Toys with names: Personalities that own the world of play

Toys with names: Personalities that own the world of play

The world of toys and children’s play things is a strange one. Fashions and trends come and go at an alarming rate. Last year’s loom bands are this year’s fidget spinners and tomorrow’s unicorns. Children are fickle, and they can be very demanding. But there are also toys that have stayed the distance. Toys that have transcended the space of traditional branding and moved into the space of becoming actual personalities. So, while something like Lego or the common yoyo are both toys that are immediately identifiable, they still don’t have names and personalities of their own. Well who does? We are here to unpack the toy box, as it were, and to introduce to you some of the most famous names in the world of toys.

Not just a pretty name

It takes a lot of units to be sold for a teething toy for toddlers to not only be given a name, but for that name to be instantly recognisable around the world. We are of course talking about the mega-celebrity that is Sophie giraffe. Made from rubber, easy to hold and with a nice long neck that is great for toddlers to chew on as their teeth emerge, Sophie has taken the world by storm and is now easy to find in most kids shops or online. Look out for her, she is hard to miss.

Let’s go party

She is so famous that dodgy dance band Aqua even made a song about her. Crazy curves, seemingly uncontrollable hair and a perfect date for Ken. We are of course talking about Barbie, the doll that has outsold all other dolls and which is still popular today. Sales of Barbie have slowed over the last five years as online purchases and games have started to impact on the market, but even today there are very few girls or young women who won’t know who Barbie is – or have one of their own. What makes barbie even more of a superstar is that she has achieved her success without television or cinema back-up.

TV stars

Television has a unique ability to take toys and turn them into superstars. Sometimes the toys start out as books, sometimes they start on television and sometimes they are toys in their own right who manage to spawn a film or television series. But the reality is that once on television and beamed into lounges around the world, your average trains, builders, ballerinas or dinosaurs all move very quickly into the household name status. We are talking of course about stars like Thomas the tank Engine, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina and Barney. These are all available as toys at your nearest toy shop – you only need to walk to the counter and mention the name barney to have the sales assistant bringing you something big ad purple and cuddly.

The cube

One of the most popular kids toys of the last thirty years bears the name of its Hungarian inventor Erno Rubik. It is Rubik’s cube, that horribly frustrating torture device that for so many people are almost impossible to complete. Born in 1944 and still going strong, Mr Rubik will surely be remembered long after his death after his decision to name the cube after himself.

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