Big things come in the smallest of packages — or in the case of Mini Brands Toys — the smallest of grocery items.
Zuru’s 5 Surprise Mini Brands Toys Series reinvigorates playtime with miniature versions of your favorite grocery items. According to the brand, the toy combines miniature collectibles with “blind surprise reveals…and the fun of shopping.” From pasta and Mentos to shampoos and cleaning bottles, the Mini Brands Toys hypnotizes both kids and adults with their tiny merchandise.
Back in 2019, however, no one expected toys from Mini Brands to soar, though. In fact, skeptics didn’t think kids would be thrilled to open a sphere with a tiny jar of Skippy peanut butter. But during the Christmas of 2020 and the Easter of 2021, the mini toys in capsules sold one every two seconds.
The Deal with Small Things: Who Made Mini Brands and What are They?
Zuru, a New Zealand-based toy company (currently headquartered in Hong Kong), is the brain behind the Mini Brands Toys. Despite the initial skepticism over the success of 5 Surprise mini toys, the company sold 200,000 units of the toys at Target and Walmart stores during the first week of November 2019. It turns out that both kids and adults loved the miniature versions of their favorite grocery items.
5 Surprise Mini Brands offers 70 supermarket mini toys for customers to collect. The toy comes in a ball that is made of five parts. Each of the four parts contains miniature versions of iconic supermarket brands. The remaining part contains a surprise supermarket accessory like shelves or carts.
But like any collectible toy, Mini Brands toys also offer hard-to-find and rare collectibles like their gold or metallic versions of their grocery items.
Today, there are hundreds of grocery items to find in the Mini Brands balls, with more added to each “series” released by Zuru. Kids (and adults) can now choose from different variations of Mini Brands toys, such as the Disney and Marvel versions or the Surprise Unicorn Squad.
Since their debut in 2019, Mini Brands toys have been flying off shelves faster than their regular-sized grocery counterparts. In fact, over 17 million capsules have been shipped globally. The toys’ fun appeal to people of all ages, as well as its popularity on TikTok, plays a big part in its success.
Why is Everyone Obsessed with Mini Brands?
So what is it about the Mini Brands Toy Series that causes everyone to storm the stores and hoard these toys?
Mini Brands Toys have a unique appeal that business owners would want to copy. You’d be surprised at how simple the appeal is. It’s a combination of nostalgia and surprise. The reason people love these miniature toys also isn’t just because they’re cute. They are more psychological than you think.
Small Items Trigger Human Instincts
Research conducted by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Sciences reports that there’s something about miniature collectibles that attract our attention, but it isn’t just a novelty.
A miniature toy’s appeal is strong, especially if they resemble objects you use every day at home or in the supermarket. In the case of Mini Brands, they look very similar to their bigger sizes but are made different by their small size, which makes them unique and something you think you “need to have.”
On top of that, small items stimulate a “cute” response, which is the universal instinct humans have when it comes to kittens, puppies and babies. It’s the instinct that makes you want to “take care” of these little items.
Unpacking is a Thrilling Experience
The slew of unboxing or unpacking videos online is enough proof that people love opening things. With Mini Brands Toys, you get to unpack not only once, but five times in a row!
The fact that each miniature toy is enclosed in individual sections, which are hidden in a ball that invites you to unwrap — there’s no denying that the packaging is another reason kids and adults LOVE these mini toys.
With the 5 Surprise Mini Brands ball, everyone experiences the thrill of not knowing beforehand which toy you’ll get. This element of surprise, which happens five times, adds to the excitement of collecting. Discovering which toys are inside the capsule, together with the hope that each toy would be a new addition to their collection, is one of the success factors behind Mini Brands Toys.
On top of that, the act of unboxing a package makes the whole experience more fun. There’s just something exciting about ripping open a package and seeing what’s inside that makes you want to buy more Mini Brands.
How Mini Brands Keeps People Coming Back for More
One of the strongest drivers behind customer loyalty is EMOTION. Building an emotional connection with your customers influences consumer spending, lifetime value and advocacy, as well as improves profitable behavior.
If you want to achieve emotional loyalty, you must build and maintain three components: trust, attachment and affinity. To hit all three goals, you must appeal to your customer’s emotions like nostalgia, delight and surprise.
Surprisingly, the 5 Surprise Mini Brands succeed with all three.
This emotion is often experienced by adults. These miniature toys can allow people to relive their childhood, re-connect to the days when fun and play were the tasks for the day. Miniatures and collectibles link adults to, not only their past, but to the brands that linked them to their childhood.
If you open a Mini Brands ball and find a toy you still don’t have, you’ll feel happy. This feeling of happiness builds consumer loyalty. Also, delight can arise from the adrenaline that comes with unpacking the ball.
As mentioned above, customers don’t know which toys they’ll be getting when they buy a Mini Brands ball. When they find out, they get surprised five times!
Apart from building customer loyalty, Zuru also grasps the power of social media to expand the hype surrounding the toy. 5 Surprise Mini Brands is always where the people are and they provide relevant content for it. Most of the brand’s strategy is centralized on TikTok and YouTube, aka two of the most popular video-sharing platforms online.
On the launch of Mini Brands, Zuru sent products to influencers (popular YouTubers and TikTokers) so they can unpackage their toys on their respective social media platforms. Once everyone got a hold of their toys, there was a stream of unpacking videos from content creators. Each creator entertained viewers with their unboxing content while subtly enticing them to buy their own Mini Brands.
As a result, the toys from Mini Brands became popular online, amassing millions of views on YouTube and TikTok. The overnight popularity of the toys resulted in other influencers and shoppers scrambling to buy these surprise balls with mini toys.
Mini Brands imparts an important lesson: big surprises do come in smaller packages. But those smaller packages are packed with surprise, nostalgia and delight (and possibly a cute version of your Heinz Tomato Ketchup). For these reasons, it seems like these miniatures are here to stay — and they might evolve to something way cuter.