YouTube tots pick top toys Gracie Hunter and her mom watch a YouTube video of a toy review (AP photos)
YouTube tots pick top toys
Lexile

A snaggletooth 8-year-old. A middle schooler with a punk rocker bob cut and big earrings. Tween siblings with a penchant for playing.

These are among the young power brokers who will determine the toys that will be under Christmas trees this year.

At a time when toy sales have stagnated for years at $22 billion, children who review toys on YouTube are wielding influence.

"Kids trust other kids more so than they would an adult," says Marc Rosenberg, a Chicago-based toy consultant.

Leading the pack of pint-sized YouTube personalities is Evan, 8, who has dimples and a few missing teeth. With over 1 billion views between his three channels, he's YouTube's most popular kid. He gets over 800 million views from EvanTubeHD, where he reviews the toys.

EvanTubeHD features special effects thanks to his dad, Jared, who runs a video production company full-time. Evan is known for telling kids how to play with toys.

In a review of Angry Birds Space Softee Dough playset, Evan apologizes for a noticeable lisp.

"Sorry if I'm talking a little funny today because I just lost my tooth."

Behind Evan are a few other young YouTube phenoms. Most of the children are identified by first name because their parents don't want to risk their safety:

Siblings Noah, 14, Jonah, 12, and Emma, 11 star in KittiesMama, which has nearly 400 million views. KittiesMama is a reality show that chronicles the kids' daily lives, including birthday parties. They also review toys and Emma shows kids how to look like characters from toy lines like My Little Pony.

Gracie Hunter, 11, pairs up with her mother, Melissa, in "Mommy and Gracie," which has close to 90 million views. Gracie searches for hard-to-find dolls with her mom. They've even traveled to Canada from their New Jersey home to find a Monster High doll.

RadioJH Audrey has over 60 million views. Audrey, 11, speaks to tweens, frequently saying "cool" and "awesome." She also streaks her bobbed hair in a rainbow of colors and wears big jewelry and studded tees. Audrey's trademark: reviewing mystery toy bags that are sold at places like Toys R Us.

Julie Krueger, industry director of retail at Google, which owns YouTube, says the channels have "huge followings of fans."

Toy makers, from Mattel to smaller ones, have noticed. In fact, Spin Master says Evan's reviews helped boost sales of its Spy Gear toys 65 percent this year.

"It gives the item more widespread exposure," says Jim Silver, editor-in-chief and CEO of TTPM.com, a toy review website.

Toy makers regularly send the young reviewers products. And some even paid marketing deals with them and their parents.

Evan's dad, Jared, says he works with partners that resonate with the audience. Jared, who says he invests the money the channels make toward his children's futures, says the success was unexpected.

"It's kind of surreal," says Jared, who started the channel with Evan in 2011.

Evan agrees: "I didn't think it would turn out like this when I first made the channel. I thought I would just get four views."

Critical thinking challenge: Why do toy makers care what kids think?

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COMMENTS (27)
  • LAvery-Sti
    11/07/2014 - 10:06 a.m.

    I think this boy was just a normal kid and then they picked him to be one TV. Anybody could try to do this if they wanted to. If someone was just picked at random for a you tube video that wants to make kids like toys. Some kids could become obsessed with this and not ever want to get off of the Internet. His life can change dramatically when doing these you tube things.

  • GrantW-2
    11/10/2014 - 12:28 a.m.

    This article is about the influence of young kids on the selling of toys based on their you tube channels. These kid you tubers rate the toys and greatly influence the selling patterns. A toy called Spy Gear's revenue went up 65% because of the kid you tubers. This article is cool because it shows how kids can make a difference.

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    11/10/2014 - 01:13 p.m.

    I suppose that this is a helpful way to promote the toys that companies are making, yet I feel that it is quite odd that children are making videos showing how to play with their own toys.

  • Valorg
    11/10/2014 - 09:14 p.m.

    a new wave of marking is taking place and possible a new wave of how companies advertise. A new superpower so to speak and that sleeping giant is the youtuber personality, toy companies brands now all face the rise of brands or the fall of them upon children playing and reviewing them on camera. sales increased for failing brands such as spy gear. There is no telling what the future might hold for the rest of you-tube marketing

  • Reecesh-Fre
    11/11/2014 - 12:58 p.m.

    I watch YouTube up to four hours a day, and I have never seen or heard about any of these kids. I believe that making the YouTube videos and getting a lot of views makes their confidence go up. These kids make reviews about different types of toys and how to play with them. When making toys and other kid related items the toy makers have to think about how the kids will react to the product. Whether it is changing the idea based on trials with children or from watching these videos with these kids in them.

  • isisr-Mil
    11/12/2014 - 08:21 a.m.

    Toy makers care what kids think because then they know what toys kids like and they know what to make so kids can get those toys.

  • ws2001wrex
    11/12/2014 - 01:02 p.m.

    Toy makers care what kids think because, kids are the number one group of people that but toys. Also, why make a toy if the kid isn't going to like it. If the kids like the toy they will beg their parents to buy them it and advantage the parents will buy it and they will make a profit. So that's why Toy makers care about what the kids like.

  • IM2000food
    11/12/2014 - 01:04 p.m.

    toy makers care what kids think because they are the main ones buying the toys. it also gives them help to improve toys or create new ones.

  • MadisonSch
    11/13/2014 - 01:49 p.m.

    This article is right, kids tend to block parents out and focus more on what the kids are saying. Over half of the famous people on YouTube are either kids or teenagers.

  • naidag
    11/13/2014 - 07:55 p.m.

    I think its good they show little kids on the internet showing kids how to play with toy etc . the write way . Basically showing what the kids can do and what not to do while playing with toys . I would want my baby sister / family member being safe with toys .

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