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‘Unboxing’ Videos a Gift to Marketers @ The New York Times.

This year, according to YouTube, people have watched videos unveiling items like toys, sneakers and iPhones more than 1.1 billion times, for a total of 60 million hours.

The videos’ ability to captivate children has led toy makers, retailers and other companies to provide sponsorships and free toys to some of the most popular unboxing practitioners, who in turn can make a lucrative living. Hasbro and Clorox have ads that YouTube places on the videos.

Now, marketers are becoming even more involved. This season, Target hired four YouTube toy experts to create videos of favorite toys. Two of them were prominent child unboxers, including Evan of EvanTubeHD, who turned 10 on Sunday.Running on the retailer’s website, the videos promote its online children’s gifting hub and wish list app.

Other advertisers are diving in deeper. In September, the Walt Disney Company hosted a live, 18-hour marathon of the unboxing of toys and other merchandise tied to this month’s release of the movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” YouTube stars around the world opened products starting in Sydney, Australia, and ending at Lucasfilm in San Francisco.

Not everyone is thrilled with the rise of the videos, which skirt digital and parental ad blockers. On Nov. 24, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy filed a second complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about commercially oriented YouTube videos, including unboxing. It followed an initial complaint in April that claimed some sponsored videos violated F.T.C. rules because they were not labeled as such.

Clever, sounds like Toy’s “R” Us is trying to get around the rules?

The Toys “R” Us videos “are extended commercials that happen to be on YouTube,” said Josh Golin, the executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. He is especially concerned that they are aimed at children, who have trouble distinguishing commercial messages from editorial content.

Mr. Lennox (Toy’s “R” Us chief marketing officer) said that Toys “R” Us’s videos are not advertising according to YouTube rules and that the company complies with existing law. YouTube said it asked creators to disclose if their videos contained paid product placement and that it excluded those from its YouTube Kids site.

Read more.

OK! Like it or not, unboxing is here (it’s been part of the tech circles for awhile, usually with Apple gear, then later more products) what that means is whatever packaging, design and experience is part of the purchase. Usually everything about a product is a lot of fun until it arrives 🙂 Jerry Seinfeld said it best (video) “In between seeing the commercial and owning the thing, I’m happy, tell me how great the thing is going to be”.

So what did we do? We added custom, full color invoices with engineering quotes and do our best to make the order both fast and efficient in terms of time to customer and the use of packing materials and packing. Recently once we had enough volume for quantity discounts, we added custom packaging at a lower cost than plain ole’ packaging.

Kickstarters that have a lot of build up and “ownership” as backers will need to work extra hard, unboxing is part of the journey, more so when you build purchases from a community that shares.