Do you want to know What was the First toy Ever Advertised on Television? Children all over the world have frolicked with toys of different shapes and sizes. Research has shown that learning through play is a vital part of children’s development as it allows them to release extra energy and increase their creativity.
Toy manufactures have over time come up with different marketing strategies to push their brands to the children market. The first toy to be marketed through ads on television was known as Mr. Potato Head.
This toy which was invented in 1949 broke new ground as it specifically targeted children who used it rather than the parents who eventually paid for it.
Who Invented Mr. Potato Head:
The American toy known as Mr. Potato head was invented by the Brooklyn-born artist, George Lerner in 1949. He was born in 1922 and worked as a graphic designer, artist, and model maker throughout his lifetime.
Towards the year 1950, he produced and designed a first generation toy set of plastic pieces. With similar toys in the market during that period, Learner’s toy distinguished itself with its three-dimensional features.
After a couple of rejected attempts, Learner’s pitch was later accepted by a food company that paid him a licensing fee to distribute his plastic pieces in their cereal packs. George Learner further reached out to Henry and Merill Hassenfeld, the owners of a toy company in Rhode-Island which later changed its name to Hasbro.
The Hassenfelds got interested in the toy idea and purchased the license from the food company. Hasbro launched the initial ad campaign for Mr. Potato Head on the 30th of April,1952, and earned over $4 million within the first few months.
What Was Mr. Potato Head Made Of:
Mr. Potato Head, an American toy, is made up of a potato plastic model that can be decorated with an assortment of attachable plastic parts. The parts which can be attached to the main body, usually include ears, shoes, eyes, a hat, pants, a nose, and a mouth.
The toy was at first produced as separate plastic parts which had push pins that could be stuck into a real potato or other vegetables. However, complaints arose over time concerning rotting vegetables and its adverse health threats.
Government safety regulations prompted the company to adjust to a new design of the production. In 1964, Hasbro began inserting a plastic potato body within the toy set.
As time went on, the original toy was accompanied by Mrs. Potato Head and augmented with accessories such as a boat trailer and a car.
Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters featured in the Toy Story franchise, voiced by Estelle Harris and Don Rickles. Today, Mr. Potato Head can still be spotted adorning hats, ties, and shirts.
Playing with toys helps increase children’s’ imaginative skills, and most toy marketers have banked on this benefit to strategically place their toy brands in the market. Mr . Potato Head became a business trailblazer with its high television ad strategy decades before its star role in Toy Story, 1995.
The Chief Curator at the National Toy Hall of Fame, Christopher Bench, notes that a potato seemed a logical option for Lerner’s face parts. He stated that this was due to the fact that they were relatively affordable and available all year-round.
Mr. Potato Head opened the floor for other similar toy sets to be introduced in the toy market. Surrendering his pipe to become a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society’s annual campaign in 1987, this epic toy character has continued to leave its marks in the sands of toy-time.
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