Every so often, online video creation leads to a full-fledged branding explosion. A few highly-watched videos can turn a product into an empire. We’ve seen it happen for individuals with questionable talents as well as for crude animation. Now the world of children’s programming and toy marketing has stepped away from Saturday morning network television and hopped onto mommy and daddy’s laptop.
Mattel’s Monster High dolls, which are like Bratz dolls who’ve watched too many episodes of the Groovie Goolies, are a break-out online viral hit — as well as a sold-out success in toy stores. The ladies of Monster High, who are feminine spins on popular spooky characters like the Wolf man, Frankenstein and Dracula, will likely be remembered as the brand that took that must-have toy magic and spun it for a new generation. The YouTube channel for the dolls gives you an immediate indication that this line of toys is no joke. With nearly 50k subscribers and 3 million channel views, Monster High’s short cartoons have legions of devoted fans. And although the humor and animation aren’t exactly revolutionary, Monster High is a standout among online videos because it’s aimed at a specific toy-buying youth audience. Filled with puns and silly high school plots, the cartoons manage to accomplish what traditional Saturday morning fare does, but in under 5 minutes. It’s cartoon gold for the ADD generation.
The site for Monster High serves as a hub for all things devoted to the product — online games, music and links to the products — but the videos are front and center. Mattel knows if kids can get hooked on the online videos, getting them to buy the products will be a snap. It’s trick as old as Scooby-Doo but one that clearly still works. In fact, the Monster High Hydration Station has been named by several know-it-alls as one of this year’s must-have toys for the holidays. Plus with a book series, network television specials and a video game, Monster High has transcended viral marketing and become a brand with scary longevity.