SFZ from StartingFromZeroBlog.com asked a valid question about Hasbro that made me think about this investment. In short, he asked about Hasbro’s outlook versus a future riddled with smartphones, iPads, and other tech gadgets that kids are swarming towards. This really is a great question that deserves some research. And by research I mean quick internet searching. Hasbro’s first hit toy in the 1950’s was Mr. Potato Head. Find a picture of the first Mr. Potato Head and try to imagine wrapping one of those up and giving it to a kid for his birthday in 2014. He’d probably have nightmares after seeing the first Mr. PH. The original MPH bears a slight resemblance to Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
So how does Hasbro keeping selling Mr. Potato Head 60 years later? They adapt with the times. Check Amazon and see all of the different Mr. PH’s out there. They have Darth Vader, Iron Man and other variations of MPH. Just a plain MPH is currently the #77 selling toy on Amazon. How can it be after 60 years and advances in technology that a plastic MPH is the #77 selling toy? I really don’t have an answer for that one but the fact that this toy is still popular after all these years is nothing less than amazing.
Of course Hasbro can’t survive alone with the immortal Mr. Potato Head. They also have licensing with Disney which now owns Marvel and Star Wars lines. How long can Marvel, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and Transformers be popular with kids and adults alike? Let’s just say a long time. In fact another Transformers movie is about to hit the theaters and will undoubtedly rake in gobs of money. Disney will be pushing new Star Wars movies soon and I’m sure Hasbro will have the toys to match.
Besides toys, Hasbro has a long list of board games that have been around for years and are still doing well. The #2 board game on Amazon is Connect Four. I was a little dumbfounded when I saw that. It is 2014, where you can pick up a tablet and effortlessly launch Angry Birds (licensed with Hasbro by the way) at mean, green pigs. Still, somewhere out there kids are playing a game where you drop checkers into a vertical rack until you get four in a row.
The more I look at Hasbro the more I’m amazed at what they’ve been able to pull off after all these years. They’re still tricking little kids into playing with plastic potatoes and frustrating adults with the Rubik’s Cube. People still even find it entertaining to spell words with a game called Scrabble.
Hasbro has really built a huge line of products that have found themselves in peoples’ homes for decades upon decades. You can check out the rest of Hasbro’s products at this link:
I don’t think I fully answered SFZ’s original question yet. We can’t expect board games and action figures to be popular forever. You’d think someday kids would tire of Play-Doh. But it looks like Hasbro isn’t resting on its laurels. I found an article talking about Hasbro’s interest in 3D printing. I find this intriguing and it really displays Hasbro’s desire to stay relevant. I’m picturing kids in the not too distant future outgrowing their Play-Doh set and designing their next creation with their Hasbro 3D toy printer. Should be interesting.
DISCLAIMER: I don’t work at Hasbro. I do own stock in HAS which should be obvious after reading this blog entry. I also have kids that like Hasbro stuff.