Marketing & Branding

Your Favorite Childhood Toys and Their Current Ads

The second week of February, visitors to the 2013 American International Toy Fair saw some pretty amazing toys that will probably be the must-have Christmas toys for 2013. Mashable did a great job finding the best of the best toys that my coworkers and I wouldn’t mind spending some bucks on (try and tell me that having those Tetris Lamps wouldn’t be the neatest thing in your cubicle. Come on, I double dog dare ya!)

Seeing all the new gizmos got me thinking about the toys I played with as a child and how much simpler they were compared to today’s. Good news, though! Many of our favorites are still around today and have some awesome print ads to remind parents that fostering a child’s imagination doesn’t require gigabytes, augmented reality, or even batteries.


By now you must have figured out that I love Lego, so what compilation post would be complete without mentioning them? This company has been around for fifty-five years and despite a few hiccups along the way, they’ve been a favorite among parents and children. They most recently shared their latest advertising effort which really captures what makes Lego so awesome:

From these examples Lego captured the idea that you can build anything and everything you want! Of course you can buy a set and follow directions to build a boat or dump out that bin of 15,000 bricks and build your own cruise ship.

Hot Wheels

Seeing the aisle that was wall to wall blue and orange with Hot Wheels packaging was always one of my favorites in the toy store. And that was in the days before their awesome advertising techniques! It’s hard to pick one of these examples as my favorite, so I’m including pictures of them both.

Maybe you’re in the mood for pretending your very own Nissan or Saturn or Ford or Toyota or whatever car you’ve got is an awesome Hot Wheels car. Your car may not have awesome painted flames on it, but it also has more leg room compared to an actual Hot Wheels car. In Sao Paulo, Brazil ageisobar (an advertising agency based in Brazil) set up a display for people to ‘Hot Wheels their car’. Check out this video clip below from the event:

Who wouldn’t want a picture of that to share with family, friends, coworkers, that ex you really want to make truly jealous?


I don’t know what kind of kid you were, but I could sit and play with Play-Doh for hours. I’m pretty sure I never made anything exciting, but that spaghetti maker was pretty awesome! My mom liked me playing with it because it kept me entertained and the worst thing I could do with it was eat it. Play-Doh’s marketers know this and really do a great job selling this point to parents with their print ads.

No matter what your child molds, they’re not going to hurt themselves with it. Parents rejoiced everywhere in 1956 and in 1965 when it was patented.

Never underestimate the power of advertising, even if it’s for something as simple as a child’s toy. These examples show off these brands’ creativity which perfectly ties in with the ingenuity that these toys will create in its users. Who knows, maybe you can pick up something from them and use them in your own ads even if your target market doesn’t sleep with a nightlight or require an afternoon nap.