But why all of this happens? Why some toys seemingly become larger than life? NPR has created a whole report on this.
It turns out it’s not only about the toy. Often kids want one simply because “everyone else has one”. Humans are social creatures and thus want to feel a part of everyone’s activities and fun.
But that’s not always the case. Let’s take Barbie for example. It’s a toy that has stayed popular for 50 years now. Beanie Babies are also popular for decades now. There are quite a lot of such toys.
So, it’s not only because everyone else has one. There’s more to the toys that win the attention of kids and turn into huge hits.
Mario Bergman, an economist at the University of Washington, Tacoma has worked on these questions for years. She thinks it’s a combination of marketing and psychology. It’s quite a lot more than simply a cool toy that everyone wants. Bergman say
“Kids especially, but people in general don’t always know what’s cool,” Bergman says. “But they know who is cool.”
And while some people are naturally “cool” and create a following, others simply prefer to follow and gravitate around them. So, these people would happily want to feel closer by having the same stuff.
Next comes the price. If a toy is way too expensive, people won’t buy it, no matter how incredible it is. But then the opposite is also true. If it’s too cheap, they would feel like it’s simply trashy and not worth it. So, the toy has to have just the right price.
Of course, kids don’t really get all of that. They don’t know or understand prices. That’s for the parents. Kids simply see something everyone else think is cool, so they also want to check it out. But then comes the real kicker. If a toy is actually cool, kids will love it for years and years, just like Barbie, Beanie Babies, Furby and many more.
If a toy doesn’t bring anything to the table, then kids quickly get bored with it and the fad withers away. That’s why some toy fads stay and become into big, beloved franchises, while other are one-hit-wonders.
So, are such fads OK or are they taking advantage of people’s trust? Fads by themselves aren’t something bad. As stated above, they are a way for people to get together, to communicate and share common interests. And some toys tap into great emotions while doing it. Stuffed animals help nurture caring about close ones, boost creativity. LEGOs teach problem solving skills and also boost creativity. So, some toys certainly are helpful and deserve all the attention they get.