What are the TOTYs you ask? Why, Toy of the Year, silly! The Toy Industry Association handed out the awards last Saturday, February 13, as part of the kickoff of the American International Toy Fair in New York City (probably the most fun place in North America right now, including Vancouver).
The Zhu Zhu Pet, manufactured by the Clayton-based toy company Cepia LLC, won Toy of the Year and also took home the top award in two categories: Girl Toy of the Year and Most Innovative Toy of the Year.
The Zhu Zhu Pet (which means "little pig" in Chinese) was a surprise bestseller last holiday season. Although the little animatronic hamster retails for $7.99, 2010 sales are projected to reach $300 million. That's not counting the black market Zhu Zhus on EBay or Craigslist.
Says Natalie Hornsby, VP of marketing for Cepia LLC :
Zhu Zhu Pets were the right toy at the right time at the right price. The Toy of the Year award is a great honor and one we share with our retail partners, as well as the millions of parents and kids that have brought Zhu Zhu Pets into their homes. But by no means will we be a one-hit wonder -- there's even more exciting things coming from Zhu Zhu Pets in 2010.In the Girl Toy of the Year category, the Zhu Zhu Pet beat out Just One Kiss Princess Tiana, Barbie Fashionistas and three other dolls that look just like Barbie Fashionistas except for the size of their heads.
The Most Innovative Toy of the Year category was slightly more varied and included the Printies Design Studio, Air Hogs Switchblade and the most impressive-sounding Nerf N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS-35 Blaster.