My article Construction Toys Reach New Heights with Hot Licenses and a Whole New Audience for the June issue of Toys & Family Entertainment is now available online to read.
Besides offering a sneak peek at some of the big releases coming out later this year from Lego, Mega Brands, K’NEX, Hasbro and more, it also takes a look at some of the hottest trends in Construction Toys these days. As a big fan of Legos (and lately Mega Brands thanks to their video game-themed lines of Mario and the upcoming Pac-Man!), I thoroughly enjoyed working on this piece.
The biggest thing I learned, though, is that despite its long history, the Construction Toys industry is only now finally striking a cord with girls. Think about it, despite a rough economy, companies like Lego and Mega Brands are still doing gangbusters. And now, just by finally clicking with the other gender, they can massively increase their audience.
The problem in the past was that these companies were thinking about girl products first (pocket books, necklaces, etc.) and the construction part second. If a girl wanted a purse, she’d get a play purse. Why would she want to actually build one?
Instead, these companies finally got the picture. Girls want to build as much as boys do. They may not want to build Batman’s Batcave (though, I’m sure many do), but they’d love to build Barbie’s Dream House. Or a pet store or zoo or playground. As long as it’s fun to build and then something fun for them to play with, they’ll enjoy it. And apparently it’s working, as sales are really taking off.
I just love how the generation gap has shrunk significantly in recent years when it comes to hobbies and pop culture. It’s no longer really odd to find girls who are completely into video games, comic books or even horror movies. The gender stereotypes of old are certainly melting away a bit. I doubt they’ll ever completely vanish, but the lines are certainly a bit more blurred these days.
While I thoroughly enjoy writing pop-culture articles for consumers, I also enjoy B2B-type articles for trade magazines like Toys & Family Entertainment. It gives me a chance to talk to a number of key PR and marketing employees at top companies, as well as delve into current trends and upcoming releases.
In this case, it’s fantastic to learn that Construction Toys have a massive world of licensing before them, now that they have an active new audience. My only fear is that it means we may be seeing a Lego Twilight set before we know it.