Holiday Magazines Rated ‘X’ – For Extreme Sports
It’s not just Pokemon and Teletubbies ruling the magazines anymore.
Not that the little trading card characters or their fuzzy friends aren’t the rage as this holiday’s stocking stuffers. But the popular character brands are joined by a variety of other happening kid stuff, including “Toy Story 2” merchandise.
As far as what else is hip this holiday season (and in general for Gen Y), kids’ magazines – whether Sports Illustrated for Kids or Crayola Kids – feature several noteworthy similarities. Pigtail braids and Playstation games are a recurring theme in the zines, and Generation Girl Barbie’s rainbow-colored hair is fun and stylish these days.
And this winter, perhaps with the emerging popularity of the X Games, so are extreme sports. S2K checked out five kids’ titles – Crayola Kids, SI for Kids, Sesame Street, Nickelodeon and Disney magazines. Here’s what we found there:
Cool Toys: Christmas and Beyond
“Toy Story 2” gizmos top the list of cool kids’ toys featured in magazines. Not only do Woody and Buzz Lightyear grace the Disney cover as expected, they’re also featured in Nickelodeon, SI for Kids and Crayola Kids. Woody also grabbed the cover of last month’s Nickelodeon. Rugrats and Star Wars merchandise came in close seconds in terms of space (including advertising) in which they were plugged, with Rugrats earning the cover space on this month’s Nickelodeon.
As usual, Barbie is a big hit. She’s pictured in Disney’s “Behind the Scenes” section, with an interview with writer Charles Solomon. She’s also featured in the magazine’s “Toy Story 2” article as one of the key characters of the movie.
Finding Pokemon took a bit of digging – Pokemon merchandise only turned up in magazine ads. No signs of Beanie Babies anywhere, but that’s probably due to the magazines staying true to their brands – Disney featured Disney products, Nickelodeon profiled Nickelodeon shows, and Crayola contained all sorts of creative crayon-y crafts for the whole family.
Similar Themes: Y2K, Extreme Sports, How-to Crafts
It’s also no surprise that the December/January issues of the magazines all highlighted Y2K as the big shebang. But each did it differently.
Crayola featured an illustrated story in its Family Reading Corner section called “Smug as a Y2K Bug?”-a poem about a brother and sister preparing for the new year in a fun, silly way. In addition, the magazine featured tons of party suggestions for parents and kids, and crafts they could make together for the new year.
SI for Kids featured quotes from major athletes, such as U.S. Women’s Soccer Team midfielder Julie Foudy, on what they’re doing for New Year’s Eve. Nickelodeon splashed Rugrats celebrating the new year like crazy cosmo babies, floating around space, beneath the heading “Party Like It’s 2000.”
In keeping with the technology theme, email is still on the rise – Sesame Street urged kids to send email to Elmo & Friends at http://www.sesamestreet.com and SI For Kids plugged its own site (http://www.sikids.com) on the cover and inside the book. While the brand titles (Nickelodeon, Crayola and Disney) put their own products in the limelight, there was some crossover.
For instance, Nickelodeon mentioned Britney Spears’ December birthday, although she used to be in Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club. SI for Kids’ big sister, Sports Illustrated for Women, just launched as a bimonthly; and women in sports are increasingly featured in the media.
Mirroring this trend, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team players were a big hit among several titles. Brandi Chastain’s photo popped up all over SI for Kids and in Nickelodeon. SI for Kids also highlighted several other female athletes, including those in extreme sports, such as skysurfer Viviane Wegrath of Zurich, Switzerland. In fact, extreme sports made the covers of SI for Kids with bicycle stunt rider Dave Mirra and Crayola Kids with a kid on a snowboard decked out in snowboard gear.
The ads are especially worth checking out if you’re looking for deep-pocketed potential partners. ‘Tis the season when advertising in the magazines is geared toward both parents and kids.
Ads for “Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish,” A Fox holiday movie, showed up in nearly every magazine.
Web sites for kids and holiday-shopping parents, such as babyz.net and kbkids.com, were also heavily advertised. Cereal ads took a creative twist: Fruity Pebbles ads displayed a “gingerbread house” made out of pieces of the cereal, while Froot Loops ads displayed a picture of Toucan Sam with his cereal in the shape of “2s” and “0s” (similar to “Millennios,” with 2-shaped pasta).
Star Wars computer games, such as Yoda’s Challenge and Jar Jar Binks, reminded us of the popular prequel that kids loved earlier this year, and the Universal video game, Spyro-Ripto’s Rage, was advertised in nearly every magazine.
What’s Cool: snowboards, Toy Story 2, Playstation’s Spyro the Dragon, club kid braids
Getting Cold Already: Pokemon, Y2K party hats, Britney Spears, Elmo and Friends, millennium-inspired food
Steady Temperature: Barbie, Rugrats, Cookie Monster, soccer, Star Wars
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