With Christmas over and the new year firmly underway, one gift kids have been receiving this festive period represents current kids trends better than any other – Boxy Girls.
At first glance, Boxy Girls might seem no different from the innumerable other brands in your average toy shop. Bratz, Barbie and Glitter Girls all bear a resemblance to these seemingly ordinary dolls. But Boxy Girls come with a distinct difference to traditional toys – they are modelled on online influencers and ‘unboxing’ videos.
Virtual Becomes Reality – Toys Made For Digital Natives
In recent years, online kids content has boomed and many social media influencers are now children. There is now even a one-year-old Instagram ‘influencer’, Ralphie, whose daily exploits are displayed on social media.
And YouTube is now by far the biggest destination for those seeking kids content online with some child YouTubers amassing millions of views as kids and parents from across the world tune in to watch their videos.
One of the most popular video formats on kids’ YouTube channels is ‘unboxing’ vi
deos. This unboxing trend began with beauty and lifestyle vloggers opening branded products on camera and sharing their reviews. But now unboxing videos are making waves in the kids market, with toy reviews leading the way.
One seven-year-old YouTuber, whose channel is entitled ‘Ryan ToysReview’, was the highest earner on the site last year, having earned over £17m from ad revenue and sponsored content.
Unboxing Boxy Girls: Influencing the Young Generation
So it’s no surprise that this huge trend is being reflected in the Boxy Girls. There are 4 Boxy Girls to collect – Riley, Willa, Nomi and Brooklyn – all of whom share a love for online shopping and unboxing. The dolls can be purchased with an array of clothes, fashion accessories and other “surprises” for them to unbox. There is even a Boxy Girls YouTube channel where you can watch animated versions of the dolls unboxing products.
So how did they become so popular?
Rather fittingly, Boxy Girls were sent out to key influencers in a smart move to boost the brand’s profile. Popular kids channels ‘SWTAD Kids’ and ‘Princess ToysReview’ were enlisted to ‘unbox’ the dolls in front of millions of viewers, acting as a huge platform to spread awareness of these Gen Alpha toys.
The Old Meets the New? The Future of Kids Brands
So what does this mean for the future of kids brands more broadly?
Well at the very least the Boxy Girls prove that digital devices, online games and YouTube will not replace toys anytime soon. No matter how much sensory entertainment Minecraft or the Baby Shark video may provide, real-life play does not look to end in the near future.
Despite this, Boxy Girls also signify the omnipresence of YouTube culture in kids’ worlds. At a point when children now spend twice as much time looking at screens as they do playing outdoors, social media sites are increasingly shaping kids’ daily lives.
But will the integration of digital and physical kids content continue? Or will YouTube and other online platforms eclipse traditional toys?
Either way, kids brands must keep up with the pace of change in the digital world to avoid losing relevance with young people.