Entertainment Marketing: Movies, TV, Music and Gaming Lego Barbie

Santa's coming: Toy ads through the years - Barbie, Cabbage Patch Kids, Lego & Furby


By Gillian West, Social media manager

December 24, 2012 | 4 min read

Nothing will take you back to your childhood quicker than the advert for that one toy you wanted more than anything else in the world. With catchy jingles, bright colours, and lots of smiling faces, toy advertisements drive kids wild and parents demented all at the same time.

As children prepare to open Lalaloopsy Rag Dolls and Mike the Knight toys tomorrow morning, we thought we'd take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the best toy ads from the 1950s and beyond.


BarbieAfter watching her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls and giving them adult roles Ruth Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodies doll to her husband Elliot, co-founder of Mattel toy company. Officially launched in 1959 Barbie embodied what little girls dreamed of being when they grew up and is still going strong today.

LEGODesigned in Denmark in the 40s and brought to America in the 60s, LEGO building blocks unlocked the inner engineer in kids the world over. Since the 1960s LEGO has released thousands of themed sets including town and city, space, robots, pirates and trains. And like Barbie is still going strong today.


OperationOriginally made by Milton Bradley Operation has been in production since 1965 and has been testing players' hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills the world over ever since. The aim of the game is to remove the 'patients' organs one by one without hitting the sides and making his nose light up. Wonder how many budding doctors had this on their Christmas lists?


Hungry HipposAnother Milton Bradley classic Hungry Hippos introduced four brightly coloured hippos named Henry, Harry, Homer and Lizzie (who was later replaced by Happy, wonder why?). The aim of the game was to frantically make your hippo eat as many of the games marbles as possible to be deemed the winner.


Cabbage Patch KidsCabbage Patch Kids caused riots in the aisle's of toy stores worldwide during the 1980s. First produced in 1979 by Xavier Roberts and Debbie Morehead under the - slightly creepy - title "Little People", the Cabbage Patch Kids fad peaked in 1984 when the company made millions of dollars and released an album that went Gold and Platinum.

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesThe heroes in a half-shell captured the hearts of 80s kids worldwide. Named after renaissance artists Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael and Donatello, these sewer-dwelling pizza loving turtles battled their way onto the majority of Christmas lists and toy boxes everywhere.


FurbyFrom 1997 to the end of their original production run in 2000 40 million Furby's were sold worldwide. Furby's were one of the first "interactive toys" that developed skills the more they were played with. Furby's spoke entirely in "Furbish", though there was a rumour they would eventually learn English is you played with them long enough (surprisingly no one ever found out). Furby's have since made a return and are one of the most wanted toys of 2012.

Game BoyDespite their initial release being documented as July 1989 the 90s were the peak of the Game Boys fame. The 8-bit handheld console was the first to capture the on-the-move gaming market.Early Game Boys were cumbersome by todays slimline standards and came with a monochrome screen, colour versions were later launched onto the market in the late 90s.


BratzIntroduced in 2001 by MGA Entertainment with the help of a former Mattel executive Bratz were a slow burn but by 2005 had generated $2 billion in worldwide sales. Seen as a cooler alternative to Barbie Bratz had 40 per cent market share in 2006 and were the first doll to seriously threaten Barbie's crown.

Entertainment Marketing: Movies, TV, Music and Gaming Lego Barbie

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