Dora the Hispanic Explorer; toy industry trends or the lack thereof


6a0133ec87bd6d970b0133f349e4c7970b-320wi Here is what puzzles me.  Dora the Explorer after 10 years of being on television is one of the most popular shows in the world.  Her cousin Diego pulls in a ton of viewers as well.  Their faces adorn toys in just about every department.

Yet, there is really no other authentic Hispanic characters being succesfully promoted by any other media or Toy Company.   Why is that?  One reason that surfaces is that American toy marketing is based upon a national view of the marketplace.  We are not geared as an industry to marketing around the local.

6a0133ec87bd6d970b0134866e1eb9970c-320wiThe Hispanic population is the fastest growing population in the United  States, the show is a huge hit but based upon what shows up on the shelves, there seems to be little recognition of that reality in the toy industry.  Simply put, the face of America is changing but where are the cartoon and toy faces to match that face?

 Let me be very clear.  Dora and Diego are not popular just because they are Hispanic.  They are popular because they have excellent story lines and appeal to both parents and children.  What that proves, however, is that having a character of color is certainly not an impediment to success.  In fact, it may enhance success by reaching out beyond the boundaries of the majority culture and capturing new viewers.

Betting on the Hispanic market is like having a portfolio that includes some “futures.”  The opportunity is there for those who are willing to take it. 

6 thoughts

  1. I’ve been asking myself the same question. My store was focused on bilingual toys. However, it seems than we can not offer more variety due to the reason you just mention on your post. It’s frustating not to have much to offer to the hispanic community.

  2. Just wanted to say that you have some awesome content on your website. If it’s OK I would like to use some of the information you provided on my webiste. If I link back to your website would it be OK to do so?

  3. Hi Richard,
    I just wanted to say that we [Hip Venture Co.] are building a company based specifically on what you have laid out here.
    Specifically, we are going after the “post-preschool” late-tween and teen market segment with bicultural and bilingual brands and games that will exist everywhere they are.
    The brands mentioned in your article and by the commenter, as well as Maya & Miguel, El Tigre and others are all targeted to the very young and mostly preschool market. Collectively they are what we see as a massive pre-marketing for the brands we’re developing.
    We have four titles that we are currently developing…
    The first is HipChicas; five characters in a band that travel from city to city to ‘Help Improve the Planet” – HIP.
    Others that will follow are the Homies, Hacienda and Mijos. Stay tuned, because we will be coming soon!
    Lazaro Fuentes
    Hip Venture Co.

  4. Also there is Baby Abuelita. A brand that is really out in front with a line of dolls, books and animated videos that are perceived as more authentic by Hispanic consumers. I love that they have used Grandparent characters to draw in adults of all ages as well as children. Now that’s reaching beyond the boundaries!

  5. You forgot about Handy Manny, My boys both love him. Buzz Lightyear goes Spanish too in the new Toy Story. Maybe the toy companies are finally catching up.

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