Italian toy company targets Nordic markets

This week, the Giochi Preziosi company of Milan is preparing to take the Nuremburg Toy Fair by storm by showcasing a range of toys which have become exceptionally popular in recent months. Perhaps the biggest hit of the collection is the My Life console for girls, which will make its debut in Scandinavia later this year.

The €40 console has a 2.5 inch colour LCD screen and allows girls to send text messages to each other and trade virtual clothes. The device can communicate with other consoles through an infra-red signal. Additional software packs can be purchased and plugged into the back of the console.

The software encourages girls to lead a life of fantasy – amassing clothes, meeting boyfriends, reading horoscopes and defining their own sense of style. The first thing girls do is create a virtual self which includes both a pictorial representation of themselves and a description of their personality. A quiz helps determine the latter, asking girls questions such as “What will you wear at your first date? (a) jeans and T-shirt, or (b) black dress and high heels.”

My Life was launched in Italy last October and has become a huge success. The toy company plans to introduce the bright pink consoles in the United States in June and is still working out dates to launch the product in Scandinavia. Launches in France, Germany, Spain and Brazil are also in the works.

For boys, Preziosi has already hit the jackpot with collectible action figures and trading cards known as the Gormiti. Since they launched the products in 2006, the company says they have sold 30 million action figures.

Gormiti are extremely popular with primary school age children in Scandinavia, where trading cards are available in local languages. New Gormiti collectibles are being launched in Scandinavia this week.