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The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

Sonny Angels: The consumerist secret that toy companies don’t want you to know

Aya Takase-Songui
WE BRING YOU JOY: Sonny Angels are sighted hanging on the edges of Northwood students’ computers daily, staring at the students while they work.

First, it was Shopkins. Then it was Hatchimals. Now, the new trending sensations feeding the collector addiction of the millennial and Gen Z consumer market are three-inch naked baby dolls: Sonny Angels. The popularity of Sonny Angels is reflective of the exploitation of inner child consumerism, financial irresponsibility and polarizing social media influence that millennials and Gen Z are often subject to. 

Thousands of consumers are willingly putting down an average of $12, or sometimes more than hundreds of dollars, on Sonny Angels, depending on the rarity of the doll. Sonny Angel’s official slogan, “He may bring you happiness,” reveals why. 

The global success of these dolls stems from inner child consumerism, or marketing of toys to young adults in their early to mid 20s to “heal” their inner child by fulfilling the unquenched desire for childhood toys. This is also the root of retail therapy— the modern idea that shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer’s mood or dispositionwhich is a common justification for buying things you don’t necessarily need, but want. 

This consumer mindset is exactly what toy manufacturing companies are exploiting. Although Sonny Angels appear to be geared towards children, Dreams Co. Inc., the Japanese toy manufacturing company behind Sonny Angels and its sister line Smiskis, recently revealed that the target audience for Sonny Angels is actually women in their early to mid 20s. 

This age group is a gray area of people who have just hit the age to start making their own financial decisions, but often lack the proper education and experience to make wise decisions, according to the National Endowment of Financial Education, which is what toy companies are capitalizing on. 

Of course, just purchasing a few Sonny Angels out of curiosity can be harmless…at first. Each Sonny Angel is marketed as a part of the collection, differentiated by unique accessories or clothing. These small variations generate thousands of dollars in profit and constant attention to the trend, trapping consumers. Soon, one doll becomes two, then ten, then before you know it, you have an entire shelf display of these dolls in your bedroom.  

Sonny Angels are not the first line of collectible toys catered towards young women: it’s been working for generations now. The Beanie Babies teddy bear line launched in 1993 sparked a cosmic demand among younger women with rare collections listed at over $2,000. Since then, collectible series such as Funko Pops (2010), Shopkins (2014) and Hatchimals (2016) have continuously generated immense revenue for the toy manufacturing industry. 

This kind of retail therapy is further amplified through the influence of social media. This generation’s increased dependency on social media influencers and portrayed happiness is also contributing to irresponsible financial decisions. Despite being in production since 2005, the popularity of Sonny Angels has grown immensely over the last three years through social media, with the tag #sonnyangel amassing over 532 million views on TikTok, according to The New York Times.

Younger social media users especially are easily swayed as they see others buying this product on social media, especially by celebrities or influencers who are often paid to promote these products. 

Yet, no matter how many blind box Sonny Angels you buy, you won’t find your lost childhood as the toy surprise inside. Instead, use the disposable income to invest in your future: saving for vacations, education or a down payment on a house are all financially responsible decisions that will ensure long term happiness even without immediate gratification for consumerism.

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About the Contributors
Anna Cho
Anna Cho, News Editor
Anna is the News Editor for Northwood High School. If she doesn't respond to you within four hours, she's probably just busy testing out the perfect avocado:salt ratio to replicate Chipotle's divine guacamole recipe.
Aya Takase-Songui
Aya Takase-Songui, Photo Editor
Aya Takase is the Photo Editor for The Howler, who claims to like horror films but as of now has only watched 3. Despite coming from a long line of professional gardeners, she lacks a green thumb and has killed every household plant she touches.

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