Star Wars Toys: A Paradigm Shift for the Toy Industry
May the 4th be with you! If you're not a Star Wars fan, it might not make sense to you. But if you are, you know what we're talking about: May 4th is Star Wars Day!
But what exactly does this phrase mean? Well, it's a play on words that combines two well-known sayings in the Star Wars fandom: "May the Force be with you" (a popular phrase among the fandom) and "May the Fourth be with you."
Originating as a pun, this phrase has a special place in the hearts of all die-hard fans. The "force" in this phrase is a reference to The Force in Star Wars lore. The Force is an energy field created by all living things that allow them to perform amazing feats of strength and skill. And while that may seem like an odd combination at first glance, it makes perfect sense, in fact, more perfect once you know who came up with it with the toy industry booming to great heights.
How Star Wars Met the Toy Market!
The original trilogy came out in 1977, and the first action figures were released in 1978. Star Wars toys were the most popular toys sold by retailers in that year. Star Wars was also responsible for creating a new market for young boys to play with dolls, previously seen as something only girls did.
Star Wars Toys Spearhead the Toy Industry
Star Wars is a story that has been told repeatedly, but it never gets old. The characters and the universe they inhabit are so rich with detail that they’ve even created their own language. It's no surprise that Star Wars has become one of the most successful franchises in history.
But what you may not know is how it changed the toy industry forever. Star Wars toys were some of the first action figures ever made, but this innovation was quickly copied in other industries.
The most notable example was when cereal makers like General Mills and Kelloggs created their versions of action figures for their breakfast cereals. These were called "Strawberry Shortcake" dolls and "Star Wars" figures, respectively. The success of Star Wars toys meant that other companies began making their versions of them to compete with Kenner's line.
One of these companies was Mattel, which successfully launched its own line of action figures in 1979. This was just one year after Kenner released their first wave of figures. It's incredible how quickly these companies were able to turn around new products based on an existing product line.
In fact, these companies had such success that they started making more action figures for even more products. General Mills made an entire line of food-related action figures called "Captain Crunch". At the same time, Kelloggs created an entire line based on the Flintstones cartoon series called "Yabba Dabba Doo."
All these different action figures paved the way for things like Legos and video games, which are also popular today.