Dan Nessel Picks His Top 10 Toy Products of the Year

October 29, 2013

Over the course of his toy-loving career, Dan Nessel created DadDoes.com and has written over 350 toy reviews. His YouTube Channel, which offers hands-on, real world product reviews, has received over 8.5 million views alone. Nessel has also shared his views and opinions on numerous radio shows, writes the ‘Toys N Tech’ column for Grand Magazine, and – most importantly – knows how to say, “Where are the toys?” in 5 different languages. Now, he lets us in on which toys he thinks are the Most Memorable Product Launches of 2013.

1. Disney Infinity

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Disney Infinity is an interactive video game that kids can play three different ways: online, connected to a video game console or on an iPad.  Kids get the magic of Disney at their fingertips as they unlock new characters and send them on adventures with new toys.

Learn more: https://infinity.disney.com/

2. Zoomer Pup – The Interactive Robotic Dog

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A robotic pet that finally achieves the feeling of more pet than robot.  He blinks, he wags his tail, is trilingual and the more you play with Zoomer, the more tricks he learns and retains.

Learn more: http://www.daddoes.com/9213/review-zoomer-family-pet-dog/

3. Air Hogs Elite Helix X4

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Air Hogs Elite Helix X4 is a remote-controlled stunt quad-copter that’s very fast and easily maneuverable.  Using the 4-channel controller, you can do three high-performance stunts: a flip,  barrel roll and 180-flip.

Learn more: http://www.airhogs.com/site/product/helix-x4-stunt

4. Playskool Sesame Street Big Hugs Elmo

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Big Hugs Elmo is a life size Elmo that encourages kids to use their imagination.  He really hugs back, and when preschoolers press his left foot, he asks them to play one of four imagination scenarios: astronauts, rabbits, frogs and horses.  He’ll dance and sing with the kids as well.

Learn more: http://www.hasbro.com/shop/details.cfm?R=6743453A-5056-9047-F588-4A9BCD30BE28:en_US

5. Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow

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New from Nerf, this bow encourages kids to exhibit strength and power.  It fires five foam darts up to 75 feet and is decorated in pink and purple feathers to appeal to the femininity of Nerf Rebelle girls.

Learn more: http://www.hasbro.com/rebelle/en_US/shop/details.cfm?R=A50E1B3F-5056-9047-F5BE-348682F240BF:en_US

6. Leapfrog LeapPad Ultra

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The perfect kid-friendly learning tablet, the LeapPad Ultra comes complete with 7” screen, Wi-Fi featuring kid-safe Web and a library of over 800 educational apps, games, eBooks, videos and more.  Kids can draw, write and play using the stylus or their fingers, as well as listen to music and take pictures.

Learn more: http://shop.leapfrog.com/leapfrog/jump/LeapPad-Ultra-Learning-Tablet/productDetail/LeapPad-Ultra-Learning-Tablet-and-Bundles/33200/cat1380007?selectedColor=&selectedSize=&navAction=jump&navCount=0&categoryNav=false&medium=tsa&gclid=CNWOkYST9rkCFcqZ4AodNEcA1Q

7. Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror

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A make-up free makeover tool for girls!  An iPad transforms the vanity frame into a mirror, allowing girls to select “makeup” options and apply the virtual makeup using the applicator.

Learn more: http://mattelbrandsmedia.com/product.php?category=0&product=110

8. Doc McStuffins Get Better Check Up Center

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Exclusively sold at Toys’R’Us, this Checkup Center allows kids to use their imagination for healing toys and giving checkups.  Included are 27 separate pieces, such as x-rays that activate light and sound and an electronic “Big Book of Boo Boos” that aids in making a diagnosis.

Learn more: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=24342656

9. HexBug Nano V2 Black Hole

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This is a new “breed” of Nano V2 bugs that climbs vertically, horizontally, through loops and around corners.  The Black Hole enables kids to customize the layout of the three-story set, encouraging their creativity.

Learn more: http://www.hexbug.com/hexbug-nano-v2-black-hole.html

10. Flutterbye Fairies

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Enchantment awaits as you unleash the fairies.  Each doll comes on a display stand; once the button is pressed, she dances in the air, her wings fluttering.  Placing a hand above or below her changes her height and direction.

Learn more: http://www.toysrus.com/buy/dolls-stuffed-animals/princess-fairy-dolls/flutterbye-pink-flying-flower-fairy-6020448-20219616


Product Launch Marketing: One is greater than 360

October 24, 2013

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They say good things come to those who wait, and in the world of gaming, nothing holds truer. Nearly eight years after the release of the Xbox 360, Microsoft launched its plans to release the brand new Xbox One this November. To call this device a gaming console would be an injustice, as it sports dozens of new interactive features that are sure to change home entertainment forever.

The sleek new design is complete with controllers and an updated version of Kinect to capture 1080p high-definition video, as well as improved body detection and recognition for interactive games and commands. While the main focus of the Xbox has been gaming since its release in 2001, Microsoft is now emphasizing the entertainment capabilities of the device. The One will be compatible with cable boxes, allowing gamers to watch TV through the device and also provides users with TV listings and personalized suggestions. Additionally, the console will have the ability to function while running applications such as Skype and Internet Explorer simultaneously. So theoretically, you can watch the big game and Skype with your friend halfway across the country as if he or she were in the room with you. The One will also include several remote capabilities, such as voice control and Microsoft’s Smartglass technology that will allow users to control the device through their phones or tablets.

Read more at the Schneider Associates blog.


Product Launch Marketing: Leap Motion Controller Helps Consumers Get Handsy

October 18, 2013

LeapMotion-PackagingAnyone experienced enough with Xbox Kinect knows the fun of virtual motion control. Whether it’s a round of the latest dance craze or a game of virtual football, the technology has undoubtedly broken new ground when it comes to interacting with your favorite gadgets.

Enter Leap Motion’s Controller. Controlling your computer is as easy as waving your hands. This new product makes it easy to ditch that old mouse and keyboard in exchange for hands-free control of your favorite apps and games, all without ever touching a screen.

In a press release, Leap Motion co-founder and CEO Michael Buckwald describes his vision for the product: “Leap Motion enhances the computing experience to allow people to do things in new and better ways, and we’re committed to breaking down the barriers between people and technology to make the future more easily accessible.”

Read more at the Schneider Associates blog.


Pop-Tarts Gone Nutty! leaves fans just that

July 2, 2013

Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts have always been a staple in the cupboards of kids and adults alike. With flavors like frosted strawberry, s’mores, and brown sugar cinnamon, Pop-Tarts managed to revolutionize the breakfast pastry market offering consumers a sweet, savory treat without trekking to a café. With Pop Tarts Gone Nutty!, Kellogg’s managed to capture the hearts of moms who want to send their kids off with a hot breakfast and the appetites of kids with two  new yummy flavors: peanut butter and frosted chocolate peanut butter.

“Peanut butter has long been the most requested flavor by our fans,” said Dick Podiak, director of marketing for Pop-Tarts. “We think everyone will agree it was worth the wait once they taste these delicious new varieties.”

Read more at the Schneider Associates blog.

 


6 Key Learnings from the 2012 Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey

March 7, 2013

Our EVP Julie Hall teamed up with Chief Behavioral Scientist of Sentient Decision Science Aaron Reid to share the results of the 2012 Most Memorable New Product Launch survey in a Google+ Hangout On Air. Since 2001, SA and Sentient Decision Science have conducted the survey to learn which product launches make lasting impressions with consumers and find key trend data on which marketing tactics are the most influential, where consumers are learning about new products and what product attributes are the most desirable. Here are some of the key takeaways from the hangout:

1. Avoid launching a new product during an election year: Sixty-seven percent (67%) of consumers surveyed could not recall a single new product launched in 2012. This is the second lowest recall rate of the decade, trumped only by the 69% unable to recall a new product launch in 2008—another election year. Repeated low recall rates during election years suggests that it is harder for brands to break through the proliferation of political ad clutter to gain consumer attention.

2. Political ads push new product ads from consumers minds: Respondents said that four out of the last ten commercials they could remember contained political messages. This shows that in an election year, consumers are less likely to recall new product ads, either because there are simply more political ads, or that the political ads make more of a lasting impression.

3. Domestically-made products are more popular than ever: “Made in The USA” was cited by 62% of consumers as influencing their purchasing decision, a five percent increase from two years ago.  “Made Locally” experienced a similar boost in influence, with 52% of respondents influenced by it, up from 48% in 2011 and 46% in 2010. MMNPL data from the past decade shows that attributes such as “Made in the USA”  spike in influence during presidential election years.

4. Amazon Kindle Fire still hot after nearly a year: Amazon’s Kindle Fire topped the Most Memorable New Product Launches list with 30% of surveyed consumers remembering the launch. Other products that made the top ten were Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Taco (#2, 18.8%), Tide Pods (#3, 15.6%), Pepsi Next (#4, 13%), Samsung Galaxy Note (#5, 11.7%), the all-new iPod Nano (#6, 10.6%), Nintendo’s Wii U (#7, 8.2%), Taco Bell Cantina Bowl (#8, 7.1%), Duncan Hines Frosting Creations (#9, 5.7%), and McDonadl’s Chicken McBites (#10, 4.9%).

5. Young & healthy at heart: Millenials are more concerned about product attributes such as high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, organic and low soidum than any other age bracket.

6. Dads are the new moms: More men are making household purchasing decisions than ever with 49% of  male respondents identifying themselves as the decision-makers. And increase of nearly ten percent since 2009.

To find out other key trends that emerged from our survey data, watch the video below. To download the 2012 MMNPL Data deck, click here.


MMNPL Top 5 Picks from Tom Kraeutler, Host of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show

January 23, 2013

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Our home products expert, Tom Kraeutler, is the Host, Founder and Chief Home Improvement Evangelist of The Money Pit. He is a hands-on home improvement broadcast journalist and the kind of guy homeowners want to call at midnight when their basement floods. He first earned his home improvement stripes as a professional home inspector, amassing over 20 years experience learning how houses are put together, and how they fall apart!

Here are his selections for the Most Memorable New Home Product Launches of 2012:

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Andersen 400 Series Tilt-Wash Double-Hung Insert Window

These windows are an excellent choice to replace old, drafty windows that are hard to open or require frequent scraping and painting. Andersen has made it so that installing these windows couldn’t be easier.  The 400 Series Tilt-Wash Double-Hung Insert Window is custom sized to fit inside an existing window frame. Just remove the top and bottom sash and insert the new window. It’s a great DIY project that requires only basic skills and no special tools. Plus, you can install the window from inside your home, making it easy to replace even second-floor windows.  The tilt function makes it easy to clean them, and the low-maintenance exterior eliminates the need for paint. Plus, the high-performance Low-E4 glass provides superior energy-efficiency.

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Black & Decker Gyro

Every once in a while a company comes out with a truly unique innovation that completely takes me by surprise. Gyro is one of those products — the world’s first motion activated power screwdriver. It’s really cool and fun to use.  Here’s how it works: the trigger is on the back of it, so when you squeeze the Gyro you engage the power switch. To turn it on, you rotate it to the right. It starts very slowly, and the more you turn, it goes full throttle. To slow it down you simply turn it back towards neutral or center, wherever you started with it. And then to reverse the direction, you simply turn it to the left. Gyro was developed by Black & Decker to give users more control over the application, both in speed and direction. And at a suggested retail price of $39.99, it’s both innovative and inexpensive!

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Lutron Maestro Occupancy Sensing Switch

The age-old problem of leaving lights on in empty rooms is solved with the Maestro Occupancy Sensing Switch from Lutron. It can detect motion so that it turns lights on when you enter a room and off when a room is empty. This hands-free technology makes life easier when you’ve got an armful of laundry or groceries, and it’s great for a household with kids who might not always remember to turn off the lights when they leave a room. It’s also convertible to manual on/off vacancy sensors for use in bedrooms and homes with pets. You can install it in 15 minutes or less, and it works with all types of light bulbs, including LED, CFL, tube fluorescent, halogen and incandescent.  And by replacing just one standard light switch with a Maestro Occupancy Sensing Switch, you can save up to $25 in energy costs.

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Philips L Prize-Winning 10 Watt LED Bulb

This $10 million prize-winning light bulb is an answer to our energy future that’s here today – selected by the U.S. Department of energy as the most energy efficient-alternative to the standard 60-watt incandescent bulb. Philips 10-watt LED bulb lasts 30 times longer – up to 27 years!! – and can save you up to $165 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Wave goodbye to the hassle of changing bulbs frequently and pat yourself on the back for choosing a bulb that’s smart for the planet AND your wallet. Philips 10-watt LED bulb is fully dimmable and provides soft white light with virtually no UV in the beam, so it won’t fade fabrics. And it’s designed in a traditional bulb shape that will fit right into your existing fixtures.

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Fluidmaster Duo Flush System

As a nation, we flush away billions of gallons of water every day. You can be part of the solution by improving a water-wasting toilet in your own home. Fluidmaster’s Duo Flush is an innovative system that converts any toilet into a high-efficiency, water-saving dual flush toilet that saves you money to boot. It provides up to 50% water savings with every flush, and can knock your water bill down by more than $120 a year per toilet. It’s easy to install – takes just 20 minutes – and easy to use: Just lift the handle up for a half flush and push it down for a full flush. You’ll be reducing your annual water usage by more than 15,000 gallons, and the planet will thank you.


Our Expert Picks Top 5 Pet Products of 2012

September 24, 2012

Amanda Shih, our pet expert and dog trainer, walker, groomer and boarder created her blog, Doggie Product Review, to provide other dog owners with helpful, easy to understand product reviews. Based in Chicago, she reviews toys, treats, food and general tools. Here is her list of the top Five Most Memorable 2012 Pet Products.

Absolutely New’s Treat Launcher™ eliminates getting doggie drool on your hands and makes feeding time fun! Simply pull the trigger and a single piece of food is launched into the air.  Not only is this a great way to give your dog exercise, it also feeds your dog at the same time.

The DogGone Smart Pet Bed is the latest high tech product to hit the market for dog beds.  The  truly amazing water-resistant  Dog Gone Smart Pet Bed leaves your dog’s bed clean without compromising on fabric feel or comfort.

Bionic Toss N Tug Toyfloats, flies, and is guaranteed to be chewed and not break or Bionic will give you a new one for free! The demo video for this cool toy shows how it can survive a blender and  still look like new.They also have models that can be filled with treats to provide hours of safe fun for your pooch.

Frosty Bowlz has a freezable insert that will keep your pet’s water ice cold for up to 18 hours!  A must for hot summer days.

Pet Paint is just that: safe, non-toxic, and veterinarian approved paint for your dog. The first-of-its-kind, this product is sure to leave a lasting memory when you paint on your team’s colors. Imagine the looks your dog will draw at parades, social events, and parties all painted up and ready to show!

The year 2012 has introduced us to many new pet products. What do you think is the best new product? Which would you be most likely to try? Make sure to check back toward the end of the year, when we will be revealing our Most Memorable New Product Launch survey final results.


Launch Talk: What You Can Learn from the iPhone 5 Launch

September 13, 2012

No one launches products like Apple, and you can learn a lot from their hugely successful Apple Conference 2012 event. These events have become so iconic, they have truly changed the game when it comes to press conferences.

SA’s EVP Julie Hall and marketing coordinator Noel Fisher discuss how Apple manages to build buzz and gain media attention using the very traditional press conference.

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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?


Launch of the Week: Barilla Microwavable Meals

July 27, 2012

Barilla, famous for their fresh, frozen and dried pastas, sauces and meals, has launched its first line of microwavable meals. Ready in 60 seconds, 320 calories each and 5 great flavors to choose from- will this pronto pasta be perfecto for Barilla?