How Walmart helped a robotic monkey become the hottest toy this holiday season
- Fingerlings are the hot toy this holiday season, and they're selling out faster than retailers can keep them in stock.
- The head of toys for Walmart convinced the Fingerlings' creator, Wowwee, to sell them for a lower price.
- Wowwee advertised them on YouTube, sensing that commercials on kids' TV networks wouldn't cut it.
Fingerlings are the hottest toy this holiday season.
The robotic monkey that can interact with children, sing, and fart has become the must-have item. It's on every holiday toy list and is selling out faster than retailers can restock it. Wowwee is now shipping them from China into the US by air because boats were taking too long, according to a New York Times report.
25 hottest toys of 2017, according to Walmart:
How did the toy, which was only released this past August, rocket to the to the top of the holiday food chain? Its creator employed two important strategies, both old and new.
When Wowwee first approached retailers to sell the toy, they originally wanted to set the price at $20 a monkey, according to The Times. Walmart's VP of toys, Anne Marie Kehoe, said that was a little too high, and if Wowwee set the price at $15, the retailer would buy more of them — ten times more, in fact.
Wowwee relented, and Fingerlings went on to grace Walmart's top-toys list after being chosen by kids at the retailer's annual showcase.
But no one would buy the toys without getting the chance to learn about them. For that, Wowwee turned not to the kid-friendly TV networks, but to YouTube and Facebook.
In an unexpected marketing coup, a video a father took of his seven-year-old daughter sobbing after finding a Fingerling in a Target store went viral soon after launch. Wowwee then sent the toys to influential YouTube stars who are popular among the toy's targeted demographic, according to The Times.
From there, the toy's popularity ballooned, and Wowwee was able to reduce its marketing and focus on getting the toys to stores.
- Green Monday is secretly one of the biggest days for the retail industry — but it could die soon
- 'Grinch bots' are apparently 'stealing' hot toys and jacking up the prices
- Target says these are the 29 toys every kid will want this holiday