If you thought the recent #AlexfromTarget social storm triggered by teen fangirls was over the top, get ready for selfie-snapping newborns. New social toys from the Netherlands called New Born Fame let babies post to Instagram and tweet from the crib. The fuzzy-wuzzy GPS and camera-loaded toys also let babies take selfies and automatically upload them to Facebook (FB).
On the heels of Huggies TweetPee, which allowed babies to tell their parents via Twitter (TWTR) when their diaper is wet, comes this next step in recording every moment of our lives. Did baby turn over? Babble her first da-da? No worries, no one will miss it. Not mom, dad, grandma, or the billions of people on the Internets.
As babies are too young to use laptops or smartphones, Netherlands grad student Laura Cornet developed a crib mobile with soft toys dangling down in an infant-engaging way. Each of the toys interacts with the baby's social profiles, which are created and synched by parents. Isn't that birdie cute? Pull on it and baby tweets! Pull on the Facebook logo and baby updates his status along with his current location (3:13 a.m., Crib, left corner). Pull on the toy that looks like a camera and an up-close-and-personal video is taken and lands on Instagram.
Internet-famous by 3 months? What a concept. Design innovator Cornet came up with the idea to encourage parents to start thinking about what they post about their children online. All of which is obviously done without baby's consent. This new generation will have an Internet footprint before they can walk. Apply to an elite kindergarten? Oh-oh, those drooly selfies could block that acceptance. Star in the middle school play? Too many potty-shots online. Eventually, prospective employers may have a digital record of their potential employees diapers and drool.
And while Cornet developed all this in the name of social research, for marketers this is truly the proverbial cradle-to-grave strategy. Does baby have flushed cheeks? Better send that Amazon drone over with some Pedialyte and flu medication. Look how cute baby looks in pink!
The 7 Hot Toys Your Kids Will Want for Christmas This Year
Soon, Baby Can Have an Internet Footprint Before She Walks
The Apple Watch doesn't come out until 2015, and it's going to cost you at least $350. The VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch is out now and only costs $60. It's clear which smartwatch is going to wind up dominating the market.
Fun idea: When you give this to your kid, perform Christopher Walken's monologue from "Pulp Fiction."
When Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird wrote a comic book in the mid-'80 about giant mutated turtles who were also teenage ninjas, they probably didn't think they were launching a multimedia franchise that would still be selling movies and toys 30 years later. But here we are in 2014, and the turtles are coming off a blockbuster movie -- and they're once again expected to be a top-selling Christmas toy.
Toys R Us thinks your kids will want this "Stretch 'N' Shout Leonardo," which takes the Turtles' stoic, katana-wielding leader and gives him the ability to. .. stretch his arms and scream really loud? OK. Meanwhile, Kmart has the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lil' Dune Racer, which is basically just a powered kid's bike with some Ninja Turtle stickers slapped on. It costs $162 and has a top speed of 3.5 mph.
Really, these are some weak offerings on the Ninja Turtles front. When I was a kid, I had a little tank that launched pizza discs. Now that was a toy.
Here's another late-'80s/early-'90s toy franchise that's seeing a second life thanks to Michael Bay. The "Transformers" movie franchise is now in its fourth film, swapping out America's Sidekick Shia Laboeuf for America's Knucklehead Drinking Buddy Mark Wahlberg. But more importantly, the fourth film finally got around to introducing Grimlock ("me Grimlock!"), the Transformers' truculent dinosaur robot.
We've got two Tranformers: Grimlock! toys appearing on this year's lists. Toy R Us has the Stomp and Chomp Grimlock ($70), which transforms between dinosaur and robot and comes with a bonus Optimus Prime toy to ride Grimlock into battle. Kmart's Grimlock toy is only $20, but you get what you pay for: It's just Grimlock in robot form, with a button that lets it make some noises. What good is a Dinobot that can't transform into dinosaur form? If you get this for your son, he'll spend three minutes trying to get it to turn into a dinosaur and then throw it aside.
Doc McStuffins –- who, you may recall, provides medical care to stuffed animals –- appeared on the list last year, with a tricked-out check-up center. But this year the good doctor is really stepping up her game, making house calls with the Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Mobile Cart, basically a pull-along ambulance ($50). It comes with a siren, an EKG machine, a gurney and even a little ladder (I guess to rescue stuffed animals trapped in tiny burning buildings).
Next time someone trots out that tired old "It's the future, where's my flying car?" line, show them this $55 flying Hot Wheels Street Hawk Remote Control Flying Car. Or better yet, buzz them with it like Maverick from "Top Gun" doing control tower fly-by while screaming "Is this futuristic enough for you?!"
The Zoomer Dino appears on all three retailers' lists, so it looks like it will be one of the season's most in-demand toys. It also sounds like it will be completely awesome:
"Boomer can detect when you're nearby and interacting with him. But watch out! Just like a real Dino he can get angry, spin around, chomp and roar! Using True Balance Technology, Boomer perfectly balances on two wheels as he roams freely, exploring your home. ... He might even let out dino-sized burps and farts!"
So imagine the T-Rex from Jurassic Park, only he's wearing roller skates, and also he's burping and farting all over the place. It's $100, and I just ordered it.
This is the one.
The only other toy to appear on all three lists, the Snow Glow Elsa Doll (from the hit Disney movie "Frozen") is already looking like this year's Tickle-Me Elmo. At Walmart, it sold out online while I was writing this article. Kmart says it won't have it in stock until Oct. 30. Toys R Us still has it in stock, but it's already set a limit of five per customer.
All this in September.
If someone winds up getting pepper-sprayed at a toy store this December, you can bet that it will be over this doll. It lights up and sings "Let It Go" -- and your kid probably wants it. You can hunt it down now and pay $35, or wait until December and pay $200 on eBay (EBAY).