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Nort Pole Nort Pole
It set the world twisting and turning in the hope of solving a mathematical puzzle. And it didn’t stop there: it led to card games, board games and a never-ending search for the fastest possible solution (it’s currently 5.55s, held by Mats Valk of the Netherlands).

200,000 km
end-to-end

Lay out all the Rubik’s Cubes ever sold, and they’d stretch from North Pole to South – 10 times over!

300 million & counting
"Wow, I got a potato! Thanks, Dad!"
A simple Vitamin C-packed spud, and plastic stick-in features, were all it took to get 50s kids excited, thanks to the power of TV advertising.
Entirely plastic and in preset designs, Mr Potato Head gives today’s kids extra help with their imagination
This pricey toy wasn’t expected to take off, so stocks were limited – until chat show host Rosie O’Donnell started throwing it into her audience as a stunt.
The $29 dollar toy shifted on the black market
for $2,000 and more

The Million Dollar Pricetag

Cartier placed Elmo in their Fifth Avenue window, draped with a diamond necklace and bracelet.
A snip at just $1 million (toy included)

TwinkleTwinkle
Cloud Cloud
Rope Boat

"Tested for obedience" on the beach in Baja
(at least, according to creator Gary Dahl)

Sit
Six billion years in development, this gift came in a box with airholes, instruction manual and masses of humour. The ad exec responsible became a multi-millionaire in six months. Current Pet Rocks use USB technology: they still do nothing, but now across a range of platforms.
1% product,
99% genius,
99% profit

Pet Rocks cost pennies
to make and ship,
but sold for
$3.95 each
When first purchased, these cuddly, Gremlin-looking creatures spoke only Furbish but ‘learnt’ languages as they got older. The world went mad for them – but didn’t always understand how they worked.
Shadow
Banned from flights for safety reasons and the Pentagon on grounds of security
Plane
Furby
One of the all-time great consoles, the Sony PS3 controversially increased demand by deliberately limiting production. It paid off: 78,000 sold within 2 days of the release in France, for example, despite stock shortages; there are now 80+ million out there.
Coffee
Inspired by an Italian range of plush cats, these soft-furred bean-bag toys shaped like animals became a battlefield for traders and collectors.
Penguin
Powered by pizza, the heroes in a half-shell rose from the pages of an indie comic book to become the must-have toys of the next few years.
Parents shelled out for anything turtle-related, from pizza to toothbrushes
With their own birth certificates and individually designed faces, CPKs sparked off aisle wars and fist fights as parents tried to grab the last one in stock.
The furore led to broken bones and a Hollywood movie
$0
Designed to help young Japanese girls learn to look after children, how long your Tamagotchi survived defined your status, first in Japan and then in the rest of the world. The craze led to schools banning it in Sweden, the Netherlands and elsewhere.
Ghost