Does it still make sense to use cartoons to sell toys to kids?

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The Overlord

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Does it still make sense to use cartoons to sell toys to kids? Do kids even play with action figures that much anymore or do they just play with their iphones all the time? I wonder if over time the content of the shows themselves is more important then any toy line they be pushing, because action figures seems like they are less and less relevant to kids today, at least from some articles I found:

Children play with touchscreens more than traditional toys, researchers find | Daily Mail Online

Children Don't Want Toys For Christmas Anymore

Lights, camera but no action figures: are movie toys going out of fashion?

Now I am going to say, I do think some of these cartoons could still make some money on toys, but I do not think you can have a cartoon live or die on toy sales anymore, because kids would play less with traditional toys then past generations of kids. That would be a self defeating prospect at this point and really even with toy based franchises like Voltron or She-Ra they can make the most money through streaming rights, which is why they end up on Netflix nowadays.
 
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Frontier

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I'm not sure as much about the effectiveness of cartoons at selling toys in this day and age, but it still seems like a lot of cartoons these days still get commissioned with the idea of them selling toys to kids.

Whether that is folly in light of kids moving away from traditional toys and action figures, we probably would not have seen these cartoons even created if not for their ability to possibly sell toys.
 

SourSweetGone

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If the show is good people will buy the merch. So yea. For better or worse toys & merchandise are still part of what keeps some series alive.
 
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The Overlord

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That would require the entire children's television industry to adjust their business model. Not gonna happen.
I wonder if technology will force this change eventually, I think kids will be more likely to spend more time with iphones over action figures and I do not think that trend will reverse, I think kids will be less interested in action figures over the time.
 

Fone Bone

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I wonder if technology will force this change eventually, I think kids will be more likely to spend more time with iphones over action figures and I do not think that trend will reverse, I think kids will be less interested in action figures over the time.
If it does change it will probably happen 20 years too late. Hollywood and television is always VERY slow to respond to cultural changes by altering the business model. I mean, pretty much they are eventually going to have to, but networks only think of things in the short-term, so this will still be the model a long while.
 

SourSweetGone

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Another thing of note is even despite the closure of TRU toy sales are up 7% in 2018.
 

Red Arrow

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Born in 1997. No one I know has ever bought an action figure. We bought lots of merchandise but no action figures.

The word itself reminds me of American adults rather than children. Probably because of The Big Bang Theory.
 

jaylop97

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Depends on the kids, in some cases they really would play with toys, usually the type that appeals to them. Not every kid is going to want to play with toys and not every toy will sell well either, it's usually dependent on what might interest them.
 

Zorak Masaki

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Lego is still a pretty massively popular toyline, and they've done well with their animated shows (both the ones based off licensed stuf like the Star Wars and DC ones and the ones with original characters lIke Ninjago and Unikitty).
 

Dr.Pepper

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I work with kids and I know several who like to play with toys. Beyblades were very popular, or at least they were last school year. I don’t know if this is just because access to tablets and video games are limited at school or they are genuinely into it.
 

SourSweetGone

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Lego is still a pretty massively popular toyline, and they've done well with their animated shows (both the ones based off licensed stuf like the Star Wars and DC ones and the ones with original characters lIke Ninjago and Unikitty).
This. Sure not every toy based show will be a big hit, but for companies like LEGO or Hasbro there is a good chance they shows & toys will work well off one another.

Speaking of which I think the first Unikitty DVD comes out tomorrow.
 

Dudley

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Yes, it’s still effective. Plenty of anime is still being made to sell toys, and not just action figures. Mattel’s got a new Polly Pocket cartoon out, Hasbro is still making shows based off their IP, and have no plans to stop. Some of their shows now get made for YouTube and Netflix. There are webtoons based off Shopkins, Fingerlings, and OmNom on YouTube.
They also make cartoons based off of mobile games, like Angry Birds and Talking Tom.
So, to reiterate, yes they’re effective. At the very least it all adds to the IP as additional revenue streams and allow to expand the licensing of the property into other products like t-shirts and plushies.


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SG-17

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I don't remember the last time I saw merchandise for a cartoon that wasn't preschool or nostalgia. Maybe Ben 10, but nothing else.
 

SourSweetGone

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I don't remember the last time I saw merchandise for a cartoon that wasn't preschool or nostalgia. Maybe Ben 10, but nothing else.
They had Adventure Time toys. You can buy Steven Universe, Five Nights At Freddy's and Rick & Morty merch at Wal-Mart and Target. Teen Titans Go! has some Target exclusive stuff. There were JL Action toys, the Unikitty LEGO sets, etc.
 

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