secret Tickle Me Elmo revealed
10th anniversary of the Sesame Street doll is a hysterically laughing,
belly-clutching, floor-thumping extreme version of itself.
of The Associated Press
top-secret 10th-anniversary Elmo, code-named "T.M.X. Elmo"
is finally here - and it's the hysterically laughing, belly-clutching,
Fisher-Price, a division of No. 1 toymaker Mattel,
unveiled the new T.M.X. Elmo to the world Tuesday.
fans could face a shortage of the new T.M.X. Elmo over the holidays.
"T.M.X." stands for 2 things - "Tickle Me extreme"
or "Tickle Me 10," representing the toy's 10-year milestone.
Elmo fans should
grab the new toy while they can, because industry analysts are already
anticipating a shortage of Elmo T.M.X. over the holiday shopping
quick-thinking consumers hoping to make a juicy profit already put
up their Elmo T.M.X. for sale on eBay at double the price.
had been extremely tight-lipped about the special Elmo. Only a handful
of company executives and a few toy industry analysts saw the toy
before its unveiling.
new Elmo reacts to a "tickling" as soon as you turn it
on. Its arms flap, it falls to the floor, rolls around and simply
can't stop laughing.
Elmo will likely be very hard to find during the upcoming
has three tickle spots on his chin, tummy or foot. When you tickle
Elmo once on any of the tickle spots, he starts to laugh and slap
his leg twice, then falls down into a sitting position and rocks
himself back up to standing while laughing.
When you tickle
him a second time, he repeats the pattern, then sits down again
and falls backwards, kicking his feet while laughing even harder.
And on the third tickle, he rolls over onto his tummy, thumping
his hand on the floor in laughter, and then stands back up again.
The new doll
is priced at $39.99.
the Toy Industry Association (TIA), total annual toy sales last
year totaled $21.9 billion, down 0.2 percent from the previous year.
So can the furry
red monster single-handedly turn things around for the industry
watchers speculate that it will take more than a brilliant marketing
ploy from Fisher-Price to maneuver that.
toymakers like Mattel and Hasbro are fighting hard to expand their
market share at a time when many more kids are shunning traditional
toys in favor of consumer electronics such as Apple's iPod and portable
gaming platforms such as Sony's PSP.
Silver, editor of Toy Wishes magazine, said Elmo T.M.X. has the
potential of being one of the blockbuster toys of the year, especially
in the pre-school category.
new Elmo could very well become "extremely" hard to find.
the technology is so complicated, it's taking longer to make the
new Elmo. Fisher-Price is only making between 50 to 60 percent of
the full-year production of the new Elmo," Silver said, adding
that Fisher-Price typically produces a million and a half units
of Elmo for the holidays.
going to be a shortage for T.M.X.," he said.
Fisher-Price scores a hit with Elmo, it would seem that a shortage
could work in the company's favor by boosting demand for product.
But Silver said no toymaker wants to lose sales of an extra 500,000
units during the key November and December period that accounts
for as much as 50 percent of toymaker's profits and sales.
president of Fisher-Price Brands, said he's confident the company
can meet this year's demand target as long as Elmo sells at the
levels the company has anticipated for it.
becomes a runaway hit then we may have to chase the demand with
extra production," he told CNNMoney.com.
Fisher-Price worked 18 months to develop the technologically advanced
is to be innovative," he said. "We'll use technology where
we feel it can enhance out toy product. and not just for technology's
There will be
yet another new Elmo next year, "That's all we're saying about
that. Stay tuned," Friedman said
the meantime, Wal-Mart, KB Toys and Toys "R" Us are keen
to exploit the Elmo buzz to boost sales at their stores. Wal-Mart
and other toy sellers also held special Elmo events Tuesday at some
locations to coincide with the launch.
Jolanda Stewart said T.M.X. Elmo was selling at the rate of 5 to
6 units per minute in its stores.
been extremely pleased with the customer response to Elmo,"
she said."Crowds were at Secaucus Wal-Mart ready to pick up
the the lil' guy early this morning and the response to the furry
loveable guy was overwhelming. Our online pre-sales of Elmo have
exceeded our sales forecast by 150 percent."
Us' flagship location in midtown Manhattan was already sold out
of T.M.X. Elmo two hours after the store opened.
KB Toys' chief
marketing officer, Ernie Speranza, told CNNMoney.com that sales
of T.M.X. were surpassing sales expectations at the retailer's stores
don't see this kind of hype for a new toy until mid-October when
we're closer to the holiday season. It's great for the toy industry,"
Speranza said, adding that KB Toys opened an hour early to let shoppers
buy their Elmo.
Muppeteer Kevin Clash resigns from Sesame Street
Clash takes leave from Sesame Street
Street to air hurricane special Friday November 9
Street Old School Volume 3 coming to DVD November 6
• Sesame Street Season 43 begins September 24 on PBS
support essential for production to begin on "I Am Big Bird"
Am Big Bird" Caroll Spinney documentary in development
Elmo", Kevin Clash documentary coming to DVD April 3