Most people use TiVo to record their favorite televisions shows. Currently I’m using it to watch commercials. For the last eight weeks I’ve been channel surfing to find for one thing… technology toys commercials. It’s pretty amazing what you can learn about this year’s crop of holiday toys by watching TV commercials that air on a Saturday morning. This is not to say that everything I see on air wasn’t announced many months earlier. I’ve seen a number of these same toy products announced at this year’s NY Toy Fair, the countries largest toy conference held ten months earlier.

I’m organizing my notes to write a longer article on technology toys for sale this holiday season. All kinds of interesting things are coming up by watching, like USB connect toys, digital cameras, experiences that are driven by a screen, be it a computer or a toy’s screen, virtual world tie-ins, and much more. I’m also noting many interesting trends related to video game advertisements. Almost as interesting is what is not promoted on air.

I welcome you to view the video clip below that includes a small sample of commercials that aired before the election. (Some toy companies held back on airing their advertisements until after the election.) Please fire away any questions you’re curious about. Where do you think the future of toy technology is headed? What do you notice? Thanks for watching!

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3 Responses to “”

  1. Tim McManus Says:


    I had to watch this because I have two little ones and don’t watch TV all that much. It was good “catch-up” for me.

    I did observe several things about the commercials, the products and their positioning.

    There is far more personalization with the toys presenting in your clip. Many of them can be named or are directly associated with the child that owns them. In some commercials, the focus is on the child with the product being almost secondary–seen almost as an accessory rather than a toy.

    The toys are far more interactive both with something I’ll call “intelligent response” and remote control. Intelligent response is an act or response to pre-programed stimuli such as responding to a child that says “I love you” or responding to a new pet name. It can also be responding to being held or pet. The responses don’t seem limited and in some instances I am sure that certain responses require a more complex set of commands in a sequence from the user of the toy.

    I also see there are more remote control toys with a broader array of remote options. Flying combat helicopters just made it to my list! It’s a big step away from cars with forward, reverse and wheels that turn either left or right. And a dancing car is also pretty neat.

    I think one of the strongest product integration is with online marketing. The virtual worlds and product connections that are being made are very interesting. The only concern is that these integrations are actually excellent exercises in data mining. With a simple online registration companies can track which products are being purchased, by whom, at what frequency, and in which demographic. You are never anonymous online and parents shouldn’t expect that toy manufacturers are any different.

    There seems to be more video-related toys for younger kids, most of it very durable and interactive. And there’s a bunch of stuff for the Wii and DS, both of which I was told we are getting for our kids.

    Thanks for posting!

  2. Charlene Blohm Says:

    Wow, what an impressive collection! I’d not seen the virtual world tie-in offerings before, but that seems a natural extension of movie-themed toys. And virtual worlds are where the kids are at it would seem. Lots of boys will want to scare their sisters with a D-Rex. I can’t wait to tell Santa that I want a FurReal “Biscuit” dog – hypoallergenic! (Perfect for the White House?) Thanks for sharing the video highlights and I look forward to future postings on the topic.

  3. Richard Carey Says:

    Thanks for this! You just saved me two months of watching Saturday morning cartoons to get up-to-date on the latest interactive toys. As Charlene said, the virtual world tie-in is a natural extension (to more than movie-themed toys I would add) and it was helpful to see how they’re being marketed. I can hardly wait to find out how Lego’s virtual world fares when they launch next year.

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