Top 5 Toy Launches of 2012 From Toy Expert Dan Nessel

October 17, 2012

It’s been a big year for toys with re-imagined classics and tablet technology trickling down to the playroom. We turned to toy reviewer Dan Nessel of DadDoes.com for his picks for the Most Memorable New Product Launches in the toy category this year.

 

Wii U by Nintendo

Nintendo is looking to shake up the video game industry with the Nintendo Wii U.  Rather than compete with the PS3 and Xbox 360 on purely power and graphics, the Wii U introduces a whole new way to play.  Every Wii U will come with a GamePad controller, basically a tablet that works with the Wii U.  The GamePad introduces a second screen and changes the way video games are played.

Nintendo has held a number of Wii U Experience events for the press and video game lovers to create a buzz around the system and it looks to be working.   Within days of the announcement that the Wii would be available on November 18th,  stores such as Target, Best Buy and Toys R Us had stopped taking pre-orders due to high demand.

Furby By Hasbro

Furby is back!  While it is unlikely the new Furby will match the craziness that surrounded the original Furby in 1998, Furby is still looking to be a hot toy for the 2012 holiday season.   The new Furby has new features to make him/her more interactive and you can now use an iPhone/iPad App to play with Furby.

Hasbro has done a big social media push for Furby and retailers are expecting high demand.   Furby has already been named to the Toys R Us, Walmart and Kmart Top Toy lists.

Razor Flash Rider 360

Razor puts a spin on the classic 3 wheel trike…literally.  The Flash Rider 360 turns and drifts on dual inclined caster wheels, so kids can easily do full 360 spins.  In addition to the spinning fun, The Flash Rider 360 has a Spark Bar, so now kids can spin and spark.

The Razor Flash Rider 360 was a hit at the 2012 International Toy Fair in NYC and was featured on ABC’s The View.  In addition, The Flash Rider 360 was named a Most Wanted Toy by Time To Play.

LeapPad 2 by Leap Frog

The original LeapPad was a hit and all indications are that the LeapPad 2 will be even more popular with technology loving kids.  At its June 2012 release, the LeapPad 2 sold more units in two days than the LeapPad 1 did in a week.

The LeapPad 2, is the next generation of the #1 kid’s learning tablet (LeapPad1), bringing  higher performance, new features and an extensive library filled with learning and creative content.

The LeapPad2 is a quality product with strong marketing and positive word of mouth recommendations behind it and was recently named to the Toys R Us, Walmart and Kmart Top Holiday Toy lists.

Air Hogs Hover Assault (Spin Master)

A hot trend this year is remote control (R/C) toys that do more than just drive or fly.   Air Hogs has created the ultimate R/C toy for boys – the Air Hogs Hover Assault.  The Hover Assault is a car that you can drive, but with the press of a button the car takes off and becomes a flying car.  It gets even better, press another button on the remote and fire missiles from your flying car.

Air Hogs has created buzz for the Hover Assault with a number of commercial spots, online videos and via social media.  Air Hogs Hover Assault was named to both the Walmart Top 20 Holiday Toy List and the Kmart Fab 15 Holiday Toy list.

What do you think of Dan’s picks? Check back for more expert product selections, and for the results of the Most Memorable New Product Launch survey coming later this year.


Our Expert Picks The Top Five Tech Products of 2012

September 28, 2012

MMNPL’s Technology Expert Curtis Silver has more than experience when it comes to technology. Silver has written and worked for Wired.com, Gunnar Optiks, Technorati.com, and Digital Dads (writer of the 2nd best NFL column on the internet). Check out what our expert expects to be the most memorable tech products this year!

1. WiiU – What needs to be said about the first next generation system to be released by the big three? While Playstation and Xbox are still refining their next devices, Nintendo is first to the game – just in time for Christmas. With a handheld and portable controller, updating to HD and integrating more social factors, the WiiU is sure to be a huge hit.

2. Nokia Lumia 920 – This is the last chance for a Windows phone to grab enough market share to keep making Windows phones. The Lumia 920 is probably the sleekest, fastest mobile device that carries the Windows operating system. This is a nice phone. Easy to use, intuitive and streamlined. But is a multitude of colors enough to compete with Android and iOS? You are going to see more of these on the street in the coming months, as people realize that the fair market of operating systems makes for a stronger little guy.

3. iPhone 5 – I’m not a fan of the iPhone, but certainly of what it represents. While the iPhone is no more spectacular than the Samsung Galaxy III or the Motorola Razr, Apple still is able to not only innovate in their design and operating system, but easily profit while doing so. Love or hate Apple, their contribution to the hipster lifestyle can’t be ignored.

4. Origin PC Eon Laptops – Origin, a company made up of the former brains behind Alienware, is quickly becoming one of the elite manufacturers of high end gaming computers. Their EON line of gaming laptops include 3D options and amazing graphics and sound. Next time you go to PAX, E3 or CES check out how many gaming rigs are Origin PC’s. The Origin EON is going to bring Origin into the arena dominated by companies like Dell, and eventually push them out. Bottom line: if you are a gamer, you want an Origin.

5. Makerbot Replicator – An open source 3D printer? Yes please. This represents the future of so many independent industries, from animation to architecture and beyond. While the process still needs some refinement, this printer is the first step in a fairly new technology that is going to redefine how we mold and view the world.

Which do you think will be the most memorable? Let us know you expert opinion!


Launch of the Week: Starbucks Refreshers

August 27, 2012

Starbucks has brewed up a new alternative to coffee or sugary energy drinks- Starbucks Refreshers. Made with green coffee extract, can these beverages give consumers the light afternoon buzz they crave? And will they be one of 2012’s Most Memorable New Product Launches?


MMNPL Stats on Consumer Commercial Enjoyment Featured in USA Today Snapshot

January 25, 2012

USA Today featured data from Schneider Associates‘ and Sentient Decision Science‘s 2011 Most Memorable New Product Launch survey in a snapshot on the front page of the Life section on January 24th. The data showed that television viewers enjoy commercials more than online viewers, but also that the majority of consumers polled enjoy watching commercials at least sometimes.


Expert Panelist Phil Lempert of Supermarket Guru

November 16, 2011

With thousands of new food and beverage launches each year, new consumer packaged goods enter an extremely competitive market where it’s difficult to create a memorable impact on passive consumers. One of the recurring trends that we are finding in the CPG industry is using to catch consumer’s attention is the promise of simplification and convenience.

Food marketing expert Phil Lempert, the force behind SupermarketGuru.com, is a pioneer in news information media, specializing in consumer behavior. Here, he offers up his top five nominations for the 2011 MMNPL survey.

Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast

With five new microwavable breakfast foods (pancakes, waffles, entrées, sandwiches and French toast), Aunt Jemima is providing consumers with simple solutions for busy weekday mornings from a brand they already know and associate with a tasty breakfast. Calling on the slogan “Just Add Warmth,” these homemade tasting items can be prepared in just minutes using a toaster or microwave.

David’s Jumbo Sunflower Seeds

America’s favorite in-shell sunflower seeds are delicious and fun to eat anytime, anywhere, but the launch of their Jumbo Seeds is accompanied by a variety of new flavors, including Bar-B-Q, Ranch, and Chili Lime. It also exhibits new, portable packaging for convenient on-the-go enjoyment!

Dole Mixed Fruit Bowls

While most other fruit bowls contain fruit in syrup or other artificial sweeteners, Dole’s Mixed Fruit Bowls offer a healthier option, with all-natural fruit in 100% fruit juice. Awarded the 2011 Chefs Best Award for Best Taste, Dole’s Fruit Bowls are the perfect choice for a quick, healthy snack at home, in the office, or on-the-go.

Orville Redenbacher Pop up Bowl

The unique design of Orville Redenbacher’s Pop up Bowl demonstrates innovation at its finest: a microwave popcorn bag that opens on the side and morphs into a perfect popcorn bowl. By cutting out a buttery bag that only causes a greasy mess, this product has addressed the strong consumer need for convenience and simplification, ultimately revolutionizing your typical popcorn-eating experience.

Velveeta Cheesy Skillets

To address hectic family schedules during the back-to-school season, Kraft launched a new line of just-add-meat dinner kits that grant parents convenience and ease in the kitchen, allowing them to whip up a non-microwavable meal in no time. It solves the problem of wanting a home cooked meal, but not having a lot of time to prepare it. A pouch of Velveeta to mix in the meal is easier than mixing in powder, milk and butter, making this a quicker and easier option over other boxed meal kits.



Expert Panelist Domenick Celentano Nominates Products for 2011 MMNPL Survey

November 3, 2011

Thousands of new products are launched every year. While some products fail, others prove to be memorable launches. Domenick Celentano, author of the food and beverage guide for About.com and The Foodpreneur blog, offers his picks * for the most memorable new product launches of the year (product choices by Celentano, summaries compiled by the MMNPL staff).

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Sandwich Bread

This past year, Pepperidge Farm introduced the bread that smiles back. Available in three varieties, this bread does not contain high fructose corn syrup and boasts 3 grams of fiber per serving for only 120 calories. The bread is completely crust-free, ensuring that the pickiest eaters will have no reason to dislike it. This product created a lot of buzz through word of mouth marketing.
Kids loved the fun shape of the bread while busy mothers loved that their kids were eating healthy.  

 

Frito Lay All Natural Chips

Frito Lay introduced more than six dozen products made with all natural ingredients. The transition from processed to wholesome snack options is a result of rising health-consciousness among consumers. Promoting the “real ingredients” made by “real people” were key messages in this successful launch. Instead of using paid actors in their commercials, Frito Lay made a smart decision to use their employees, allowing consumers to get to know the real people behind the brand.

 

Triple Double Oreo

Oreo has literally taken this iconic brand to the next level.  With the introduction of the Triple Double Oreo, fans of the original cookie can now indulge in the new product, which includes one layer of original crème stuffing and one layer of chocolate stuffing sandwiched between three cookie wafers.  Oreo was smart to cash in on two important food trends– flavor layering and affordable indulgence. Consumers created a buzz online months before the Triple Double Oreo was released, proving once again that word of mouth is a powerful boost to marketing programs and sales. 

 

Bertolli® Premium Meal Soups for Two

Bertolli is bringing restaurant-style food home to you.  In partnership with Fabio Viviani, acclaimed Italian chef, restaurant owner and Top Chef contestant, Bertolli has released a line of soups based on Italian restaurant cooking.  Bertolli Premium Meal Soups for Two are available in four different varieties. The traditional, hearty Italian soups are used for the main course rather than a side dish or appetizer.   Bertolli also positioned this new soup meal as a healthy, affordable option for dinner during the recession. 

 

Amazon Kindle Fire

Since the announcement from Amazon in September, consumers have been waiting for the release of this new tablet.  The Amazon Kindle Fire allows users to watch movies and TV shows, purchase apps, play games, and surf the internet, all while still reading the eBooks they love on their Kindle.  The color touch screen, features and lower price point are why the Kindle Fire is a new and potentially fierce competitor to the iPad and other tablets.

 

Ben & Jerry’s Introduces ‘Schweddy Balls’ Ice Cream

Fans of the popular late-night TV show Saturday Night Live are giddy over Ben and Jerry’s new limited time flavor, “Schweddy Balls.”
In celebration of the 37th season of SNL, Ben and Jerry’s decided to create an ice cream flavor after one of the famous SNL skits starring Alec Baldwin.  The flavor consists of “vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and is loaded with fudge covered rum balls and milk chocolate malt balls.” The release of this ice cream flavor in September created quite the buzz through both word of mouth and the media.  This ice cream was talked by main stream media for about a week shortly after it was released, and then again in October when parent groups called for it to be removed from store shelves. Schweddy Balls may not be on the market for long, but many people are sure to remember the launch of this delicious product, specifically because of the controversy that surrounded it.

 

McDonalds Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

McDonald’s Frozen Strawberry Lemonade – the perfect drink for summertime.  Released in May, the drink is made by blending together a lemonade base, strawberry syrup on the bottom, and ice.  Sales were strong and proved that McCafe, isn’t just for coffee and smoothies anymore. Backed by a huge integrated marketing campaign, no wonder this cool drink should be considered for the most memorable product launch. 

*Not all products chosen by the MMNPL expert panelists are guaranteed to be included in the MMNPL survey due to our rigorous criteria for selecting new products.


Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Forge New Ideas in Quick and Easy Dinners

October 13, 2011

Velveeta and its parent company, Kraft, have earned a reputation for introducing products that provide families with convenience and ease in the kitchen. Building on Velveeta’s popular quick and easy meals, the new Velveeta Cheesy Skillets are creating a buzz. The difference between the new introduction and Velveeta’s past dinner products is that moms and dads can whip up a “real” non-microwaved meal for the family in no time. Kraft is targeting busy moms during back to school season, when hectic schedules necessitate quick and easy meals.

In the commercial, a suburban mom is abruptly greeted by a man dressed as a 19th century blacksmith holding an iron skillet and a box of Velveeta Cheesy Skillets as she attempts to leave the house to pick up dinner. The spokesman guides her hands while she prepares the meal in a way that is reminiscent of the famous pottery scene in the movie Ghost, all the while speaking in an olde English accent. Another Commercial portrays a mom attempting to prepare a meal in the microwave as the 19th century blacksmith appears yet again and stops her. He proclaims, “Reject these cold technology contraptions. Would you want the shoes of your horse forged in a microwave? Your Stove: Use it!”

Velveeta promoted Cheesy Skillets via their Facebook page where visitors could take a poll on which of the four flavors is their favorite, while reading up on a product description of each.

Along with television ads, Facebook, and YouTube, Velveeta is also activating one of the most effective tools in promoting a new product: word of mouth. Through promotions that encourage hosting a Velveeta Cheesy Skillets House Party, the brand is hoping to promote trial and create a buzz by asking people to upload their house party photos to the Facebook page.

With the school year in full swing, it will be interesting to see if Velveeta’s new launch and ad campaign are persuasive enough to take market share away from competitors like Hamburger Helper and make it to family dinner tables.


Pepperidge Farm Launches Bread that Smiles Back

October 3, 2011

For more than a decade, children have enjoyed the famous Goldfish crackers from Pepperidge Farm (smiling Goldfish crackers were launched by Schneider Associates many years ago) Now, Pepperidge Farm is leveraging their smiling Goldfish equity by launching Goldfish Sandwich Bread– the bread that smiles back.

The bread comes in three varieties: Soft White, Soft 100% Whole Wheat, and Soft Honey Whole Wheat. All three contain no high fructose corn syrup and boast 3 grams of fiber per serving for only 120 calories. Not to mention, the bread is completely crust-free, ensuring that the pickiest eaters will have no reason to dislike it.

“We are excited to offer kids and the young at heart a fun and healthful new way to enjoy their favorite sandwiches,” Maureen Linder, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fresh and Frozen Bakery at Pepperidge Farm said in a press release from the company.

To celebrate the launch, Pepperidge Farms conducted a national survey to unveil the hidden troubles of making lunches. In “The Shape of Sandwiches” survey, they found that parents often find making lunches difficult and even frustrating. Nine out of 10 moms revealed that their children find their sandwiches more appealing if the bread is cut into fun and creative shapes and sizes, and are more likely to eat them. 50% of mothers participating in the survey revealed that their children have requested triangular sandwiches while 23% revealed that their children have wanted their food in shapes of faces. Pepperidge farm created a product based on a unique consumer insight, fitting into the recent trend of Customer Calibration™ that we have been seeing.

Aside from the survey, Pepperidge Farms also participated in Evo ’11, a three-day social media conference for women in Park City, Utah, to showcase their new bread. They provided lunch for the conference on Friday, July 8th, where the new sandwich bread was a featured product. A photo op included a scenic picnic backdrop and a blow-up replica of the Goldfish mascot, Finn. Participant pictures were all uploaded onto the official Pepperidge Farms Facebook page.

So far, the reviews for Goldfish Sandwich Bread have been positive, which is no surprise considering the brand developed the product based on consumer insights. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? Could be.


The Triple Double Oreo: Delicious Indulgence and Nostalgic Delight

September 20, 2011

Another product on the MMNPL radar is a new snack from Nabisco.

As if the Double Stuf Oreos are not tasty enough, in August, Nabisco launched what may be their most indulgent Oreo ever – the Triple Double. With one layer of original crème stuffing and one layer of chocolate stuffing sandwiched between three cookie wafers, the Triple Double delivers deliciousness with 100 calories and 4.5 grams of fat per cookie.

A creative new entrant to the Oreo family, the Triple Double seems to have the appropriate qualities of a popular consumer trend that is currently taking the U.S. by storm: Multi-layered foods have been the center of some other recent launches, like Taco Bell’s Triple Steak Burrito and Trident Layers Gum. The 2011 Sweet and Snacks Expo also reported that candy with dual layers and multiple-flavor profiles in one bite were two of the top candy trends this year. Food that is designed in multiples may not appeal to the health conscious, but instead may attract those looking for a small indulgence with 100 calories (two other trends from last year, which we saw in the annual Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey).

To support the Triple Double launch, Nabisco called on the “Double Stuf Racing League,” a dream team comprised of celebrity athletes Shaquille O’Neal, Eli Manning, Venus Williams and Apolo Ohno. In 2008, the DSRL took part in TV advertisements for the Double Stuf Oreo, where they competed to achieve the fastest Oreo-eating time. Now, the DSRL Team is returning for the Triple Double. Fans can expect more twist-and-lick racing as TV ads air this month, with the challenging twist offering up the slogan: “Are You Game?”

“Now that I am retired I can spend more time perfecting my twist, lick and dunk skills, and with an added layer of creme and a third cookie, it’s clear that I am going to need the practice,” said O’Neal.

As part of an online campaign, Oreo has also launched a series of games via their company website. Participating fans will have the chance to win a trip to attend a sports event and have a meet-and-greet with one of the DSRL team members.

The use of famous athletes may help to counter negative perceptions of a fatty indulgence like the Triple Double, or it may simply coincide with the recent competitive eating interest generated by food-challenge reality shows, like Man vs. Food. Will the Triple Double be a slam-dunk for Nabisco? Only time will tell.