By: Dani-elle Dube
What’s old is new again and students and staff of Generation Y couldn’t be happier.
Making a return to the marketplace and consumer’s memories are beloved childhood fads of the ’80s and ’90s, as Tamagotchi leads the way in a new smartphone app called Tamagotchi L.i.f.e.
“My daughter is watching My Little Pony,” said Erin Sparks, marketing professor at Algonquin. “Well, I watched My Little Pony. It’s so funny.”
With each generation continually buying into their own market-targeted fads, the multi-million dollar phenomenon is one that challenges industry professionals.
“I think why some things come back into style is because it’s passed on through generations,” explained Bill Garbarino, coordinator of the business marketing program at Algonquin. “People who were involved in the original fad ended up becoming the stimulus.”
According to the Toy Insider, a website directory dedicated to everything toys, past crazes that made a comeback last Christmas included Furby, Cabbage Patch dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and old board games like Life and Monopoly. Panjiva, a company that monitors imported goods, reported a 91 per cent increase from last year in Power Rangers toys entering the United States from overseas just before the holiday season.
Garbarino, a former fan of the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, described a fad as a social phenomenon that defines a want or a need and captures society’s imagination.
“A fad is fast growing. It is right out of the gates and it’s viral and you almost can’t control it. Just as fast as it comes in, it goes out.”
Even favourite classic cult movies are being rebooted for today’s mainstream market. In October 2012 Disney bought Lucasfilm, the production house responsible for the Star Wars franchise, for $4 billion and announced the release of the seventh installment of the franchise for 2015.
“The challenge for businesses is that they would like to have longevity of their products in the marketplace,” said Martin Taller, marketing and business intelligence research professor at Algonquin. “Even though the initial great idea enters the market it has to be a product that can continue to be reinvented.”
Taller added that marketing and advertising, as well as the product’s potential for adapting to future markets are important factors in determining whether or not a fad comes back.
Algonquin communications Professor Janna Holmes, says fads play a significant role in popular culture. People see fads and crazes as a way of escape as they use them to look at their relationships and the world in a new and exciting way.
Crazes of the MTV generation that continued to be sold past its vogue are the Yo-Yo, marbles, Etch A Sketch and Pez candy dispensers.
According to Garbarino, some fads have a longer lasting emotional appeal for people that go beyond shelf life.
“There will be people that continue to wear bell bottoms, that will continue to collect Crazy Bones, because it meant so much to them,” said Garbarino. “It affected them to such an extent that even if the rest of the world isn’t still embracing it, they still want to.”