Posts Tagged ‘toys’
Barbie is rubbish. Everyone knows that. While other toys enable children to make things fly and explode, or go on wild adventures in their minds, Barbie has a glamorous, yet somehow humdrum life. What does she do? She has a house. She has a horse. She drives around a bit.
No high-speed chases. No saving the world from baddies. She just exists and does menial tasks with expensive stuff.
So with that, it is little wonder that Barbie is on the ropes, with Mattel reporting big losses with its core brand. What isn’t helping is that Frozen is handing Barbie her arse. Children, it seems, are playing with Lego and video games, rather than something designed solely to occupy some pink stuff.
In the first quarter, to March 31st, the toy vendors said that Barbie sales dropped by 14%. Mattel’s loss before tax grewing to £49.1m.
The Frozen franchise saw a 22% jump in consumer product sales for Disney’s first quarter to $1.4bn and with a sequel on the horizon, the fanaticism isn’t going to go away any time soon.
Mattel’s shares have lost over a third of their value over the past 12 months. Maybe it is time for Barbie to retire and finally get some well earned rest in the Betty Ford Clinic.
Argos have found themselves in a row. A RACE row about dolls. So they have.
The original click and collect front, have a white doll priced £10 more than their black and Asian offerings.
The white ‘Maria’ doll, made by French company Corolle Calin, is being sold on the Argos website for £34.99, while Asian and black dolls ‘Yang’ and ‘Naima’ are for sale for £24.99.
All the dolls are, like, the same and beautiful inside and of the same dimensions and on the manufacturer’s website all three are sold at the same price of £23.
A mum of three named Lisa O’Reilly from Lincs reckoned: “It’s unacceptable for children to think white is better or more desirable. It’s wrong for our youngsters to grow up thinking non-white skin colours are worth less.”
“There’s enough prejudice in the world already without battling against racist toys.”
Argos blamed it handily on a genuine pricing error and said it was urgently rectifying the problem. Why, even a spokesman chipped in with “[We] can confirm all three dolls will be priced at £24.99″.
So that’s alright then. Nothing like checking these things BEFORE they’re uploaded, eh.
The Consumer Electronics Show is the gift that keeps on giving this week, as thousands of nerds descend on all the latest gadgets at a huge conference that inevitably smells like Lynx Africa and cider.
Now comes word of a new learning tool that will allow users to build LEGO with the eyes. THEIR EYES.
Eye-tracking software developer The Eye Tribe showed off an interface that allows users to build LEGO sets using just their eyes at the show.
And it’s not just fancy-dan futurism either, as the software has been used to control mobile devices, computers, gaming consoles and TVs. Now, they’re working with LEGO to provide a new way to build LEGO
“We’re extremely excited to be back at CES and to show how quickly we’ve advanced our products for mobile form factors,” said Sune Alstrup Johansen, CEO of The Eye Tribe. ”With our solution, OEMs can fast-track integration of real eye tracking. We want to bust the myth that it is an expensive and complicated affair.”
Martin Tall, chief technology officer of The Eye Tribe, added: “Our vision is to transition eye tracking from being an expensive lab equipment into every day products. Soon this technology will be integrated into a wide range of devices such as tablets and smartphones.
“It will enable you to interact with devices in ways that you only dreamed were possible. Devices will behave more intuitively, games will become more immersive.”
Yeah, impressive, but not as much fun as annoying other people as you rattle through a tub for particular pieces though, eh.
She started a petition to get the collectibles off the shelves, because they’re related to a violent TV show about crack cocaine. Of course, these figures could only be found in the section designated for adults, but there you go.
The stars of the show aren’t best pleased about it either. Aaron Paul who played Jesse Pinkman tweeted: ”Wait, so @ToysRUs pulled all of the Breaking Bad figures from their shelves and still sells Barbie? Hmmmm…I wonder what is more damaging?”
He added: “And what about all of the violent video games you sell @ToysRUs ? Do you still sell those? Florida mom really messed it up for everyone.”
Toys R Us said in a statement: “Let’s just say, the action figures have taken an ‘indefinite sabbatical.’”
Bryan Cranston tweeted his ire too: “Florida mom petitions against Toys ‘R Us over Breaking Bad action figures.’ I’m so mad, I’m burning my Florida Mom action figure in protest,” adding: “Toys R Us puts Breaking Bad toys on ‘indefinite sabbatical.’ Word on the street is that they were sent to Belize. Nicely played Florida Mom.”
So there you have it. America, where you can’t buy toys from a toy shop, but you can get a free gun when you take out a loan. Crackers.
The legendary Danish toymaker has been expanding its appeal beyond the bricks and mini-figures, and recently released the amazing The Lego Movie, which has taken $183 million at the box office since it’s release four weeks ago.
The company also threw in for good measure, the news that it had recently hired 1,355 workers.
The market for the brick-based activity is increasing in China, whereas the markets in Europe and North America had weakened.
Lego is the world’s second largest toymaker, behind Mattel, the maker of Barbie. Even philosophy loves Lego. In Sophie’s World (a book that teaches you all about that stuff), it is referred to as “the most ingenious toy in the world.” Hard to argue with that, seeing as you can make beautiful things with it… or a massive phallus. The possibilities are endless.
If you need a good excuse to go and see The Lego Movie, here’s Batman’s song from it.
In a desperate attempt to revive their flagging fortunes, Mothercare is launching a new range of royal baby themed clothing and toys. They include playsets including corgis and the Duke of Edinburgh being racist about the Japanese, and awful bibs with ‘When I grow up I want to be a Princess’ embroidered on them by tearful Bangladeshi factory workers.
And, if you’re a real royal bellend, you might even be able to buy a pram in the style of a horse drawn carriage, which will look dead classy when you’re pushing it around 99p Stores with a fag on the go.
Mothercare are the first of many retailers who will be launching a range of goods to cash in on the royal foetus, which is due in July. But chief executive Simon Calver insists it’s not cashing in per se.
‘We’re looking to commemorate, celebrate, to have a bit of fun. Babies are going to be the thing people talk about this year.’ He said, not rubbing his hands together with glee at all.
And what better way to commemorate the beginning of a new life than with idiocy?
Have you ever heard of phthalates? A potentially dangerous chemical that can cause cancer, deformities in unborn babies and infertility in men? Well you should have. It is dangerous.
Phthalates are used to soften plastics, and should be kept away from people who don’t want cancer, unborn children and fertile men. They should also not be given to children to play with.
However, dolls containing the poisonous chemical have been found on sale in shops in the West Midlands. The dolls have been imported from China, and photographs of the dolls, some of which have fruit shaped heads, can be found here.
Sandwell Trading Standards have advised that dolls should always have a CE markig to prove it meets EU safety regulations.
But dolls are not the only toys that could suffer from phthalates. Anyone who was watching Em and Lo last night will know that adults should also ensure their toys are phthalate free. Take this cheeky number from Ann Summers. Not only is it on sale, it is also totally phthalate free, meaning you can slap and tickle “harder and for longer”. Good job, when we are talking about proximity to fertile men and inborn children eh?
However, in even more distressing news, there are no such reassuring claims on the rampant rabbits.
Children’s dollies are consistently weird things. They have ones that shit themselves and ones like ‘Cricket’ who waddle around, telling you jokes and never once blinking.
And a new doll on the market, which has the Daily Mail’s knickers in a twist (showcasing the wonderful word ‘Breastapo’), is The Beast Milk Baby.
The Mail goes on about the “unspoken criticism from ‘friends’” about the fact the writer has “chosen not to breastfeed my child.” And of course, this doll is just the latest thing to ‘brainwash’ us all into thinking breast is best. Unsurprisingly, they call it “repulsive and disquieting on many levels.”
This doll enables children to play at breastfeeding, which granted, is a bit weird. For a start, why would a little kid want to make-believe a scenario which involves sore, cracked nipples?
The toy has a bib that comes with it featuring flower ‘nipples’ and then, when you attach the doll to it, it makes sucking noises. Then you have to burp it. Because there’s nothing like tedium to make children go nuts! Seriously. Get into robots and dinosaurs. Raising children is about as exciting as hanging washing up.
Either way, this doll is clearly a propaganda tool from the Breastapo, so toy makers should balance things out by making a Baby Formula, a dolly that cries at the sight of tits.
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the list of must-have toys for this Christmas, as compiled by the Toy Retailer’s Association. Now comes the tricky part – do you assume that these will all sell out by the middle of this month and snap them all up? Do you buy extras in the hope that you can flog them on eBay in the middle of December and make a few Christmas quids? Or do you go back to your knitting and do nothing?
Here’s the list…
Cabbage Patch Kids, JAKKS Pacific, RRP £29.99
Furby, Hasbro, RRP £59.99
InnoTab 2, Vtech, RRP £84.99
Jake and the Neverland Pirates – Pirate Ship Bucky, Mattel, RRP £49.99
LeapPad 2, Leapfrog Toys, RRP £89.99
Lego Friends: Olivia’s House, Lego, RRP £69.99
Lego The Lord of the Rings: The Mines of Moria, Lego, £68.99
Mike the Knight’s Deluxe Glendragon Playset, Character Options, £29.99
Monster High Ghouls Rule Dolls, Mattel, RRP £22.99
My Moshi Home, Vivid Imaginations, RRP £39.99
Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire, Hasbro, RRP £44.99
Twister Dance, Hasbro, RRP £26.99
Web Shooting Spider-Man, Hasbro, RRP £34.99
Here’s a couple of ‘incentives’ from a couple of retailers that are designed to put a smile on your face and have you marching through their doors with your back straightened and your gait filled with purpose.
First up is Morrisons. In an attempt to get you to visit one of their supermarketing establishments and ignore all the others, they’re now accepting money-off vouchers from their rivals Sainsbury’s Asda, Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and Waitrose.
But tread carefully dear reader – it seems that not EVERY Morrisons store is participating in the scheme, so do your homework before you unveil a fistful of vouchers at the checkout. Other crushing disappointments are available.
Additionally, over at Argos, if you take in a used toy, you’ll get a voucher entitling you to £5 off a £35 purchase of a new toy. All donated toys will go to Barnardo’s and they’ll be passed on to underprivileged children in time for Christmas. Go on, people – spread the love…
From 1965, all hail… the Daddy Saddle!
Yes, it’s the day when the Toy Retailers’ Association announce their top toys for the festive buying season, the dirty dozen that they believe will outsell all others. If they’re right, it’s a massive heads-up for the stuff that you’ll struggle to get anywhere in six weeks’ time.
*coughs* Drum roll… here we go…
• Doggie Doo (£24)
• Fijit Friends (£54.99)
• Fireman Sam Pontypandy Rescue Set (£29.99)
• Kidizoom Twist (£49.99)
• LeapPad Explorer (£78.99)
• Let’s Rock Elmo (£69.99)
• Milky the Bunny (£59.99)
• Monster High Lagoona’s Hydration Station (£39.99)
• Moshling Tree House (£19.99)
• Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster (£44.99)
• Ninjago Fire Temple (£89.99)
• Star Wars Ultimate Force Tech Lightsaber Assortment (£39.99)
It all looks good, although we’re not completely sure about Doggie Doo or Milky The Bunny. Also, while you’re in the mood for toy-buying, you should know that it looks very likely that Sainsburys will be launching a half-price toy sale from tomorrow. More info here.
The Stone Roses have reformed! Presumably for a large bag of money we reckon. Here’s a bunch of stuff that isn’t related to the middle-aged band of Mancunians or their music in any way (although there’s a unusual reference to one of their members halfway down).
As per usual, the ‘stuff’ is all from HotUKDeals
You might as well take all your money and burn it now. Listen here – there’s a toy sale starting on October 27th and lasting for almost a week. Last year, all toys in this sale were half price. All. Toys. Half. Price. It’s going to be carnage.
Let’s try and move on, if we can, to something else that is a regular part of the winter period. We speak of course of the wretched onset of the KILLER FLU. At least if it doesn’t kill you, it’ll turn you into a shrivelled-up husk, a grim shadow of your former self. Like Mani from The Stone Roses.
There’s one way and one way only to prevent this from happening and that’s to get yourself properly jabbed up with anti-flu goo. Some private GPs charge the princely sum of £50 for this but you can get it for only £7.00 right now. See – you’re all better now.
Finally, an ‘iPad killer’ that is nothing of the sort but is actually on the brink of extinction itself. It’s the BlackBerry Playbook, from the beleagured Research In Motion, the people who accidentally screwed their own network for three days a week or so ago.
But if you’re not put off by that glowing reference, you might want to get out and invest in the Playbook now. It’s been reduced from £399 to £249. Go on – we dare you.
(deals found by HUKD members nicster08, jocksteeluk and Mdaoro)