the Catalan family business behind the SuperThings phenomenon


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Sunday, 11.00 in the morning, Plaza de Quintana, Madrid. The traditional trading card market is at its peak. “Before the pandemic, the tables would arrive there,” Francisco Castro points out from afar, who has been with his stall at the market every Sunday for many years. "But still, the kids keep coming." In his stand there are some football cards, but most of the plywood is filled with dolls SuperThings. Although for those who do not have children, nephews or grandchildren between three and eight years old, the term sounds foreign, small toys are a sensation; we talk about the current 'fashion' in recess. Just as it was the time of the aforementioned cards –although their reign is still valid–, of pogs or Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, now the SuperThings are 'the moment'.

Kids go crazy when a new series comes out and parents go crazy trying to get them.

Just a few weeks ago series nine went on sale; it is only necessary to enter the term on Twitter to find countless tweets in which parents warn each other that the search for these figurines has begun. They have been on the market since 2018 and they release two series a year: one in January and one in
back to school
.

Matthias Nieto
Matthias Nieto

«Before all the positions were dominated by Panini. Soccer ruled," says Castro in the middle of the market. He explains then that, if the first series went more unnoticed, with the second and third things took off. "Crystallized dolls, cars, cranes, and capsules were added," he says. And so, little by little, the dolls left paving the way in the market and displacing football cards.

The stall is surrounded by little ones who remove the SuperThings, divided according to the series to which they belong; look for those that are missing. The price of each figure ranges between 0.70 or 0.80 centsThe same as a new one would cost. "Here we do not sell envelopes, because we respect the kiosks," says Castro. Next to the big boxes there is a methacrylate box, divided into small holes and closed with a padlock. In it, some slightly different SuperThings. "Those are the 'superaros'," says Francisco Castro. He sells them at 25 euros each piece.

From family business to global

But, perhaps, the most interesting thing about what is the most popular toy in Spain right now, is who is behind it: the Catalan company Magic Box Toy. The company was founded in 1992: it started as a family business and, says Virginia Colvee, director of international marketing for the company, "it still is." But although they call themselves a family business, they are actually on the verge of going global. They already have their own offices in Poland, UK and Italy. “And we have distributors in France, Germany, Eastern Europe and Mexico. We are negotiating to enter Russia, China, Australia and the US with the intention of being present on five continents in three years », she assures.

Spice Girls collectible photo album
Spice Girls Collectible Photo Album - Magic Box Toys

If Magic Box Toy is now focused on products like these dolls – its other current bets: the 'KookyLoos' dolls and the 'T-Racers' cars –, it wasn't always like that. In 1992, its year of release, they specialized in sticker albums and letters, "based on football clubs and national teams." They were also the ones who brought the famous Gogos to Spain, some of the Pokemon or Dragon Ball pogs or even collectible photo albums, such as the Spice Girls one. In 2014 they released the Zomlings, precursors to the SuperThings. And then, the flagship product, which since 2018 has been sweeping kiosks, stationery stores, supermarket checkouts and also online resale portals. «The beginning was the collectible; now we are living a Transformation from a collectibles company to a toy company» adds Virginia Colvee.

Second hand market

Although the high point of the online sale of these second-hand dolls took place a few years ago, some portals continue to sell both 'normal' SuperThings and those 'ultra-rare' ones whose achievement drives many crazy. From the Catalan company, although they celebrate the success of the dolls, they are hurt that it is so difficult for children to get one of the special ones. "We want avoid reselling the 'ultra rares'» explains Colvee. Therefore, he ensures that if a child sends them a photo of his SuperThings collection, and one is missing, they send it to him.

The SuperThing phenomenon goes beyond physical dolls. The key is everything that complements them. "It's a story with heroes and villains," explains Colvee. Thus, beyond the purchase of dolls, children are part of a transmedia experience in which there are small episodes in
Youtube
with their favorite characters ("We developed a parallel 'storytelling' through a web series"), toys derived from the brand, and even an exhibition. This has traveled throughout Spain: the puppets visited Madrid, Barcelona and their last stop was Bilbao; They promise new dates.

The latest series, the first of 2022, went on sale a few weeks ago. From Magic Box Toy they assure that "there are SuperThings for a while", and that they are already working on the series that will launch in 2023. The small dolls of heroes and villains occupy the positions of best-selling toys on Amazon. For several Christmases, its complementary products have been the most demanded by the little ones. And each new series, devastates in a few days. What has been said: "There are SuperThings for a while."

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