The talk of the playground: TV show toys

This month Dubit discovers which children's TV shows make for the most popular licensed toys and shines a light on those without toy lines...
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Dubit quizzed 500 children aged seven to 11 on toys and their favourite TV programmes. We asked them about shows with established toy ranges, and those without, and how popular the show was.

Out of the shows that didn’t currently have a toy licensee, we found that CITV’s Almost Naked Animals came out on top, followed by CBBC’s Pet Squad and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Indeed, the latter scored highest on popularity and toy preference, putting it ahead of the rest. It’s mainly a girl thing: of those aware of the show, 44 per cent of seven year-old girls and 43 per cent of nine year-old girls would look out for it on the shelves.

Almost Naked Animals was the potential toy line that kids wanted the most - since Dubit's research Character has signed a licence for the show.

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The Suite Life of Zack and Cody scored a high on awareness, with the children surveyed putting it in second place.

For the boys, Pet Squad toys were most attractive to eight year-olds – 44 per cent of boys aware of the programme would buy the toy. Plus, at the younger end we see Almost Naked Animals as a possible success with seven year-old boys, with 75 per cent of those aware of the programme interested in buying a related toy.

Awareness of the show is important to the potential success of the toy: The Suite Life of Zack and Cody was the only show without a current toy range to gain an awareness score of over 50 per cent, comparing well with both Yu-Gi-Oh (53 per cent) and Bakugan (43 per cent).

Unsurprisingly, the mighty SpongeBob Squarepants (94 per cent) and Doctor Who (90 per cent) were top of the awareness league.

Doctor Who came out on top, with 32 per cent of children surveyed owning licensed toys from the show.

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Plus, when asked which shows they actually watched, SpongeBob proved he is as resilient as he is absorbent, sitting at the top of the viewers’ league with 57 per cent of kids watching the show, followed by Horrid Henry (56 per cent) and Doctor Who (52 per cent). Such ongoing engagement with the show can influence the attractiveness of an associated toy line.

Aside from Zack and Cody, non-toy shows with decent viewing figures were My Goldfish is Evil (20 per cent), House of Anubis (13 per cent) and Almost Naked Animals (11 per cent). Unfortunately there was much less demand for a licensed toy line from My Goldfish is Evil and House of Anubis.

One final question we asked the kids: what did they think of the toys they had played with from TV shows? When asked to score the toy ranges on a scale of one to five, no range dropped below a mean score of four. The top five were Doctor Who (4.7), In the Night Garden (4.7). iCarly (4.6), and Yu-Gi-Oh (4.6), with Bakugan, Horrid Henry and Peppa Pig tied for fifth place (4.5).

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Dubit is a specialist youth research and marketing agency that helps brands to understand young people’s motivations and behaviours. Phone: 0113 394 7920 email:


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