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Mattel Gambles on Pricey Elmo for Holidays ($60 Elmo doll)
WSJ ^ | 10/10/08 | Nicholas Casey

Posted on 10/10/2008 4:00:43 AM PDT by SilvieWaldorfMD

For nearly two years, designers at Mattel Inc.'s Fisher-Price toiled to hide a maze of copper wires and microchips under the plush red fur of the company's newest Elmo toy. The resulting "Elmo Live" is its most advanced ever, able to cross its legs, flap its arms and fluidly mimic the famous television Muppet.

All that wizardry, however, comes at a steep price. When Elmo Live arrives in stores on Tuesday, it will cost $60 -- about a third more than last year's model, and above the $50 tag that once was the high-water mark for most toys. Elmo Live hits stores as economic uncertainty is gripping consumers and prompting retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and KB Toys Inc. to pitch low-cost toys to lure customers.

Higher prices are an inevitable consequence of toy makers' attempts in recent years to compete with videogames by embracing sophisticated electronics. Coupled with rising transportation costs and labor inflation in China, the result may be the untimely release of high-priced toys.

There is an unusually rich slate of expensive items coming to market this Christmas. In addition to Elmo, Mattel is bringing out a duo of robotic dinosaurs: a $150 toy called D-Rex and another priced at $130 called Spike. Hasbro Inc. is offering a $180 robotic dog called Biscuit that responds to voice commands and wags its tail. Jakks Pacific Inc. is selling a new pair of night vision $80 goggles that let kids see in the dark.

"When we were talking about it even a year ago, the economy was in a different place," concedes Mattel Brands President Neil Friedman. Elmo Live still costs "less than a tank of gas," says Robert Eckert, chairman and chief executive of El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: bailout; business; economy; elmo; financialcrisis; globaleconomy; holidays; mattel; sesamestreet; toys; toysrus
Would you spend $60 for a talking Elmo doll in this economy?
1 posted on 10/10/2008 4:00:44 AM PDT by SilvieWaldorfMD
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Would you spend $60 for an NPR, Chinese Elmo Doll that has been dipped in lead?


2 posted on 10/10/2008 4:02:51 AM PDT by IbJensen (Ali Bama isn't going to make it!)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD
Would you spend $60 in any economy for a 4 year old to drag through the yard?

Not me!

3 posted on 10/10/2008 4:05:02 AM PDT by Coldwater Creek ("There is no insanity greater than electing a pathological Narcissist as president.")
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

able to cross its legs, flap its arms and fluidly mimic the famous television Muppet.

Sounds like NoBama.


4 posted on 10/10/2008 4:06:38 AM PDT by bikerman (_ _ . /_ _ _ /_ . . / / . . . . / . / . _ . . / . _ _ . / / . . _ / . . . //)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Times have changed
5 posted on 10/10/2008 4:08:31 AM PDT by ari-freedom ("He (Obama) cannot win, Bill. He cannot win" -Hillary)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Mortgage Me Elmo


6 posted on 10/10/2008 4:09:42 AM PDT by CriticalJ
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

I guess I could afford a $60 Elmo if I didn’t pay my mortgage. . .


7 posted on 10/10/2008 4:10:42 AM PDT by Think free or die
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Tickle me wallet.


8 posted on 10/10/2008 4:14:42 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: Think free or die

I could afford a $60 Elmo because I saved a lot of money by switching to Geico!


9 posted on 10/10/2008 4:15:12 AM PDT by ari-freedom ("He (Obama) cannot win, Bill. He cannot win" -Hillary)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Well, whatever you do, don’t get them THIS doll

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKahCRbWnkw


10 posted on 10/10/2008 4:16:51 AM PDT by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, John 11:25, 14:6, 1 Tim 2:5, John 3:17-18, John 20:31, 1 John 5:13, John 6:69)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Haha, I dig it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVUPTTkIBVI


11 posted on 10/10/2008 4:17:52 AM PDT by avid
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

a young Algore checks to see if this earlier Mattel product is loaded.

12 posted on 10/10/2008 4:19:56 AM PDT by Vaquero
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To: CriticalJ

ROFL


13 posted on 10/10/2008 4:20:04 AM PDT by kenth (Will Rogers never met Barack Obama.)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

if it were an animal, kermit, gonzo or a rowlf, maybe. but i can’t stand elmo.


14 posted on 10/10/2008 4:22:43 AM PDT by absolootezer0 ( Detroit: we're so bad, even our mayor is a criminal)
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To: absolootezer0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DpDtQ_uews&NR=1


15 posted on 10/10/2008 4:36:11 AM PDT by Vaquero ("an armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

I bet there are people standing in line at the toy stores already.


16 posted on 10/10/2008 4:44:39 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD
How about:

Johnny Mortgage Banker!


17 posted on 10/10/2008 4:45:53 AM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD
This is indeed pretty stupid, Silvie. I've got a three-year-old son with more toys than he can possibly ever play with (courtesy of grandparents, friends, co-workers, etc.) Some of them are quite sophisticated and take some dexterity and thought to operate. Needless to say, those are the ones that sit at the bottom of his toy chest.

Instead, he LOVES his $.97 Hot Wheels cars and various rubber balls, which he can throw and kick at will. We also have a couple of foam pirates swords that I got real cheap at Kay-B-Toys for our nightly light saber battles in Mommie's kitchen. :)

$60 Elmo? No thanks!

18 posted on 10/10/2008 4:46:04 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin is a smart missile aimed at the heart of the left!)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Government Bailout Elmo? “Ha ha ha, we’re all socialists now. Ha ha ha, tickle me again, comrade.”


19 posted on 10/10/2008 4:48:16 AM PDT by ClaudiusI
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Sales of these dolls will fall like a drunk on a three day bender.


20 posted on 10/10/2008 5:09:24 AM PDT by RU88 (The false messiah can not change water into wine any more than he can get unity from diversity.)
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To: ClaudiusI

LOL!!!!

“Paying taxes is patriotic! I want a stimulus check!
Tickle me, comrade!”


21 posted on 10/10/2008 5:11:55 AM PDT by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner

Agreed.

My 7-year-old has always loved the most inexpensive & cheapest toys.... and my husband and I would never buy him such an expensive toy, even if he were kicking & screaming at ToysRUs.... if he gets a Nintendo DS or a VTech in the future, it will have to be with gift cards given by family members for his birthday and/or Christmas.


22 posted on 10/10/2008 5:24:08 AM PDT by SilvieWaldorfMD (Airlines can take their $15-per-checked-bag surcharge and shove it!)
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To: IbJensen

The doll is probably dipped in lead and says “Death to America. LOL


23 posted on 10/10/2008 5:27:54 AM PDT by dforest (Is there any good idea out there that Obama doesn't lay claim to anymore?)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Did you see the cable coming out its back??

I’ll be suspicious if the description says “for bathtime fun”.


24 posted on 10/10/2008 5:37:18 AM PDT by LoveUSA (I'm for "Big Mac and the Cuda")
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To: silverleaf

“Elmo can’t verify income. Give me a mortgage! Now! or I will sue you racist b-tards! ha ha ha.”


25 posted on 10/10/2008 5:46:39 AM PDT by Vermont Lt (I am not from Vermont. I lived there for four years and that was enough.)
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To: bikerman
Sounds like NoBama.

At least Elmo doesn't hide the fact that he's red.

26 posted on 10/10/2008 6:29:02 AM PDT by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Just put it on plastic.... the folks with enormous credit card debt are next in line for a bailout.


27 posted on 10/10/2008 6:33:11 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD

Yes!!! Time to short Mattel.


28 posted on 10/10/2008 6:36:11 AM PDT by King Moonracer (Bad lighting and cheap fabric, thats how you sell clothing.)
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To: SilvieWaldorfMD
Would you spend $60 for a talking Elmo doll in this economy?

It depends on at least two factors. One is where the toy is produced. Another is the actual time spent by the child and the enjoyment thereof. Of course I know that you know the answers but for people like myself, I ask can we ever learn?

Years ago, I heard London accented women laughingly quip, that the child spent more time playing with the box the toy came in. Again, I would like to swap knowledge with others. I have an 13 month old grandson. Wife now doing duty as per usual.

The little chap was overloaded with bright plastic toys. Trucks, push button voices on a big layout- "lets get moving". A variety of toys and some with wheels- what more could a child want.

He goes to a VCR and pushes buttons. He goes to my computer and pushes the DVD button. He carries about a plastic real radio. After an intial interest in the bright toys- he just is not interested.

Well, at least the pleasure is in the giving, as well as helping the retailers.

29 posted on 10/10/2008 8:44:10 AM PDT by Peter Libra
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To: Peter Libra
To self.

Whoa there, my wife just told me the toys have to be removed from the child completely and then -Viola, a big surprise later..... (lol).

30 posted on 10/10/2008 8:46:13 AM PDT by Peter Libra
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To: Peter Libra; Drumbo
Whoa there, my wife just told me the toys have to be removed from the child completely and then -Viola, a big surprise later..... (lol). Why, I think you have hit upon this year's strategy, Mr. Libra. That's some good thinkin'! :-D
31 posted on 10/10/2008 4:13:18 PM PDT by Titan Magroyne ("Drill now drill hard drill often and give old Gaia a cigarette afterwards she deserves it." HerrBlu)
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