Apple built an entire culture of unboxing new gadgets, but now a $10 doll has built that experience into a toy. It’s called LOL Surprise, and if you have a young doll-lover in your life, maybe you’ve heard of it. The company sold 2.5 million units in its first five months.
I, mid-thirties dude, had not heard of LOL Surprise before (surprise!), but my producer revealed their sugar pop packaging to me without any sort of context. But as I struggled to make sense of the thing, opening untold layers of shrink wrap and finding random tiny plastic shoes or shirts along the way, I actually began to appreciate the subtle brilliance of the packaging. It’s a toy package designed, not just so someone can’t steal it off the shelf, but so the child gets every bit of anticipation possible out of opening it to the surprise doll reveal. That approach is psychologically important, as the anticipation of something can actually generate as much, if not more happiness, than the thing itself.
And I’ll say this about LOL Surprise: Even though it’s not my cup of unicorn sprinkled tea, after I opened one, I couldn’t help myself. I just had to open another.