the Easy-Bake — which in the 1960s and 1970s came in the era’s popular kitchen decor colors — its most modern makeover yet.
“This gave us a reason to do it completely differently,” said Michelle Paolino, a vice president of global brand strategy and marketing at Hasbro.
“We wanted it to look more like a real appliance, not a plastic toy,” she said.
About the size of a big bread box, the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven is clearly designed to fit on any kitchen counter, assuming a parent is willing to shell out $49.99, a steep hike from the last model’s price tag of $29.99.
“It looks sort of like an Art Deco toaster with wings — a purple one,” said Patricia Hogan, curator at The Strong, which includes the National Museum of Play and the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y. “It’s just so cool.”
The oven targets girls between 8 and 12. The beauty of the oven, the company and users say, is that children can mix and bake mostly themselves — the food gets pushed in one end of the oven, cooks, then comes out the other side. Still, Hasbro says parental supervision is required.
(image via: http://www.boston.com/)
Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
The Spanish company Berjuan, which makes a baby doll that children can pretend to breastfeed, will be selling their product in the US beginning at the end of July, news sources are reporting.
ABC News reports, “The doll, which comes with a special halter top with two flowers positioned where nipples would be, makes suckling sounds when its mouth is brought close to sensors embedded in the flowers.”
The product is controversial in some circles. From ABC News:
“I heard people talking about it but, honestly, I thought it was a joke,” said Ilina Ewen, a writer for Deep South Moms and her own blog Dirt and Noise.
“There are just things that I think kids are too little to understand,” she said. “Let kids use their imagination and play with a doll and not deal with what it can do… There’s no need to turn it into something that’s anatomically correct. Not at this age.”
Berjuan defends its product by arguing that it allows children to explore and imitate a natural part of their parents’ connection with them:
“Breast-feeding is completely natural,” Cesar Bernabeu, director of sales and marketing for Berjuan, wrote in an e-mail to ABCNews.com.
Bernabeu said the toy allows children to imitate their moms — a natural part of growing up.
“We realized that the reaction was so positive with the girls when they were imitating their moms and saw that they react to the doll like it was a little sister,” read Bernabeu’s remarks, translated from Spanish. “Their faces of happiness said it all.”
Child development experts are torn on the toy’s value:
“My take is that anything which reminds young girls that their bodies are something other, and more, than sex objects, is a very good thing,” said Dr. Ronald Cohen, medical director of the Mothers’ Milk Bank in San Jose, Calif.
“On the other hand, encouraging young girls to want to have babies at a very young age may not be so great,” said Cohen, who is also the director of the intermediate intensive care nursery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University.
(image via: http://www.lilsugar.com/)