Toymakers are finding that TikTok virality is very good for sales.
Zuru and IMC Toys–the developers of Mini Brands and VIP Pets, respectively–told CNBC they attribute recent record sales to the millions upon millions of weekly views driven by TikTok unboxing videos.
For the unfamiliar, Mini Brands are tiny, blind-boxed replicas of real-world products, and they’re a longtime staple of the massive, multiplatform toy unboxing genre. VIP Pets (think My Little Pony, except it’s dogs with color-changing hair) are a newer entrant, having debuted earlier this summer, but already they too have begun appearing in thousands of videos across sites like YouTube and Facebook.
Zuru and IMC, however, seem especially impressed with their reception on TikTok. Zuru said that collectively, TikTok videos starring Mini Brands bring between 20 and 25 million views per week. That attention recently pushed the line’s flagship five-item capsule to all-time-high sales of 250,000 per week in North America alone, it added.
And because of all that organic enthusiasm generated on TikTok, Zuru has begun sponsoring videos from creators on the platform.
“TikTok is unique in the fact that a user does not require a large following in order for a video to go viral,” Renee Lee, vice president of global marketing at Zuru, told CNBC. “So, we actively look for super creative brand fans to work with versus just looking at high-profile influencers.”
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IMC Toys is also taking a shot sponsorship. Its latest ad campaign involved TikTok influencers soaking VIP Pets in water to reveal the toys’ mystery hair colors, then unboxing all their accessories and setting up “salons” to style them.
The campaign brought 5.7 million views, plus double the number of clicks and six times more engagement than previous campaigns run on other platforms, IMC said.
As for sales, “In the U.S., initial retail quantities sold out in just two weeks and retailers chased inventory to restock for the holiday season,” the company told CNBC. Interest from TikTok users “gave us an edge among competitors and boosted the overall appeal,” it added.
IMC has since earmarked a further $1.8 million to develop more VIP Pets.