Title:
Auxiliary toys and methods of distributing the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toy package. The toy package includes a primary toy; and a separate first auxiliary component that combines with one or more auxiliary components packaged with different primary toys to collectively form a composite auxiliary toy.



Inventors:
Benedict, Bryan (Torrance, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/376596
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
03/14/2006
Assignee:
Mattel, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/04
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Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EDELL, SHAPIRO & FINNAN, LLC (Gaithersburg, MD, US)
Claims:
1. A toy package, comprising: a primary toy; and a separate first auxiliary component that combines with one or more auxiliary components packaged with different primary toys to collectively form a composite auxiliary toy.

2. The toy package of claim 1, wherein the first auxiliary component is different than each of the auxiliary components with which it combines to form the composite auxiliary toy.

3. The toy package of claim 1, wherein the primary toy and the composite auxiliary toy are the same type of toy.

4. The toy package of claim 1, wherein the primary toy and composite auxiliary toy are toy vehicles.

5. The toy package of claim 1, wherein the primary toy and composite auxiliary toy are toy figures.

6. The toy package of claim 1, wherein the primary toy and the composite auxiliary toy are different types of toys.

7. The toy package of claim 1, wherein the primary toy is a vehicle and the composite auxiliary toy is a figure or the primary toy is a figure and the composite auxiliary toy is a vehicle.

8. The toy package of claim 1 wherein the composite auxiliary toy is one of a book, puzzle, or sticker.

9. A toy product line, comprising: a first package including at least a first primary toy and at least a first separate auxiliary component; and a second package including at least a second primary toy and at least a second separate auxiliary component; wherein a composite auxiliary toy is formed from at least the first auxiliary component and the second auxiliary component.

10. The toy product line of claim 9, wherein the composite auxiliary toy is a figure, vehicle, puzzle, sticker, or book.

11. The toy product line of claim 9, wherein the first primary toy, the second primary toy, and the composite auxiliary toy have the same theme.

12. A method of selling toys, comprising: packaging a first primary toy with a separate first auxiliary component; and packaging a second primary toy with a separate second auxiliary component; wherein at least the first auxiliary component and the second auxiliary component are constituent components of a composite auxiliary toy.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the composite auxiliary toy is a figure, vehicle, puzzle, sticker, or book.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein the first primary toy, the second primary toy, and the composite auxiliary toy have the same theme.

Description:

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY

The toy market can be very competitive. As a result, selling strategies have become increasingly important in obtaining good sale results. Advertising on multiple media sources, such as television, websites, print, and other sources, are only a few examples of the numerous selling strategies available. However, the inventors herein have recognized that advertising and other know selling strategies do not always provide suitable sale results. Accordingly, a new selling strategy is disclosed.

According to one aspect of the disclosure, a toy package includes a primary toy as well as a separate first auxiliary component that combines with one or more auxiliary components packaged with different primary toys to collectively form a composite auxiliary toy. The prospect of collecting all of the auxiliary components that make up a composite auxiliary toy can serve as motivation for a purchaser/collector to seek out other primary toys that are packaged with the auxiliary components.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 schematically shows an exemplary package including a primary toy and an auxiliary component.

FIG. 2 shows a plurality of unassembled auxiliary components that can be assembled to form a composite auxiliary toy vehicle.

FIG. 3 shows the assembled composite auxiliary toy of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 shows a plurality of unassembled auxiliary components that can be assembled to form a composite auxiliary toy figure.

FIG. 5 shows a plurality of unassembled auxiliary components that can be assembled to form a composite auxiliary toy puzzle.

FIG. 6 shows a plurality of unassembled auxiliary components that can be assembled to form a composite auxiliary toy book.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure is directed to the packaging of individual auxiliary toy components that collectively make up an auxiliary composite toy. The auxiliary toy components can be packaged with a plurality of different complete primary toys. In this way, a number of different primary toys can be sold, each including one or more auxiliary components that can be combined with auxiliary components that are sold with different primary toys. If all the auxiliary components are collected, they can be assembled to form a new auxiliary composite toy. The auxiliary composite toy cannot be formed unless a purchaser buys each of the plurality of different primary toys with which the different auxiliary components are packaged (or acquires the auxiliary components from somebody that has purchased or otherwise acquired the primary toys). In this manner, the auxiliary composite toy can provide motivation for a collector to acquire all the different primary toys necessary to build the auxiliary composite toy. Because a number of different primary toys must be purchased in order to complete the auxiliary composite toy, a fully completed auxiliary composite toy can be relatively rare. A collector can find the rareness associated with the auxiliary composite toy to be desirable.

FIG. 1 schematically shows an exemplary primary toy packaged with an exemplary auxiliary component. The auxiliary component is not a required component of the primary toy, and is only one of a plurality of auxiliary components that must be collected in order to assemble a complete auxiliary toy. As shown in FIG. 1, toy package 10 includes primary toy 12 and auxiliary toy component 14. As used herein, a “toy” may be any product used for enjoyment, collectability, recreation, sport, and/or other pursuit by persons of all ages. While the present disclosure uses toys as an example, virtually any type of primary product can be packaged with an auxiliary component, such that a plurality of the auxiliary components packaged with different primary products can be collected to form an auxiliary composite product.

In FIG. 1, primary toy 12 is a toy vehicle. In some embodiments, other types of toys can be used, including, but not limited to, figurines, action figures, cartoon characters, dolls, computer games, etc. It should be noted that package 10 may include more than one primary toy, as well as one or more accessories to the primary toy. Likewise, package 10 may include more than one auxiliary component.

Component 14 may be combined with other components sold with other primary toy packages or products to create a new auxiliary toy. The new auxiliary toy may be virtually any type of toy. In some embodiments, the new auxiliary toy can be the same type of toy as the primary toys with which its constituent components are packaged. For example, if the primary toys are toy vehicles, the auxiliary toy assembled from the plurality of components packaged with the different primary toys can also be a toy vehicle. In some embodiments, the new auxiliary toy may be a different type of toy than the primary toys with which its constituent components are packaged. For example, if the primary toys are toy vehicles, the auxiliary toy assembled from the plurality of components packaged with the different primary toys can be an action figure. In some embodiments, the auxiliary components can be packaged with two or more different types of primary toys.

Although not required in all embodiments, the auxiliary components may be “mystery components,” meaning that the purpose of the auxiliary components are not advertised and/or that the auxiliary components are hidden in the packaging or otherwise made to be unobvious to a purchaser. In such cases, clues regarding the mystery components may be provided by media sources such as movies, websites, television, newspapers, magazines, comic books, books, etc.

In some embodiments, clues regarding the composite auxiliary toy may be associated with the primary toy. For example, print on package 10 may advertise the new auxiliary toy, and/or other forms of advertisements may specifically detail how the auxiliary components can be collected to form a composite toy, different than any of the primary toys with which the auxiliary components are packaged. In another example, the shape of auxiliary component 14 may provide a clue as to what type of auxiliary toy can be formed with the auxiliary component.

In some embodiments, the final product of the new toy may be unknown until all components are assembled together. The curiosity of a buyer toward the auxiliary components may encourage a buyer to collect all auxiliary components by buying all the associated primary toy packages.

FIG. 2 shows an example of a plurality of unassembled auxiliary components that can be used to create an auxiliary toy 20. As explained above, the plurality of auxiliary components can be sold with a corresponding plurality of different primary toys. In the illustrated embodiment, the auxiliary composite toy is a toy vehicle. The auxiliary components include wheels 21, left door 22 (from a driver's view), main body 23, bumper 24, hood cover 25, left-front fender 26, right-front fender 27, and right door 28. Each individual auxiliary component may be packaged with a different primary toy. Alternatively, more than one auxiliary component may be packaged with one or more of the primary toys. For example, all four wheels may be packaged with the same primary toy.

FIG. 3 shows an auxiliary toy 20 assembled from the components in FIG. 2. When a buyer purchases all of the plurality of primary toy packages that include all of the auxiliary components in FIG. 2, vehicle 20 may be fully assembled as shown in FIG. 3. The reference numbers in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 represents the same components of toy 20.

It should be understood that the plurality of auxiliary toys packaged with the different primary toys are generally not interchangeable building blocks or other pieces that can be assembled into any number of different configurations. In some embodiments, such as those described and illustrated herein, each auxiliary component can be different than the other auxiliary components that are used to form the composite auxiliary toy. However, in some embodiments, two or more auxiliary components can be similarly configured (e.g., wheels 21), without being an interchangeable piece that can be used in a variety of different ways to form a variety of different toys (e.g., Lego® building blocks).

FIG. 4 shows auxiliary components that are used to assemble a different auxiliary toy. In the illustrated embodiment, the auxiliary toy is an action FIG. 40. The auxiliary components may be packaged with a plurality of different primary toys, as described above. In FIG. 4, auxiliary components of FIG. 40 include head 42, body 46, arms 44 and 47, and legs 48 and 49.

In some embodiments, an auxiliary toy may be a different type than the primary toys with which the constituent auxiliary components are packaged. However, the primary toys and the auxiliary toy may have the same theme. For example, the auxiliary toy action figure may be configured to drive a primary toy vehicle. In another example, an auxiliary toy may be associated with the same movie, cartoon, television program, game, or book as the primary toys. In some embodiments, the primary toys and the auxiliary toy may not be related and/or similarly themed.

In some embodiments, the primary toy may be configured for disassembly into several separate parts. While auxiliary components may be used to create a composite auxiliary toy independent of the primary toys, as described above, in some embodiments an auxiliary component can also be used as an accessory or replacement part for the primary toy with which it is packaged.

FIG. 5 shows auxiliary components that make up a different auxiliary toy. In the illustrated embodiment, the auxiliary toy is a puzzle 50, and each of the individual auxiliary components are puzzle pieces 51-59. Each of the puzzle pieces can be packaged with a primary toy, so that two or more primary toys must be purchased in order to obtain all the puzzle pieces. Each primary toy can be packaged with one or more different puzzle pieces.

In another embodiment, the auxiliary components may take the form of stickers. When all of the stickers are assembled, a unique design may be formed. Such a design can give a clue to a riddle in some embodiments.

FIG. 6 shows auxiliary components that collectively form a book 60. In the illustrated embodiment, book 60 is made from binder 65, cover 69, and pages 62, 64, 66, and 68. Book 60 may be any type of book. For example, it may be a comic book, story book, instruction book, or the like. In one embodiment, book 60 may be related to the primary toys with which the auxiliary components that make up the book are packaged. In another embodiment, book 60 may not be related to the primary toys, but book 60 may be designed to be enjoyed by the same type of consumer that is likely to buy the primary toys with which the book components are packaged. For example, the book may target the age group and/or the interests of the likely purchasers of the primary toys.

As described above, auxiliary components may be collected from a plurality of primary toy packages. It should be noted that the number of auxiliary components used to create an auxiliary toy may be selected based on a likely buyer's purchasing capability and/or buying preferences.

Packaging an auxiliary component with a primary toy can increase sales. For example, the inclusion of an auxiliary component may attract the interest of buyers so that they are compelled to acquire all the auxiliary components of the composite auxiliary toy, and thus purchase other primary toy packages. Thus, the sale of one toy package may lead to the sale of more toy packages. Since this approach directly targets buyers who have already demonstrated interest in the relevant toy genre, it may be more efficient than advertising toward a random spectrum of people which may not enjoy the relevant toy genre. Therefore, this approach may be a cost-effective way to promote increased toy sales.

In some embodiments, in addition to auxiliary toy components that are packaged with a primary toy, one or more auxiliary components must be acquired from a different source in order to collect all of the auxiliary components of an auxiliary toy. For example, one or more auxiliary components may be offered through a mail-in program or as part of a promotional prize distributed with a packaged meal at a restaurant, in a cereal box, or through a similar channel.

It will be appreciated that the configurations and embodiments disclosed herein are exemplary in nature, and that these specific embodiments are not to be considered in a limiting sense, because numerous variations are possible. The components, shapes, colors, etc. described herein are non-limiting examples and it should be understood that each of these features may be changed.

The subject matter of the present disclosure includes all novel and nonobvious combinations and subcombinations of the various systems and configurations, and other features, functions, and/or properties disclosed herein. The following claims particularly point out certain combinations and subcombinations regarded as novel and nonobvious. These claims may refer to “an” element or “a first” element or the equivalent thereof. Such claims should be understood to include incorporation of one or more such elements, neither requiring nor excluding two or more such elements. Other combinations and subcombinations of the disclosed features, functions, elements, and/or properties may be claimed through amendment of the present claims or through presentation of new claims in this or a related application. Such claims, whether broader, narrower, equal, or different in scope to the original claims, also are regarded as included within the subject matter of the present disclosure.