Smurfette and Miss Piggy Adult Cosmetics Are Hot; Where’s Barbie?

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Why does the toy industry market itself as a kid’s brand when there is so much potential among adults?  After all, we know that adults love to play and they love toys.  That thought hit me hard when I read the lead sentence in the Kansas City Star article, “Tablet and E-Reader Sales Soar:” “There was no must-have toy of Christmas 2011 — for youngsters, anyway. For adults, tablet computers and e-readers were the gifts of choice.”

Mac-hello-kitty-products-closed-whiteThe writer, Julie Bosman, is obviously having a little fun by calling these products toys but the reality is that…they are!  And because they are, the toy industry should be competing with them for how adults spend their money on play.

Just to show you one example of adults at play, consider a great New York Times article by Andrew Arterbery entitled “We’re Having Fun!”  Arterbery writes about a growing market in cartoon themed cosmetics for adult women.  It seems that Hello Kitty, Wonder Woman, Smurfette and Miss Piggy all have their own signature lines of cosmetics.

And adults are having fun: There is “a limited-edition Black Noir Hello Kitty eye shadow palette on Instagram” that can be found at Sephora.  There are also oversized tubes of Wonder Woman bright red lipstick and even “a Venomous Villains … (featuring some evil Disney characters like Cruella De Vil).”

MAC-Wonder-Woman-Collection-11Part of the appeal is definitely pulling out a Wonder Woman lipstick to create some very red lips.  The bigger picture, however,  appears to be that women like the colors and the image they associate with the products.  Steve Stoute, the CEO of the advertising firm Translation has this to say:  ““I think that anytime you find a way to incorporate the essence and glamour of the beauty business, but also find a way to touch a woman and make her still feel like a girl, is beautiful, …It creates a healthy tangent between a little girl and a sophisticated woman.”

Most importantly, it extends the brand out of childhood and into adult life.  It makes you wonder what Mattel is planning for Barbie and MGA for Bratz.  What a great way to build brand equity and sales.






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