The holidays can be a confusing time for parents looking to buy the perfect gifts for the kid in their family. With so many options it’s hard to find the right toy for the right kid. That’s where Kmart has come in to help. Kmart puts together a list every year of the hottest toys of the season to make sure parents can find what they are looking for.
The Fab 15, released in September, is a list of the 15 hottest toys for the gift-giving season. Presented by “Fun-Ambassador” Rico Rodriguez, from Modern Family, he makes sure he kid approves all the items on the list.
BSCkids got the chance to interview Julia Fitzgerald, Sears Holdings Corporation CMO, Toys and Seasonal. She talked with us about how they select the toys for the Fab 15, and how they choose the items each year.
BSCKIDS: Julia Fitzgerald
BSCkids: Are there any toys that you feel should have been on the Fab 15 that weren’t included?
Julia Fitzgerald: Of course! There are tons of great toys out there—more than we can fit onto a list of 15. But having said that, we work really hard to research the top toys for the season to narrow the list down to the 15 that we think will really excite kids and also keep parents happy with their purchasing decisions.
We make sure the Fab 15 list consists of a variety of toys that will be sure to keep the kids entertained for months to come—way beyond the holidays.
When did Kmart start doing the Fab 15 and why?
This year marks the third year we have compiled and released the Fab 15 toy list. We know how overwhelming and hectic the holidays can be, especially for parents shopping for their kids. We created the Fab 15 in order to provide shoppers a tool that will help them cut through the clutter and recognize the current crop of “must-have” toys that will have kids smiling from ear-to-ear on Christmas morning.
What is your personal favorite item that is on the Fab 15?
That’s a tough one, because all the toys that made our Fab 15 are great items that will satisfy kids of all ages and interests.
A couple toys on the list that stick out for me include Let’s Rock Elmo and Fijit, because they are such lovable characters that all kids can relate to and appreciate. Another favorite is the Simon Flash because it puts a creative new twist to a classic game that everyone loves.
Do you think the items included this year are better than last year?
There are so many new and exciting toys coming out every year that it’s impossible to compare one year’s group with another’s. Our goal is to identify the current top toys that every kid will be asking for during the holiday season.
How do you pick the toys and items that go on the Fab 15 every year?
Over the course of nine months, we worked with toy experts and visited toy industry meetings to research the latest up-and-coming toys. Then we begin to narrow down the list. Some of the things we take into consideration are whether the toys enhance learning and ignite creativity and play. Another element we take into consideration is each item’s price point, because at Kmart, we’re always thinking about providing the best value to our shoppers, and we understand that it’s just as important—if not more so—during the holiday season.
We also worked with Rico Rodriguez for the second consecutive year as Kmart’s official “Fun Ambassador,” to help us make sure that each and every toy that made the Fab 15 is smile guaranteed. With Rico’s approval, we are confident that there is something for every kid on the Fab 15 list.
Are you planning to give any of the items as gifts yourself for this Christmas?
You bet! In fact, I have already started my toy shopping because I know how fast the hot toys go during the holidays.
One great tool that Kmart offers is layaway, so that shoppers can get this season’s “must-have” toys early, pay for them over time and pick them up just in time for the holidays.
How do you pick who is going to be in the Fab 15 commercials (webisodes)?
Rico Rodriguez is this year’s official “Fun Ambassador” for the Kmart Fab 15. We couldn’t ask for a more hard-working and dedicated partner. He utilizes his “kid-pertise” to determine what toys kids will enjoy receiving this holiday season. This is the second year we have had the pleasure of working with Rico; we asked him back because he is such a toy fanatic. He has been a real asset in helping us choose the toys that will be on the final list.
How much do you think the commercials (webisodes) help to increase sales on the items every year?
Last year and again this year, the webisodes featured on Kmart.com/Fab15 have proved to be a fun and interactive way for Rico and viewers to get excited and have some fun before the announcement of the final list. The webisodes have been popular with fans, and we’re sure they have helped raise the profile of the list.
As you can imagine, we all had a blast working with Rico at our toy headquarters on the webisodes and we are sure this year’s 15 toys will make you smile from ear to ear.