Last week, I got a press release about a partnership between youth marketing agency Mr. Youth and Bandai America to promote three of the main characters from Bandai’s Tamagotchi brand through a touring experiential marketing effort. For those of you that weren’t kids or didn’t have them in 1997 when they were introduced, these little egg-shaped computerized toys were designed to be like the real eggs you had to take care of for a week in high school sex ed classes. You have to feed them and look after them like a living thing or they die. Forty million of the toys have been sold, but I haven’t heard much about them since middle school.
So, is it a little late to try and generate brand awareness? According to Colleen Sherfey, the director of marketing for Bandai, the toys were relaunched in 2004 to widen the appeal to boys. They also want to generate excitement from their 1990’s early adopter fans. When dealing with kids and tweens, what’s the expiration date on a rebranding effort? And what toy can compete with video games, the pastime of choice for most youth today? Experts, please weigh in.