OLDIES BUT GOODIES: Some of the Biggest Toy Brands of Yesteryear Are Making a Comeback


By Debbie Dunn

What’s old is new again, and vintage brands are expected to be the biggest hits for 2015 on the toy aisle. Many of these brands have reinvented themselves in modern ways with digital, entertainment content and more to reach today’s savvy kid consumer. These beloved brands still offer the same trusted attributes that parents (and even grandparents) knew and loved.

Described as vintage, nostalgic, classic and ageless, some of these brands are actually AARP qualified. Here’s a look at some of the most popular and seasoned brands expected to blow off the shelves this year. Cha-ching.


Girl Scouts (102 Years Old)

Founded in 1912, the Girls Scouts boasts more than 59 million women alumnae in the U.S. Until recently, the Girl Scouts only product available to consumers were the famous Girl Scout Cookies®. Year after year, Girl Scout Cookies® are the second best-selling cookie on the market despite only being available each year for a short six to eight week timeframe. Now, girls can bring the cookie magic home with the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven. This real working oven by Wicked Cool Toys, LLC comes complete with tools and mixes that allow girls to make Girl Scout Cookies® that look and taste just like the real thing. Make your favorites like Thin Mints® and Trefoils® all year-round for SRP is $59.99.


Colorforms (64 Years Old)

Founded in 1951, Colorforms is one of the oldest and best-known brands in the toy industry. It was one of the first plastic-based creative toy, and one of the first toys ever advertised on television. The first boxed sets featured basic geometric shapes and bright primary colors, and over time grew to include hundreds of sets from popular animated characters and more. Since its inception, more than 1 billion Colorforms play sets have been sold. Named one of the Top 100 Toys of All Time by Time Magazine, Colorforms relaunches Fall 2015 with the hottest names in children’s entertainment including Frozen, Despicable Me, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more. SRP’s for every comfort level: $2.99 to $29.99.


Star Wars (38 Years Old)

Most know the story, in 1977 toyco Kenner licensed the rights to the Star Wars brand to produce action figures based on characters in the original Star Wars movie trilogy. Over 100 unique action figures were produced and sold from 1978 to 1985, during which time over 300 million Star Wars action figures were sold. And since the new iterations came out in starting in 1999, these toys haven’t left store shelves since. In 2015, Uncle Milton is introducing a line of Star Wars toys that are truly science-based. (Finally!) On shelf this Fall is The Force Trainer II: The Hologram Experience which uses the power of your mind to recreate your favorite Star Wars scenes with hologram images. Control your destiny to become Jedi Masters for the SRP of $119.99.


Strawberry Shortcake (35 Years Old) & Care Bears (33 Years Old)
American Greetings has enjoyed much success over the years with its core brands and the key to keeping them relevant with each new generation of fans is with innovative marketing and sales tactics, from the Toys R’ Us Geoffrey Jumbo Tron in Times Square to premiering their straight-to-DVD product via in-theater promotions and more. Recently, the company has created quite a buzz for its crowd sourcing, digital apps, streaming video, social media channels and more keeping their brands truly evergreen.


First created in 1977 by an American Greetings greeting card designer, Strawberry Shortcake entered the toy market three years later in 1980. During the 1980’s Strawberry Shortcake was a mega-hit for young girls throughout the U.S. Since then, Strawberry Shortcake and her berry best friends have seen several updated looks to cater to the current marketplace, but her wholesome values and strength of character remain the same. These days the doll line by The Bridge Direct includes a singing doll and a stage show playset, a styling doll complete with hair extensions and more. The 35th Birthday Celebration doll line is due out later this year and includes a classic anniversary ragdoll reminiscent of the original – still berry sweetly scented. And as a true social maven, Strawberry, has more followers than you shake a Berry Bitty stick at proving “Anything is Possible.”


The Care Bears are a group of playful, multi-colored characters created by American Greetings for use on greeting cards in 1981. In 1983, plush toys were introduced on store shelves to caring fans everywhere. Each Care Bear comes in a different color and has a specialized insignia (Belly Badge) on its tummy that represents its unique power. Several looks over the years have brought us to the new iteration of Care Bears which are more vibrant and colorful than ever. Today’s Care Bears are 50% more huggable. The true stand-out among the crowd on shelves this Fall is the Care Bears Sing-a-longs by Just Play that interacts with one another (SRP of $29.99.) The Care Bears have also launched an exciting campaign, #ShareYourCare which speaks to the core values of the brand and reminds all of us how important caring and sharing is in our world today. Sharing goes even further with Care Bears and Cousins series premiering on Netflix early 2016.


Cabbage Patch Kids (33 Years Old)

Created by Xavier Roberts in 1978, these iconic dolls were massed produced for store shelves starting in 1982, setting off a holiday frenzy. Cabbage Patch Kids went on to become one of the most popular toys of the 1980s and one of the longest-running dolls franchises of all time in the U.S. Now Wicked Cool Toys has taken the reigns with dozens of styles and SRPs ranging from $9.99 to a whopping $329.99 for the girl who has everything. And the original birthplace of all Cabbage Patch Kids still is Babyland General Hospital, located in Cleveland, GA. This old converted clinic continues to serves as a retail unit and theme park (birthing, nursery and adoption center) where fans can adopt premium Cabbage Patch Kids in person.


Power Rangers (22 Years Old in America – 40 Years Old in Japan)

Go-Go power franchise! Power Rangers is a long-running American entertainment and merchandising power-house built around a live action children’s series featuring teams of costumed characters and (many times) silly-looking villains. Catapulted to popularity during the early 1990’s with a line of action figures and playsets by Bandai, the franchise is the longest running boys action series on television with 22 seasons to its name. Continuing to morph on shelf, Power Rangers is back in a big way with Bandai continuing at the helm. The latest toy line brings dozens of the iconic Moprhers, Zords, Megazords, dinos, battle gear, and action figures to boys hungry for adventure.    The centerpiece of The Power Rangers arsenal is the Deluxe Megazord (SRP $34.99) allowing fans to morph three Zords to bring the ultimate strength to battle.


So popular are these retro toy brands to kids (of yesterday and today) that a “Toy Time Machine” tour is planned for Fall 2015 to help fans go “back to the good ol’ days.” H.G. Wells would be proud.


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