What Was the First Toy to Be Advertised on TV?
The invention of television revolutionized the way products were marketed and advertised. It opened up new opportunities to showcase toys and other consumer goods to a wide audience. But do you know what toy was the first to be advertised on TV? Let’s delve into the fascinating history of television advertising and discover the answer, along with five interesting facts about this milestone.
The first toy to be advertised on television was Mr. Potato Head. In 1952, this iconic toy made its way onto the small screen, captivating children and parents alike. Here are five interesting facts about the first toy ever to be advertised on TV:
1. Mr. Potato Head’s Original Concept:
Mr. Potato Head started out as a collection of separate plastic parts, such as eyes, ears, noses, and mouths, that children could stick into a real potato to create their own character. It was invented and developed George Lerner in 1949 and was originally sold as individual parts rather than a complete toy. It wasn’t until 1952, when the Hasbro toy company purchased the rights, that Mr. Potato Head was sold as a complete plastic toy.
2. The TV Advertising Debut:
As mentioned earlier, Mr. Potato Head became the first toy to be advertised on television. The commercials for the toy aired during the children’s television show “The Howdy Doody Show” in 1952. The ads featured a jingle that encouraged children to “grab a potato and play!”
3. The Impact of TV Advertising:
Television advertising played a significant role in Mr. Potato Head’s success. After the commercials aired, Hasbro sold over a million Mr. Potato Head kits in the first year alone. The power of television advertising was evident, as children across the country were drawn to this innovative and interactive toy.
4. Evolving with Technology:
Over the years, Mr. Potato Head has evolved and adapted to changing times and technologies. In the 1960s, the toy was modified to include a plastic potato body, eliminating the need for a real potato. Later on, Mr. Potato Head embraced the digital age, becoming a character in the popular “Toy Story” movie franchise.
5. Mr. Potato Head Today:
Today, Mr. Potato Head remains a beloved and timeless toy. The original concept of mix-and-match facial features has been expanded to offer various themed sets, including characters from movies, superheroes, and even famous celebrities. Despite technological advancements and changing toy trends, Mr. Potato Head has stood the test of time and continues to inspire creativity and imaginative play.
Now, let’s address some common questions related to the first toy advertised on TV:
1. How much did the first Mr. Potato Head kits cost?
The first Mr. Potato Head kits were sold for $0.98.
2. When was the first Mr. Potato Head commercial aired?
The first commercial for Mr. Potato Head aired in 1952.
3. How long did the first Mr. Potato Head commercial run?
The original commercial for Mr. Potato Head had a runtime of one minute.
4. Who was the inventor of Mr. Potato Head?
George Lerner is credited with inventing Mr. Potato Head.
5. What was the inspiration behind Mr. Potato Head?
The idea for Mr. Potato Head came to George Lerner when he saw his sister’s children playing with vegetables and sticking various items into them.
6. Was Mr. Potato Head always a plastic toy?
No, initially, Mr. Potato Head was marketed as a set of separate plastic parts that could be inserted into a real potato.
7. When did Mr. Potato Head transition to a complete plastic toy?
In 1952, the Hasbro toy company purchased the rights to Mr. Potato Head and introduced it as a complete plastic toy with a plastic body.
8. How many Mr. Potato Head kits were sold in the first year after TV advertising?
Over a million Mr. Potato Head kits were sold in the first year after the TV commercials aired.
9. What TV show featured the first Mr. Potato Head commercials?
The first Mr. Potato Head commercials aired during “The Howdy Doody Show.”
10. Has Mr. Potato Head appeared in any movies?
Yes, Mr. Potato Head is a character in the “Toy Story” movie franchise.
11. Is Mr. Potato Head still popular today?
Yes, Mr. Potato Head remains a popular and beloved toy.
12. Are there different versions of Mr. Potato Head available today?
Yes, Mr. Potato Head is available in various themed sets, including licensed characters and celebrities.
13. Does Mr. Potato Head still encourage creative play?
Absolutely! Mr. Potato Head continues to inspire creativity and imaginative play.
14. What impact did TV advertising have on Mr. Potato Head’s success?
TV advertising played a significant role in the success of Mr. Potato Head, leading to the sale of over a million kits in the first year alone.
In conclusion, Mr. Potato Head holds the distinction of being the first toy ever to be advertised on television. Its introduction forever changed the way toys were marketed, and it continues to be a much-loved and enduring toy to this day.