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Teddy Bear / Plush Toy Study Victoria's Secret PINK by Chauncey Zalkin
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Teddy Bear / Plush Toy Study Victoria's Secret PINK by Chauncey Zalkin

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Looking at storytelling, fashion iconography, pop culture, trends, identity, and ideas of romance I explored meaning, memory, and the cultural role of plush animals for young women (not girls)......

Looking at storytelling, fashion iconography, pop culture, trends, identity, and ideas of romance I explored meaning, memory, and the cultural role of plush animals for young women (not girls) using the Girl on the street network.

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  • 1. What Stuffed Animals Mean to Girls All Over the World… An In-depth Look at Plush Contact Chauncey Zalkin Chauncey@girlonthestreet.com 718.622.9557 / 917.596.7659 Confidential and Proprietary © 2004 Girl-on-the-street ®
  • 2. Table of Contents Overview In Art The Language of Fashion Emotional Resonance – Girls Stories Kindergarten Nostalgia – Fashion Part II The Landscape Cross-Category Cultural Observations & Perspectives Spotted Feedback on Pink 2
  • 3. Overview I surveyed 32 young women around the world about their relationship and history with stuffed animals, collecting pictures of stuffed animals that remain part of their lives whether they be on beds, piled on chairs, or tucked away in closets. I went out on the streets of New York and observed the way plush and childhood references fit into the urban landscape, from store windows to a teddy bear strewn empty lot, to a ubiquitous kindergarten trend that permeates fashion, media, design, and merchandising. I interviewed people on the street knocking on one woman’s storefront who designed sophisticated one-of-a-kind stuffed animals (made for adults) until she met video director, Michael Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and began creating entire knit doll worlds for animated music videos. I found another woman on the street doing an art project with a childhood doll that she brought to NY to fulfill “both of their dreams”. From kooky, to cutting edge, to corny, to high glamour - this survey runs the gamut to show all the ways women –and sometimes grown up boys –incorporate childhood toys into their adult lives. 3
  • 4. Art
  • 5. Stuffed animal art and music video entirely knit by hand “Tom Loves NYC & So Do I” by Joanne Morton by Lauri Faggioni 5
  • 6. The Language of Fashion
  • 7. Fashion-Forward Lifestyle shawanimals.com 7
  • 8. Gucci Ad, Jalouse Magazine 8
  • 9. Girls Bedroom, Teen Vogue 9
  • 10. As Accessories 10
  • 11. As Accessories 11
  • 12. Textile Graphics At TG170, Lower East Side, NYC Arden B., knock-off line, at the mall 12
  • 13. Merchandising The Diesel Store Window, W. Broadway, NYC 13
  • 14. Merchandising NYC Referencing Dolls and Girlishness at a Hip Lower East Side Store: 14
  • 15. Merchandising NYC Mixed with Classic Vintage: 15
  • 16. Merchandising Mall in Orlando, FL 16
  • 17. Emotional Resonance – Girls Stories
  • 18. Emotional Resonance – Girls Stories Growing up, I had a lot of stuffed toys. …When I got older, I stopped caring what other people thought and took Pinky, my first bear, out of the closet and put him back on my bed. If you had them all over the house, it would be a bit childish but I think everyone has at least one teddy or stuffed toy. Bears are more of a child’s toy but you could get a stuffed dog at any age. I would not buy myself a bear or stuffed dog but it would be nice to get one as a gift. -Hayley Laws, 20, Australia 18
  • 19. Emotional Resonance – Girls Stories They were such good friends to me and the idea of them sitting in a Salvation Army somewhere, with no one to love them, sends shivers up my spine. They’re at my parents house, in my doll cradle, looking happy. I don’t still sleep with them – but I like the idea of keeping them together, like a family. -Aja, DC
  • 20. Emotional Resonance – Girls Stories I have two particular teddies I love to death because they have sentimental value – one my grandpa gave me right before he died and the other one was sent to me by my dad when he was in the gulf war. -Nikki, Houston 20
  • 21. Emotional Resonance – Girls Stories I own tons of stuffed animals…Hello Kitty, San-X…since I live in a dorm room, I know a lot of young women that are still in love with “childlike things” such as Disney, Sanrio, Care Bears, etc. Almost everyone I know here as some sort of stuffed animal on her bed. I even know many boys that brought a beloved teddy bear from home. - Devonny, 19, College Student from Arkansas in Northern California 21
  • 22. Emotional Resonance – Girls Stories All of my stuffed animals are safely housed in my closet. I wouldn’t display them for all to see, because they represent memories… as in they are private and for my enjoyment only! -Shika, 21, Detroit 22
  • 23. Emotional Resonance – Girls Stories A teddy bear with one arm loose that I stuck in the freezer many times sleep walking when I was about 6… when I need a mood lift, I take them out (of the closet). – girl, 22 My panda bear Mumu. I sleep with it every night. – Belen, LA, 20 I kept my stuffed animals but don’t have them on display. It seems juvenile. I still have one I like – a rhino. It doesn’t seem childish and it makes a good neck rest. –Meredith, 20, Washington DC When I went to Europe this summer, I took along a stuffed dog, Peanut, as a mascot. – Sarah, LA 23
  • 24. Emotional Resonance – Girls Stories I am 21 years old and I still have teddy bears and other stuffed animals. They are all grouped together on a shelf in my bedroom. I would be happy for a boyfriend to give me a stuffed toy. -Shake, London Right now, I am collecting the ones from Starbucks. I had this guy buy me one just recently when we went for coffee. - Monica, LA 24
  • 25. Emotional Resonance – Girls Stories Our friend makes these weird custom “stuffies.” I have one with my name on it. Teddy bears are classic. I’m also into weird stuffed animals like rats or goats. - Erin, 28, Canada (abroad in Amsterdam) “I have suddenly been wanting stuffed animals lately, not necessarily bears… more like mutant stuffed animals…stuffed “creatures” that are basically random shapes with a face. I think those are pretty neat too. Also mutilated teddy bears and vintage teddy bears that you can find at thrift shops. -Lola, 19, Rhode Island 25
  • 26. How Would You Feel if Your Boyfriend Brought One Home? I dated a guy in high school who loved to give them to me. When we stopped dating, I stopped having teddy bears. - Tiffany, 23, Orlando, FL I got one for Valentine’s day. It was cute. It’s a sweet thing to do. -Belen, 23, LA I think all girls, no matter what age, love to get them as gifts from guys. It shows they are tender and caring, and it makes you feel silly and special and sexy as well. - Monica, LA 26
  • 27. Kindergarten Nostalgia – Fashion Part II
  • 28. I think we’re going back to happier times, using happy memories from childhood as inspiration. -Natalie, 22 Fashion is playing on childlike visions of what we imagined a ‘big girl’ to be when we were younger. -Karen, 25 28
  • 29. Kindergarten References in Fashion Teen Vogue, April A page from Designer, C. Ronson’s Book for Her Spring 2004 Line 29
  • 30. Kindergarten References in Fashion NYC Fashion Show Audience London Fashion Show London Street NYC Street 30
  • 31. Kindergarten References in Fashion Belonging to a 20 Year At the Jeremy Scott Old in France Fashion Show NYC London 31
  • 32. The Toy & Plush Animal Landscape…
  • 33. The Landscape Cross-Category Starbucks “Barkista” Dog Gucci & Christian Dior Bears Ralph Lauren Maxfield’s Paul Frank Sanrio Ralph Lauren Coach FTD (flowers sent with teddy bears) Bed, Bath & Beyond (who package their products with teddy bears) Buildabear.com and Toys for Boys… 33
  • 34. Boys Toys are Hip These action figures, inspired by hip hop, Japanimation and Kid Robot graffiti, have spawned nothing Toys 2R Qees short of an out-and-out craze Monsterism by hipster collectors and cool Mijos and Homiez Dolls kids alike… Bratz Dolls Kid Robot Artoyz Royal Cheese Lazy Dog 34
  • 35. Toy Design Contest, WAD Magazine Colette (Paris), probably the hippest store in the world, is hosting “TOYZ WORLD” featuring the coolest toy designers in the world. They are hosting this contest with = trend-forward WAD Magazine. The challenge: come up with designs for a limited-edition “Qee” toy… 35
  • 36. Perspectives & Cultural Observations
  • 37. Facts ¼ of the respondents said they would not want to get a stuffed animal as a gift nor would they buy one. Most respondents feel that a stuffed dog occupies a more sophisticated, adult territory than teddy bears. 37
  • 38. Cultural Observations Collectible toys are extremely popular and tend to be best sellers - from the Pokemon and beanie baby fads to “homies” action figures and Kid Robot collectibles. Cultural influencers reference teddy bears in a strictly tongue-in-cheek fashion. Romance is only usually associated with teddy bears with a less cosmopolitan or younger group. Hip action figures for young men are a huge phenomenon in popular culture. Toys aren’t just for kids anymore. The NY Toy Show is the most widely attended trade show in New York We’re riding a wave of child-themed details in edgy fashion looks but the tide is slowly changing toward more lady-like looks which could render the Pink strategy obsolete with the 18-22 year old set in just a few years. Pink is likely to resonate with an aspirational 14-18 year old set. 38
  • 39. Dog Owners & the Small Dog Trend I got a stuffed pug before I got a real one. I think it’s a cute gift as a prelude to getting an actual dog. -dog owner When I was away from home, and my dog, and I used to travel a lot on business, I had a very small stuffed dog that kind of looked like my dog that I put on the night stand in a hotel or corporate apartment. -Susan, dog owner I have the ‘naughty, naughty pets,’ Ivan the Pug and the French Bulldog -Kelli, Dog Owner It’s a trend because celebrities have dogs and they bring them everywhere – people want to be like them so they’ve become a part of fashion. –girl in Texas, 21 I don’t like stuffed animals, but anything to accessorize my dog is fabulous. – Karen, 25 39
  • 40. Talking to New Yorkers Stopping by Agent Provocateur, a London-based lingerie company that had an incredible amount of buzz in New York, they thought stuffed animals would do better in LA and wouldn’t resonate with New Yorkers. The sales people there thought there was a real socioeconomic divide in associating romance and sexiness with stuffed toys. They thought it might go over better in LA – but wouldn’t work well in New York. They also commented that less cosmopolitan people would be more apt to respond positively to this kind of marketing. At TG170, an outpost of fashionista chic in NoLIta, they thought it might be cute to get a stuffed toy from a boyfriend but didn’t really see it as being a compelling fashion concept. Polling friends and associates in New York, mostly ranging from 25 to 35 years old, professional, entrepreneurial, and creative, most responded with blank expressions to the idea of associating lingerie with stuffed animals – but they admitted to having a bear or two in their apartments, left over from childhood. 40
  • 41. Spotted…
  • 42. At Street Style Mecca, Yellow Rat Bastard 42
  • 43. At Urban Outfitters 43
  • 44. At “Kid Robot” on Prince Street in Soho, NYC 44
  • 45. In Chinatown at a Destination Store Filled with Sanrio Products Where Teenagers and Trend- Loving Young Adults Flock… 45
  • 46. 46
  • 47. Or in the Back of a Car in Brooklyn… 47
  • 48. Thoughts on Victoria’s Secret Pink
  • 49. I think the Pink dog in particular has the potential to be iconic of Victoria’s Secrets young, hip, bright range. It’s cool without being too cutsey. I like the idea of placing photographs of the dog in strange or famous places like the subway, the roof of skyscrapers, in the middle of the road, etc. -Hayley, 20, Australia Pink’s my favorite color…sexy, virginal, feminine. -Sharifa, 23, California Honestly I am disappointed that Victoria Secret's is playing into this childhood version of sex - and so late in the game. Vic's should exude nothing but sex, that's what they do best. When a man walks into the store to buy his chick some lingerie, and let's face it it's for himself as well, I’m sure that he doesn't want to feel like he accidentally walked into “Girl Mania.” -Karen, 25, LA I like the fact that it’s cutesy and flirty. It’s not trashy or ‘too much’. it’s simplistic and I think it will appeal to the target consumer. -Beka, 20 I like it a lot, it is a more casual cutesy line, not so lacy and seductive as the normal Victoria’s Secret crap -Natalie, 22 49
  • 50. They should stick to sexy lingerie, that's what i usually get there. I usually get "cute" stuff at other stores with cheaper prices (and the same quality) - Femina, 21 I love the Pink line, it’s my favorite - Natalie, 21 Too babyish. - Loro, 20 It’s sexy in a girl next door kinda way, which is nice sometimes. -Meredith, 20, Washington DC Way too young and pre-teen. how many times can i really wear a neon yellow bra? -HNK, 19, Houston, TX Leave stuffed dogs to Toys-R-Us and stick to Lingerie -Girl LA, 21 50
  • 51. 51