Toy Makers Pledge to Create Outstanding Products

Put up your right hand and repeat after me: “I will make no bad toys. I will endeavor to create products with great value to the consumer and user. I will devote my efforts to developing toys and children's products that excite, delight, and entertain. So help me Santa!” 

Our goal, and my personal mission, is to create great products that inspire and entertain. We strive for products that deliver great value to the consumer for the hard-earned money spent.      

When I hear people complain about toys and the toy industry I wince. There are many great toys on the market now and many great new toys introduced each year. No other industry delivers so much innovation so quickly and at such value for the money spent as the toy industry.            

But we as an industry are sometimes guilty of foisting crap on the marketplace, as well. We all suffer when bad toys are TV promoted and flooding the toy store shelves. I am not talking about cheaply made Hong Kong junk toys, but rather toys made and promoted by US-born-and-bred toy companies.            

F-grade I was reading some toy reviews today and was shocked at what some consumers had to say. I was also shocked that a company we know and work with would deliver such drek to the toy store shelves.

An excerpt: “There are lots of little pieces you have to wash, and it can only make 2 (thing-a-ma-jigs) at a time. The (whateveryoucallits) looked and tasted DISGUSTING and we just threw them out. This is a huge waste of money.”  

And another: “Oh, my . . . this was the most disgusting toy we have ever experienced. The mix SMELLS horrible, it reminded us of urine, no joke. It was so bad, we could not possibly let our children consume the finished product. Not to mention, the whole process . . . is difficult for adults, forget about the kids being able to master it . . . we paid over $20 for the 'privilege' of making 6 smelly (whose-a-ma-whatzits). What a rip off, I would not recommend this product to anyone, please pass this one up! What a disappointment.”  

I still recall getting my very special Ideal rocket launcher for Christmas one year, and after playing with it a few times my heart sunk. This toy I had wanted for so long was such a disappointment. This was my big Christmas gift! It launched a spring-loaded rocket. That was it. I had been duped.  

You, me, all of us suffer when such products fill the store shelves, are promoted on TV, and ruin a child’s special day. It makes people think all toys are junk. And we know that is not true. Our industry creates great products, and too few people know that.   

The toy industry can do better than this. We should take a pledge to do better than this. Every toy company, every ad agency, every inventor and toy designer should make a pledge, just like physicians' Hippocratic oath “to do no harm.” 

3 thoughts

  1. Bruce, I don’t remember ever meeting inventors who didn’t live by this pledge. Of course, I try to see the best in people. But if you consider it from product development’s side, there are so many hurdles. It is an amazing task to champion a product from the fantastic idea you’ve licensed from the inventor to the item on the store shelf. Everybody wants to change it, starting with upper management and sales. When cost and safety start to weigh in… and manufacturing constraints…
    I really think that most the time that’s where these products get messed up.
    ps. your presentation of ‘Meat’ to my vegetarian colleague M. Laing remains one of my fondest Toy Fair memories

  2. Amen Bruce!!!
    I plan to write about this very issue myself. We are in the business of delivering play value. With all the emphasis on the sizzle represented by a hook or feature designed to create “desire,” and not nearly enough emphasis on delivering play value, consumers toss many toys aside as soon as the novelty wears off. No wonder parents think toys are not worth the money. People scratch their heads and ask why Lego gets away with “charging so much” for their products. I have a two word answer: PLAY VALUE!
    I will take your oath, so help me Santa!
    See you in Dallas!
    Nancy Zwiers

  3. I respectfully disagree, I think you should replace the word entertain with engage. The children of this next generation need to learn how to be creative to solve the problems of the future. You could also add to that pledge we will make products that are educational and made in a sustainable way.

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