The Psychology Behind The LOL Surprise For Kids! Doll obsession
Isaac Larian, founder and CEO of toy maker MGA Entertainment, is a insomniac. Luckily for him, this inability to sleep forced him to get out of bed one night – a move that ended up being worth it. $ 4 billion.
Larian’s company is the architect of LOL Surprise!, a line of smart vanity dolls. The product, which costs around $ 10 to $ 20, is encased in a ball-shaped plastic shell and buried under layers of packaging, requiring children to tear off a packaging glove before they can see it. Inspiration came from that highly profitable sleepless night, which Larian spent watching unboxing videos on YouTube. This resulted in the first toy designed for a generation wired for delayed gratification.
The dolls went on sale for the first time in test markets in select Target stores at the end of 2016. MGA shipped 500,000, all sold in two months. A Kid-esque Cabbage Patch Frenzy ensued the following year. At the end of 2018, LOL Surprise! (the acronym stands for the Redundant Whimsical Little Outrageous Little) had moved 800 million units, accounted for seven of the top 10 selling toys in the United States, and was appointed Toy of the Year by the Toy Association. The videos of kids and adults unboxing them garner millions of views on YouTube, and that’s precisely where Larian knew his marketing would be most effective.
The dolls themselves are not revolutionary. Once released from their plastic prisons, they stare at their owner with doe-eyed expressions. Some “tinkle” while others change color in the water. They can be dressed up with accessories found in balls or paired with small animals (which must also be “unpacked”). Bigger bundles like last year at $ 89.99 LOL Bigger Surprise! capsule, feature a plethora of items, each individually wrapped. It took a writer to The New York Times 59 minutes to to unveil all inside.
This methodical search is what makes LOL Surprise! so appealing to its pint-sized target audience. Although MGA was told that kids wouldn’t want to buy something they couldn’t see, Larian and his leaders had an instinctive understanding of what experts in child development already knew: Kids love to look forward to. to see things.
Dr Rachel Barr, Director of the Georgetown University Early Learning Project, Told Atlantic that unboxing videos tickle the part of a child’s brain that loves anticipation. By the age of 4 or 5, they have a concept of the “future”, or events that will take place elsewhere than in the present. However, Barr said, they are also concerned that they will be frightened by an unforeseen outcome. In an unboxing video, they know the payout will be positive and not, say, a live tarantula.
LOL Surprise! is designed to extend that joy of anticipation, with kids peeling the wrapper like an onion for up to 20 minutes at a time. The effect isn’t entirely new – baseball card collectors have bought and unwrapped packs of cards without knowing exactly what’s inside for decades – but associated with social media, MGA managed to hit the oil. The Dolls now have 350 licensees who make everything from bed sheets to clothes. Collectors – or their parents – can purchase a $ 199.99 doll house. The so-called “boys’ toys” are now lurking inside the packaging, with one, the Punk Boi, a Mohawk sportsman, making a slight sensation of being what MGA calls “Anatomically correct.” Its tiny plastic genital area facilitates the pee function.
Let it be LOL Surprise! Conventional toy trends bucks and continues its popularity beyond a handful of holiday seasons remains to be seen. Already, MGA is pushing alternative products like Poopsie Slime Surprise, a unicorn who can be fed glitter and poop a slimy green slime. An official unboxing video was viewed 4.2 million time and counting.