This is second of a three part series on adult oriented toys which considers two basic questions: Do adult themed toys belong in the toy department or toy store and if they do how and where should they be merchandised?
At the end of my last post, I noted that one place to look for guidance is the book and Halloween industries. Barnes & Noble, for example, has created a template for how to merchandise adult themed products by segregating adult and child into two departments. Adult games and puzzles are in one area (actually on a different floor) and children’s are in another. In reality, however, this is no different than how book stores have been merchandising for years. The same book store that carries Goodnight Moon in the Children’s book section also carries the Marquis de Sade in Erotica; same store, different departments.
Halloween was at one time a children’s holiday. Sales by today’s standards were modest. Product offerings centered on masks and inexpensive vinyl costumes. That has, of course, changed as Halloween is now a $6 Billion dollar industry that focuses on adults. Visit a Halloween store or
department and you will find a Katy Perry Cup Cake costume under the same roof with Dorothy form the Wizard of Oz. In short, the Halloween industry handles the issue by not handling the
issue. No one seems to mind.
We in the toy industry seem to have more concerns around this issue than either of these industries. Is it our job to “protect” children from seeing adult themed toys or should we be allowing consumers to make their own choices; that in my next posting.