The top two toymakers, Mattel and Hasbro, are working to bring their classic toys into a new reality dominated by branded play and content creation. Bobbi Rebell reports.
A playtime pivot for top toymakers Mattel and Hasbro re-imagining classic brands for a new generation of kids and parents. The occasion - the 2015 Toy Fair. Hasbro showing off countless collaborations: iconic toys, like Furbie, get the Star Wars treatment. Other products tying in elements of The Avengers and Jurassic park. The goal is taking even low tech toys and making them appeal to kids raised on electronics, says CEO Brian Goldner: SOUNDBITE: BRIAN GOLDNER, CEO, HASBRO (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We encourage the users of the Nerf brand to create their own videos to go online to create the community and to connect and to show how they are using their Nerf products, their blasters to play and to create skits and all the things that our Nerf users like to do." Goldner is also excited about the possibilities to leverage the Disney Princess brand, including those based on Frozen, when they launch next year. They are taking over the Disney license from rival mattel. It has been having a tougher time facing lower demand for its iconic items like Barbie's and Fisher Price toys. Which is why Mattel was promoting its collaboration with Google on a virtual reality version of its 75-year old View-Master. It uses apps on a smartphone - Android and iOS - along with reels. Kids can use them to see all kinds of virtual content. But the real hook for Mattel is what it can do for their brands: Mattel's Doug Wadleigh: SOUNDBITE: DOUG WADLEIGH, SENIOR VP BRAND GM TOY BOX, MATTEL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "What we can also do is take our existing brands like Barbie like Hot Wheels, Fisher Price and American Girl and find ways to deliver compelling content through this new technological advancement. " REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's still early stages just a few months of development. So far, they just have this prototype although it will work very similarly to the Google cardboard product. They are hoping to have it ready by the holidays." The high-tech View-Master will run only thirty bucks. CNET's Scott Stein: SOUNDBITE: SCOTT STEIN, SENIOR EDITOR, CNET (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Thirty bucks is a no brainier. You know, I think, this is something you just buy. What's interesting is how many people will buy the toys that potentially take advantage of View-Master because it looks like a gateway to other toys that become amplified with View-Master in the future. " For Mattel, it's a move they hope kids and parents will find worth watching.