Toy companies and cartoon-producing companies usually have the same target customers because many of their products are meant for children. This common goal birthed a mutually beneficial relationship between toy companies and cartoon-producing companies. This relationship allows toy companies to seek permission from cartoon producers about producing a fine line of toys to complement an immensely popular or not so popular cartoon. Every partnering company in this relationship enjoys financial gains because the increase in the number of toys sold will so increase the number of cartoons sold.
In some cases, instead of waiting for a cartoon to model toys after, toy companies have developed the initiative of employing the help of cartoon directors. These directors help to write and produce cartoons modeled after a preexisting toy with the sole purpose of marketing the toy.
Let us examine ten times toy companies used cartoons to market their toys.
10. Barbie – Mattel
Mattel produced Barbie, a fashion doll, since 1959. Since Barbie is the most prevailing fashion doll in the world, it is unsurprising that there are more than thirty animations have been based on Barbie. “Barbie and the Rockers: Out of This World” was the first-ever animation movie based on Barbie. It depicts Barbie as a rock star who travels all over space to perform her songs with her band.
9. Hot Wheels – Mattel
Mattel made Hot Wheels, a series of toy cars, in the year 1968. Mattel originally designed Hot Wheels with children and young adults in mind. However, it has since become a collectible item since the production of limited-edition models. Hot Wheels has seen six animated movies made based on the toy line, with the first one being Hot Wheels: World Race, produced in 2003. The animated cartoon is based on showing beautiful car models produced in the toy line by Mattel and car racing.
8. UglyDolls – Pretty Ugly/STX Entertainment
Jane Hartwell, Robert Rodriguez, and Oren Aviv produced UglyDolls, a computer animated movie based on the toy line UglyDolls by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim. It depicts the struggles of Moxy. Moxy is a doll that the factory had considered as deformed and ugly and sent to Uglyville. Moxy will not let her dream of going to the human world die. She and her friends, Wage, Ugly Dog, Babo, and Lucky Bat, and the whole occupants of Uglyville rose to the challenge of fighting discrimination. Against all odds, they made it easy for dolls, both Uglies and Pretties. They made it so that every doll has an equal chance at going home with a human child.
7. Bratz – MGA Entertainment
Bratz is a line of fashion dolls made by Carter Bryant and produced by MGA Entertainment. The toy line started originally with four 10″ dolls named Cloe, Jade, Sasha, and Yasmin. To further increase the Bratz toy line’s popularity, there have been nine animated cartoons made based on Bratz dolls.
The first cartoon that was made is the “Bratz: Starrin’ and Stylin’. ” The movie stars all four Bratz girls in high school. They were preparing for prom when their teacher gave them an assignment. The girls must complete and submit their assignment with no extra time, considering they had to prepare for prom. The girls’ situation became worse when they started reading their secrets in the school’s paper column. They were all disappointed because all along, the ghostwriter has been their friend Yasmin. After some days away from their friend, the girls realized that they miss each other dearly. They forgave themselves and made a prom destined for obscurity. It was to be the best night of their lives. They were also to do their art teacher’s assignment too.
6. Max Steel – Mattel
Max Steel is an action figure toy line by Mattel, produced in 1999. There have been seven animation movies produced based on the Max Steel toy line. The first production was in 2004 titled “Max Steel: Endangered Species.” This movie depicts Max Steel trying to stop two evil geniuses from world domination. Psycho and Bio-Con had initially joined forces to make all of humanity their slaves. But Psycho betrayed Bio-Con and had him killed. Max now has the responsibility of stopping this mad evil genius from actualizing his plan. Max successfully stopped Psycho. In doing so, he awakens a more brutal villain who he had to contend with in the next series of the cartoon.
5. Action Man – Palitoy/Hasbro
Action Man is an action figure produced in the United Kingdom by Palitoy in 1966. Hasbro’s G.I Joe inspires this action figure. Action Man has seen three animated movies modeled after it. The original is Action Man: Robot Atak, produced in 2004. The movie depicts that the notorious foe of Action Man, “No-Face”, had framed the Action Force of a kidnapping. He had kidnapped Professor Moran to make him mind-controlling gas to control all of earth’s population. No-face had also released X-robot to cause havoc all over the world. Unfortunately, the police are trying to arrest Action Man and the Action Force. The Action Force manages to escape the police barricade on their base, and they tracked down No-face and Dr. X to stop them, which they did successfully.
4. Lego – Lego Group
The Lego is a block-like plastic interlocking construction toy usually accompanied by gears and Minifigures. Since 1962, the Lego Group has manufactured these figures. One can put these pieces together to produce any desired form or shape. People can also disassemble these figures and use them to create another form entirely. There have been up to ten adaptations of the Lego shape as an animated cartoon series, with the first being “The Adventures of Clutch Powers.” The Adventures of Clutch Powers, just like the title, depicts the adventures of an explorer and a master builder, Clutch Powers. With his new teammates, Brick Masterson, a fire-fighter, Peg Mooring, a biologist, and Bernie von Beam, an engineer, went from the Lego City to solve mysteries fight for good.
3. G.I Joe – Hasbro
G.I Joe is an action figure line produced by Hasbro in 1964. The G.I Joe toy line has had three animated movies modeled after it, with the first being G.I Joe: The Movie made in 1987. The movie portrays the G.I Joes as the only force standing in the way of a terrorist group called Cobra. In association with an evil reptilian race of people, Cobra is more determined than ever for world domination. The universe’s hope is with the newly recruited Joes after their fearless leader since the rest of the elite squad had failed to be efficient.
2. My Little Pony – Hasbro
My Little Pony is a unique toy line produced by Hasbro in 1981, but the toys launched only a year later. Although the toys primarily targeted at the young female, older generations accepted the more recent cartoons, Friendship is Magic, and created a fandom called “Bronies.” My Little Pony already has eleven animated movie series, with the twelfth scheduled for release in September 2021. “My Little Pony: The Movie” is the first of this series, produced in 1986. The movie shows a happy pony settlement called “Dream Castle.” There, ponies were preparing for their festival, then the evil witch, Hydia, and her daughters tried to destroy the ponies. The ponies requested three humans, Megan, Danny, and Molly, to save them from the evil witch.
1. Transformers – Hasbro/Takara Tomy
The enormous Hasbro introduced the Transformers toy line, consisting of transforming mechanical beings, to the word, where Takara Tomy produced the line in. Hasbro began production of these toys in 1984. Since their debut, Transformers has inspired over 20 different cartoon series and two animated movies.
After the success of Sunbow’s 1984 cartoon series, Nelson Shin produced The Transformers: The Movie. The movie depicts two types of Transformers, the Decepticons and the Autobots. Autobots are the heroes of the movie, and Optimus Prime leads this group in the hopes for peace. Decepticons are their evil counterparts who always aim for world domination and destruction that Megatron leads. The movie shows Cybertron, the Transformers home planet, which Decepticons have conquered. Optimus Prime and his fellow Autobots had to settle on one of Cybertron’s moon to try and reclaim their planet.
After a fateful battle at Autobot City, Optimus and Megatron were both gravely injured. Originally, Optimus passed the Autobots’ leadership to his protégé, Ultra Magnus. Meanwhile, Megatron’s second-in-command left him for dead. However, both Autobots and Decepticons must put their differences aside to conquer a new threat, the planet eater Unicron. While no one had proven to be the true new leader of the Autobots, the young Hot Rod finally Rodimus Prime after activating the matrix to save his home from Unicron. Thus, he led the Autobots to victory and reclaimed Cybertron.
There is a phenomenon that many toy lovers are cartoon fans. To market a toy line or give it increased publicity, toy companies now use animations and cartoons for marketing their toys. Cartoons give new life to characters and toys, made colorful, and presented in a way the targeted audience will understand.
About the author
Author: Chris Ingledue
Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!