- Mattel's Fisher-Price toy brand is celebrating its 90th anniversary by opening a virtual toy museum on Instagram. The Fisher-Price Toy Museum features more than 100 exhibits organized around the nine decades of its business, a press release announced.
- The museum is linked to a virtual gift shop that sells limited-edition apparel, accessories and housewares from Mattel's e-commerce site. Products include a Doctor Doodle oversized T-shirt, Space Blazer socks, shoelaces showing Fisher-Price roller skates and a lunchbox with its vintage Little People characters.
- As the holiday shopping season approaches, Fisher-Price is looking to reach consumers with a virtual experience that keys into nostalgia for its iconic toys that have been favorites of multiple generations of consumers.
Fisher-Price is encouraging people to take a trip down memory lane with its virtual toy museum, which opens as the holiday shopping season starts to ramp up and many consumers begin to ponder what gifts to buy for kids. With retail operations continuing to be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, social media and e-commerce will be more critical channels for companies like Mattel this year.
The toymaker can potentially engage younger adults who are heavy users of social media, especially millennials that have reached the age of starting families. As of 2018, about 19 million millennial women in the U.S. had given birth to a child, or more than half (55%) the demographic group, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of population data. Fisher-Price is most likely to reach that set of young parents with the virtual museum content. At the same time, the campaign's heavy focus on nostalgia, stretching back nine decades in Fisher-Price's history, could win over older shoppers as well.
With many families stuck at home during the pandemic, parents have increasingly sought to keep their kids entertained with toys, board games, puzzles and other indoor activities. Toy industry sales expanded 16% in the first half of 2020 from the prior year, researcher NPD Group found in a tracking study. The growth trend is likely to continue into the holiday shopping season as people seek online deals, CNN Business reported.
Fisher-Price's virtual toy museum aims to evoke memories of childhood, with nostalgia becoming a more common theme in brand campaigns of the past few years. The tactic has become even more pronounced this year given the uncertainties of the pandemic, higher unemployment and social unrest. With many people seeking comfort in brands that they used to love as children, marketers are either bringing back those products or running campaigns that hearken back to an earlier era.
The virtual exhibits show artistic renderings of Fisher-Price's toys throughout the decades, including the Snoopy Sniffer wooden dog launched in 1938, roller skates from 1983 and the Soothe & Glow Seahorse from 2008. The museum also demonstrates toys such as its cassette player from 1981 and its Bubble Mower from 1983 in animated clips.
Among the more recent examples of nostalgia-themed marketing, General Mills last month promoted the return of former recipes for popular cereals with a live event featuring Saturday morning cartoons from the early 1980s. Streaming platform Hulu ran an audio campaign on Pandora's retro music stations to promote season two of its comedy series "PEN15," which is set in the early 2000s as the millennial generation was coming of age. Before that, beer brand Miller Lite collaborated with booking site Hotels.com to rent out a 1975-themed Miller Timeshare.