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The Phenomenon

A fad, a style, a trend, whatever you want to call it. You know what I’m talking about; we’ve all faced them. Whether it is Furbies, Webkinz, Ugg boots or even Smencils; we’ve all had that one thing that made us say “But mom, everyone has one...”


For me, it all began in third grade…Webkinz (a plush toy you could access online) swept across my class; everyone had one. My classmates had everything from hippos to turtles; one girl in my class had 50 webkinz and a mansion for her pets! From there it just got worse, pretty soon parents were standing in line for hours waiting for these toys and buying them on Ebay for three times their market value. The webkinz company immediately took advantage of the crazed children (and parents) and began adding expensive add-ons such as trading cards and eventually an e-store. But who really brought this insane craze onto us? Was it the media or the Ganz Company who created these plush products? No, it was the general public! The irony of the matter is that the company never released a commercial or printed a magazine ad; Webkinz became popular solely by word of mouth.


So, how does a phenomenon begin? It all starts with ONE person.
Companies often use the “follow the leader” concept to get the ball rolling; they ship products to “popular” children, so they can convince the “followers” to buy it too. When all the kids see the “cool” kid with something, they want one too. This philosophy doesn’t just apply to the younger demographic; it applies to the teens too. Look at the Ugg boot phenomenon; have you ever seen a magazine advertisement for the furry boots?
No! It’s the same “You jump, I jump Jack” philosophy, they implant the boots in the middle and high schools and eventually it takes the school but storm.


The fates of these products are essentially in our hands, we can control whether it will be the next Webkinz or go down the drain as quickly as Microsoft’s Zune mp3 player. We could stop this madness right in its tracks and never see an endless line of parents fighting over toys at 3 in the morning again, but it will never end. It’s in our nature to follow what the rest crowd. Although, without this tendency where would our
society be? Would we still be living in caves and rubbing sticks together? Or would we be enjoying 4-D television? The world will never know for sure, because we can’t change who we are.





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This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Mia15 said...
Dec. 26, 2010 at 5:24 pm
loved your piece! So true what you said. ... Please keep writing, love to read more.
 
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