Apr 18, 2017 | By Ellen Kirkhope
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Innovation and retail disruption- these terms have been used in the mainstream market for a while, but now the youth audience is getting in on the action. A new show from Mattel and ABC takes on the Shark-Tank/Apprentice style model that has been popular for years now with older viewers, and created a youth focused version. The Toy Box is all about retail pitches, but the twist? The judges look like they just left pre-school.
It’s a savvy idea from Mattel and ABC, because the Apprentice style format has proved to be successful in the past, and viewers love to watch the drama unfold as a pitch is accepted or thrown onto the dump heap. But more than just entertainment, the show is a great way to explore the future of play. The kids of today, Generation Alpha, have only known a world that is digital, some were able to swipe their parents iPads before they could talk or read, so this will inform the way that toy makers cater for this audience.
In our report called The Future of Play: Smart Toys (subscribers check it out here) we explored how the smart toy market is set to grow with/alongside Gen Alpha. According to UK-based analysts Juniper Research, annual smart-toy sales worldwide are expected to grow from $2.8bn in 2015 to $11.3bn by 2020. The latest toys on the market can do everything from teaching your child to code to 3D colouring books that bring their favourite fairytale to life.
The primetime show The Toy Box will explore this as toy inventors from around the globe come in to pitch their toy creations to the kid-like panel. The judges on the panel include child actors Toby Grey and Aalyrah Caldwell as well as Sophia Grace and Noah Ritter (who both found fame on the Ellen show).
The winner will then get the chance to actually make their idea a reality and get support with marketing, design and manufacturing from Mattel. The winning toy design will even be available for purchase, as the first season ends.
“We are thrilled to provide a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the hard work, determination and creativity it takes to run a globally recognised, iconic creations company like Mattel,” said Richard Dickson, president and chief operating officer at Mattel. “I’m positive ‘The Toy Box’ will inspire kids, families and anyone who’s ever dreamt of creating the next great toy!”
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