If a toy looks good on YouTube, chances are it will be all the rage. The video-hosting website plays a huge role in the creation and marketing of toys. In some cases the crazier the toy, the better. One Cincinnati toy company is taking full advantage of this trend, especially with its new creation: Chow Crown.
Inside its showroom near Eden Park, Co-founder of Bang Zoom Design Mike Hoeting shows off several walls of brightly packaged toys, some of which his company has designed for this holiday season.
Chow Crown is already the subject of plenty of crazy videos.
With Chow Crown, an idea he sold to Hasbro, players attach food to forks that dangle from a crown. The goal? To try to eat the food as it revolves around your hand. And no, you can't use your hands.
"The trend for toys now is, can the game look good on YouTube? And that's how toy companies are advertising," says Hoeting. "You go straight to YouTube and they want to make it viral. So they want toys that look silly and this one takes the cake, literally."
Hairdorables is another creation from Bang Zoom. After going through a series of clues, kids find out which of the 36 dolls they got. In this YouTube video, Macaroni Live's Jo Beth and special guest Rebecca open one of these Hairdorables, in a YouTube phenomenon known as "unboxing."
"When one toy company finds gold, so to speak, all the other toy companies follow suit," Hoeting says. "The toy industry realized this is the best way to market is to have the kids do the marketing for them."
YouTube not only helps drive toy sales but Bang Zoom Design also gets ideas from videos on social media. Take Rollie My Kissing Puppy, another toy the Cincinnati company created. Hoeting and his staff see plenty of puppy videos online.
"Who hates a puppy? Nobody. I saw all these puppies licking all these kids and giggling. So we thought licking puppies could only be a winner right?"
Over its nearly 30-year history, Bang Zoom Design has had about 200 toys on the shelves. Hoeting says there are only 30 independent inventor companies like his in the world. The big toy makers run out of ideas and come to them. Yellies from Bang Zoom just hit the shelves. They are furry cute spiders who move the louder you yell.
A computer chip with a microphone senses volume, revs up the motor and the spiders go faster. Bang Zoom is now working on toys for the year 2020.