It is 60 years due to the fact that Mr Potato Head starred in the world's very first television toy advert. Did the plastic spud unleash the era of afflict power?

With his bulbous nose, perpendicular ears and rictus grin, he makes for an unlikely-looking company trailblazer.

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And yet an sector worth millions fan its really existence to the synthetic, tuberous figurine that is mr Potato Head.

In commercials transfer in the us in April 1952, he became, follow to manufacturers Hasbro, the an initial toy advertised ~ above television.

It was an innovation that, by pitching directly to the product's juvenile target market, ushered in a post-war era in which children were particularly targeted as a consumer demographic.

In doing so, however, mr Potato Head would pave the method for complaints indigenous generations of parental that kids were gift urged to pester them for many commercially available treats - a procedure known in the UK as "pester power" and in the united state as the "nag factor".

Look earlier at at an early stage adverts native the 1950s because that the spud-based plaything, however, and it's striking just how old-fashioned and also cumbersome they appear today, through a cartoon character closely explaining to a pair of clean-cut all-American youngsters just how the toy works.

But according to Paul Kurnit, a brand-new York-based proclaiming executive who has actually helped promote toys favor GI Joe, My tiny Pony and Mr Potato Head, the project was madness radical because that its time.


The an extremely concept of fostering brands in 30-second slots was still a new technique, that says. And also previously, toy adverts in newspapers and also magazines had usually been pitched at those paying for them - parental - quite than the children themselves.

"The idea of putting adverts to youngsters on tv was a brand brand-new concept," Kurnit says. "It was revolutionary due to the fact that it hadn't been done before. It to be a dramatically new idea to key to children."

Certainly, its affect was felt in successive generations together the heralding industry searched for new ways to market youngsters their wares.

Nostalgic adults may look back fondly ~ above jingles from your youth which implored them come buy a Slinky, a Barbie or an action Man.

But successive research studies have displayed that the commercialisation of childhood - no to point out the ever-present are afraid of torment power - space serious pertains to for parents.

A 2010 report by the Mothers' Union - an global Christian charity - found three-fifths that parents believed advertising viewed by kids was harmful come them.

"Childhood is now an additional marketing opportunity. It's another niche market," claims Rachel Aston, co-author of the report.

"But our main worry is the impact it has on the relationship in between parent and also child as soon as parents are consistently having actually to refuse requests come buy things."

As a result, many Western countries have voluntarily or statutory regulation intended to deal with such anxieties.

In the UK, the proclaiming Standards Authority, an independent human body which monitor the industry, has actually strict rules on what can be displayed in commercials. Under the Committee of proclaiming Practice code, adverts have to not "encourage to ask their parents, guardians or various other persons to buy or enquire around a product or service for them".

Yet fears persist, leading prime Minister David Cameron to propose an education and learning programme to promote awareness of proclaiming techniques and also banning the use of under-16s as "brand ambassadors" in peer-to-peer marketing campaigns.

For your part, the advertising and also toy sectors alike insist they behave responsibly. Indeed, Kurnit argues that both have thrived most once their commercials have supported imaginative play fairly than kids as passive consumers.

He recognises that torment power exists, but insists the the an altering status of kids within the household in emerged nations has had actually a much greater impact than any commercial campaign.

The answer, the argues, is not additional restrictions on the industry yet greater parental responsibility.

"Unfortunately i think the phenomenon is real but it's lot bigger 보다 the proclaiming business," that says. "The increase of the child has actually come together a increase in the permissiveness the parents. You can't exonerate adverts but they haven't been the major factor.

"More and an ext parents are dedicated to being their children's friends quite than their children's parents. They can't speak no. I think we have a nursing crisis."

While the Mothers' Union study uncovered 75% of parental agreed the regulators were answerable for the content of media and also advertising seen by their children, part 61% agreed the duty lay v mothers and also fathers themselves.

However, also the most conscientious might find it difficult to screen every nuance of their offspring's media diet.

Brian Young, an experienced in the psychology of proclaiming at the university of Exeter, has performed extensive research right into children's expertise of media and also marketing.

He draws a difference between the capability of younger and also older kids to grasp when who is trying to market them something.


"We are all susceptible to proclaiming to some extent," the says. "But kids don't really think that heralding is anything yet entertainment until they are about six or 7 years the age.

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"The sector is much much more aware these days the talking around the child market is not great PR. But they'll play up to the wire when it pertains to regulation."

Whether the price lies in further regulation or in families limiting access to the remote control is a question that will rumble on.

Parents attempting come exercise control over your children's commercial influences have a rapidly changing landscape come confront, with social media and also in-game advertising - that is, declaring in video and computer system games - the latest devices to market wares to the young.