B2B/B2C Copywriter and Marketing Consultant


Savvy Marketing

Hatchimals: A Holiday Marketing Lesson


Okay - confession time. I honestly had an entirely different holiday marketing post planned. But the educator in me can’t resist talking about this, so here goes.

If you have kids, or you shop for kids, you may have heard of Hatchimals. It's one of the hot toys of the year, and joins the ranks of the Cabbage Patch dolls and Tickle Me Elmos of years past.

So, what are Hatchimals and why am I talking about them? Hatchimals are interactive bird robotics toys that begin life inside an egg. They are essentially “born” and the color of the bird remains unknown until it hatches. Pretty cool right? You can learn more about them here.

Hatchimals are currently nowhere to be found except through price gauging resellers on Amazon and eBay. Retailers like Toys R Us currently have waiting lists a mile long. The craze over Hatchimals provides an opportunity to explore several marketing questions:

Is it Real or Planned?

Whenever “hot” items run out at retailers, consumers always ask themselves if it was intentional, or if they underestimated the supply. In the case of Hatchimals, I do feel it was unplanned, but there are certainly many cases of planned scarcity for the sake of driving sales. Is it ethical? Maybe not. But it can be effective. Brands shouldn’t cross that fine line because it can easily turn into negative public opinion. For a brand to undertake scarcity tactics there needs to be sufficient research and data to back up the potential success of the strategy.

Should You Buy Into it?

That’s clearly a very personal decision. In my experience, both professionally and as a consumer, the fanfare will quiet and you can eventually secure these items.

Is It Worth It for the Brand?

Once the scarcity factor dies down, what happens next? Will those consumers continue to buy, or will they move on to other brands? It is essential that the brand build customer loyalty during the scarcity period to avoid having their product become a one-time purchase. Or worse face consumer backlash.

How do you feel about scarcity marketing tactics? Sound off in the comments.

P.S. Let me know if you find a Hatchimal.