What Was The First Toy To Be Advertised On TV?

Featured photo source: The Atlantic.


For the vast majority of us adults, we have always seen toy adverts on TV, but like anything, it has to start somewhere. Without peeking, can you guess which toy was the very first to be advertised?

No, really… no peeking!

The First Toy Advertisement

You may not have guessed it but, Mr. Potato Head was in fact the first toy ever to be advertised on TV! The toy spud was first invented by George Lerner and then manufactured by Hasbro, commercials were broadcast to children in the US, in April 1952.

This was the first time that children were specifically advertised towards, and thus began the ‘pester power’ of children nagging their parents for toys that they were unwittingly marketed towards. Yours for less than $1 and more than one million units sold within the first year, Hasbro’s innovative campaign was a roaring success. 

Mr. Potato Head

But did you know that the now plastic spud was in fact an actual potato! Yes, you read that correctly. The first production of Mr. Potato Head only contained eyes, ears, a nose and mouth - parents then had to supply their children with real potatoes. You won’t be surprised to hear that complaints soon followed over moulding vegetables, and with new government regulations in the early 1960s, Hasbro was forced into including a plastic body.

 Mr. Potato Head - 1952 Toy Mr. Potato Head - Modern Toy
Mr. Potato Head - 1952 Toy Mr. Potato Head - Modern Toy

Toy Story

In 1995, Mr. Potato Head joined Woody, Buzz and the whole gang in arguably the greatest children’s movie of all time, Toy Story. (Check out our toy collection, here.) The movie franchise would later gross more than $3 billion worldwide and impact a generation of kids. Five years after his film debut, he was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

 Mr. Potato Head - Toy Story
Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head - Toy Story

Advertisement or Entertainment?

Nowadays, toys are advertised all day every day as children see adverts as only entertainment. This extends past just TV, with so many outlets for brands to use in their efforts to become the newest big trend in toys.

So what do you think? Are children advertised towards, too much? And have you felt the pressure of ‘pester power’ to buy your children the thing they saw on TV or on the tablet? 

Let us know in the comments.


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