I’ve linked below to a really fascinating page about creator Ty Warner’s marketing strategy for Beanie Babies. It capitalized on the low initial cost of the Beanies (they were intended to be bought by children with their allowance) combined with a sense of rarity and exclusivity. Certain Beanie Babies were often discontinued, and thus people starting buying more Beanie Babies to collect before those models and styles were gone. The sense of exclusivity was also increased by the lack of advertising (made the company seem secret and special), the fact that Beanie Babies were not sold in major retailers (again, made the product seem very special), the ever-changing variety of Beanies, and the special names, birthdates, and poems attached to each Beanie Baby model.
When people feel as though a product is special, elite, or exclusive, they often want to buy the product in order to grasp those feelings. Collectors start to pop up, and whenever you have collectors, you get a product culture. It also helped that the toys were just so appealing to young children (yes, I was a 90’s child). I remember loving that each Beanie Baby had its own name and personality, that each of them was special and some were even based off of mythical creatures (I had a dragon), and that they were inexpensive.
Beanie Babies exploded with the help of a huge market; the baby boomers kids. This coupled with the ingenious marketing strategy above amounted to extreme success for Ty Warner. The man now multiple golf courses, country clubs, hotels, homes ect. in my home town, Santa Barbara, California.
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