Pretty much since civilization began humans have collected things. I had a massive Star Wars Figures collection, my Mother collected antiques and there is many a stamp or coin collector out there. The latest collectible craze is the Blind Bag Phenomenon.
Lego Mini Figures
I was first introduced to the Blind Bag when a friend of Buddy’s showed him his Lego Mini Figures collection. Initially Buddy wasn’t interested. Then the Lego Movie came out and the corresponding Mini Figures collection.
Buddy was hooked. His weekly treat became a new Mini Figure. Each week he’d excitedly pick one out and then open it to see who he’d gotten.
It didn’t take long for me to realise that we were going to have trouble on the horizon.
Each series has around 16 different mini figures. Unlike the Star Wars figures from my childhood, which came in clear packaging. Allowing me to buy the ones I wanted.
Lego Mini figures come in opaque packaging so the contents are a surprise until the bag is opened. This leads to the owner ending up with a number of duplicates.
Let me tell you there is nothing to wipe the smile off an excited kids face with a new Mini figure bag, than when he opens it to reveal one he already owns, if not has two or three of.
Show Me The Money
Other toy manufacturers were quick to notice the potential for substantial profits in the blind bag phenomenon and pretty swiftly followed suit.
It wasn’t long till you could buy blind bags featuring pretty much every popular cartoon and video game characters.
I loved Football stickers as a boy. At least there you got 6 in a pack and there was pretty much always someone who had swapsies of ones you needed to fill your book. An early precursor to the blind bag phenomenon perhaps?
With mini figures and all the other collectible characters available there are obviously some that feature in more packs than others and some that feature in a much smaller percentage.
The idea being that the child will persuade their parents to buy more and more until they have the full set.
This probably coincides with the release of the next series and the fun begins again.
Youtubers Role in the Blind Bag Phenomenon
Until I had children my only use of YouTube was to watch music videos or to find out how to do something.
Like the time the door handle cable snapped and I needed to replace it myself. A quick search for the required video and within ten minutes my car door could be opened again.
Once Minecraft exploded I was introduced to the joys of YouTubers. Buddy and Teen 2 must have watched 100’s of hours of people playing Minecraft.
Then Buddy started watching people opening blind bags.
I was fortunate, by this time he had lost interest in collecting them and was happy to watch other people opening them.
For many others I’m sure this isn’t the case.
Needless to say toy manufacturers were quick to spot the marketing potential and are happy to send their products to these YouTubers to feature in their videos.
New collections and series are sent to them to feature first. Raising awareness and desire among young fans. Who then badger their parents to buy them for them.
Bigger and Better
Not content with small priced bags and collections there are now Hatichmal Surprise, L.O.L Surprise and many other surprise toys.
These are the same concept but on a bigger and grander scale.
Hatchimal Surprise Eggs can cost up to €50 if not more.
The number of people I saw posting on Facebook and Twitter last Christmas looking for L.O.L. Surprise Dolls was unbelievable.
Little Miss OMG has stumbled across these videos and is now asking for some of her very own. I just hope she is happy with one or two and isn’t a serious collector.