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The Blip Toys Squinkies Crisis Of 2010

Topics: Popular Media | Add A CommentBy admin | November 27, 2010

You probably haven’t even heard of them, but Squinkies are poised to be the Beanie Babies of the twenty-first century. Or at least this year’s Zhu Zhu Pets.

Have you heard about Squinkies? Nor had I, until today. But you can bet you will. After making the Toys “R” Us 2010 “Hot Holiday Toy List” and getting featured in this New York Times piece, Squinkies (say it out loud, it’s perversely addictive) are poised to be this year’s Zhu Zhu Pets. Never mind that they’re essentially just pencil toppers, the toys seem to have the kind of nearly-demonic hold over children that are exposed to them that Pokémon had several years back. But whereas Pokémon was a massive media franchise owned by Nintendo, Squinkies were created by a small company in Minnesota called Blip Toys. I’d like to meet Bill Nichols, the CEO of the company; he’s clearly a product creation and marketing genius. Aside from developing a clever line of products with names like Zubber, Zoom -O and Squinkies that play into long-standing but neglected markets, Nichols’ marketing strategy pulled a page out of the bottom-up manual and rewrote it with less nag marketing. He created early buzz by delivering the product early on to “mommy blogger” sites like DealWiseMommy.net and FairyGoodMommy.com, which got the buzz going before the product was widely available. My bet is that Nichols is destined to become as wealthy as Beanie Baby billionaire Ty Warner if he plays his cards right. And he appears to be playing them right; Squinkies are obviously making a splash, but he’s already had success with products like Nature’s Wonders HD, which won’t let you into its web site without a code from the toy you bought. Almost all the toys Blip has developed not only play into existing niches as we mentioned (Zubber is kind of like Sculpey, Whimzy Pets fit the “My Little Pony” niche), almost all the toys also have an extra level of engagement like the Nature’s Wonders site, and the company seems to have a knack for punchy or phonetically fun names like Hairballs, Pin Print, and the ones we’ve already mentioned. C’mon. Say it. SQUINKIES!!!!! It’s fun and spongy and springy. Like Twinkies. And Slinkys. And that’s one example of what’s cool about what Blip is doing; they’re not paying a branding consultancy for these names, Nichols apparently just comes up with them. For extra agony, check out the commercial below. The jingle totally earwormed me. It sounds sort of like if the chick from The Flying Lizards joined a J-Pop band and got hired to do a video game soundtrack. I imagine they’re already working on film, television, and sportswear rights.