September 19, 2006

TMX Puts The "Eh" In Elmo

tmx_elmo.jpgTen years, and this is all they can come up with? A doll that still only does one thing: waves his arm and falls on the ground?

Except for the addition of an off switch, I can't see how this is functionally, playably, any different from the Tickle Me, Elmo or Whatever Me, Elmos of the past.

Never mind that in the first video I saw, with the Elmo in profile, it looked like he was playing, alright--with himself. Or that the only thing more inevitable than the spoon-fed "it's already for sale on eBay! for twice as much!" news stories are the Psycho shower scene re-enactments on YouTube. [Anyone want to give an over/under for how long that'll take?]

Seeing such an underwhelming toy get so much hype--solely from adults, mind you--should make it crystal clear whose need TMX Elmo is designed to fill: the toy industry's and parents who have a grossly stunted imagination about their kids.

So until someone sends along hard of evidence of an actual child making unprompted demands for an Elmo with a more full-bodied, multi-stage, animatronic tickle, or until someone hacks TMX Elmo's little robot brain to make him into a programmable breakdancer, I'll get my Xtreme [tm] from my yogurt.

Top Secret Elmo Revealed! [sic] [cnn top stories]
Previously: TMX Elmo #1 currently $2,550 $3,550 on eBay
Manipulate Me, Elmo! The TMX Elmo press release reveals how the Christmas sausage is made


Great comment-"A doll that still only does one thing: waves his arm and falls on the ground?"
Only problem is (as a manufacturer of dolls for over 20 years) for a retail of $40.00 that is an incredible retail! WOW what an accomplishment for a $19.99 retail product (maximum) to be able to build in $20.00 each item for advertising cost! Guess I went to the wrong school as I can't even think/consider building in additional cost of $20.00 per item for advertising cost to the public in these times as a father of two and independant "small" business man! We have "very" savy consumers during these times so maybe giving the customer a value and let them decide would be kinder and gentler offer!

[as a father of one and an independent business man, I can sympathize, but my point is that that's $20 of parent-targeted hype. This is a toy designed first and foremost to be hyped and bought, not designed to play with. And the notion that the new trick makes it somehow a better, richer, more compelling, or longer-lasting play--and thus worth 2X the price--strikes me as ridiculous. Do they sell this thing as "twice the playtime as TME? Are 4 out of 5 nannies surveyed recommending TMX for their charges who play with Elmo? No, they're trying to drum up parental frenzy and create artificial shortages as a marketing/retail ploy. As an ex-suit MBA, that's fine, even interesting to me. As a parent, it's utterly irrelevant to my purchase decisions and my kid's play experience. -ed.]

I enjoyed a quote from the manufacturer stating that because this new elmo is so complex, and the technology is so advanced, tmx elmos take longer to build than previous elmo dolls. Thus, we can naturally assume that there will be a shortage this holidays season, despite the best efforts of the company. Uh-huh.

I agree that while it may be amusing to watch for a few moments, I just don't see much long term play value here.

To quote Tom Hanks in the movie Big, "I don't get it."

(scene when John Heard pitches the skyscraper transformers)

Seriously, I don't get it either. And we were not planning on making room for one in my home until I got an email from a Grandma who said, "Don't buy the TMX Elmo for Christmas, I already pre-ordered it." Ug. I really wish she had asked me first.

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