elmo coloring pages to print
Tickle Me Elmo is a kids toy from Tyco, brought out in the U.S.A. in 1996, becoming that year’s top fad. Brightly red in color and based on Elmo, a Muppet persona from Sesame Street, when pressured, Elmo would chortle. When pressured three times in a row, Elmo would begin to shake and laugh hysterically.
In 1996, the Tickle Me Elmo was the “must have” toy. Many parents literally fought other parents in North American toy stores to purchase one of the toys for Christmas. The short supply of the toy, due to unexpected demand, meant that stores hiked the price on the dolls drastically. Newspaper classifieds even sold the plush toy for hundreds of U.S. dollars. People reports that the US $28.99 toy fetched as much as $1500.
On January 9, 2002, select Elmos will stop chortling and announce to five people that they are winners of a big-money sweepstakes competition.
The grand prize winner will receive a $200,000 check toward the purchase of a new house, $60,000 in savings bonds for their child’s education, a Volkswagen Beetle, a new PC and a ride-on battery-operated VW car for the child.
All the prizes are decorated in an Elmo theme, including the Beetle.
The four runners-up will receive a VW beetle, $40,000 in education bonds, a PC, and the ride-on toy.
Three weeks after Christmas, the Tickle Me Elmo “Surprise” edition will simply announce “Congratulations!” to the winner of the grand prize when he is picked up and played with. He will say “You found it!” to the runners-up.
Peter Van der Linden, a Silicon Valley software consultant behind a Hack Furby challenge, said the contest was just a clever marketing scheme.
“Christmas is traditionally a time of greed and this toy speaks directly to that tradition,” Van der Linden said. “It subtly manipulates the parents to provide a toy for their child in the hope of some later benefit for them. It’s clever.”
Van der Linden succeeded in hacking Furby and transformed one of the dolls into a clock that wiggles on the hour. Elmo, on the other hand, is not interesting to him.
“It doesn’t have a rich enough array of behavior,” he said. “Furby was an interesting toy because there was so much going on inside it. Tickle Me Elmo is almost inert — it’s lobotomized.”
“You press it, it giggles. Where’s the fun in that?” he added.
A few years ago, mischievous programmers switched the voice boxes of G.I. Joe and Let’s Go Shopping Barbie and replaced them on store shelves, he said.
Tickle Me Elmo, based on the beloved Sesame Street muppet, rocketed to toy stardom when the original doll debuted in 1996.
The stuffed monster giggles infectiously when his stomach is pressed, and he urges his playmate to “Tickle Elmo again.”
“We decided we wanted to bring him back on the fifth anniversary with something really special,” said Fisher-Price president Neil Friedman. “We wanted him to be able to be more than he was the first time.”
For those who don’t win a prize, Elmo will instead introduce new play patterns on Jan. 9.
Friedman declined to say what those play patterns will be.
“Besides all the things that Elmo does, he’ll do something new,” he said.
Friedman also refused to say anything at all about the technology behind the new doll, except to say he is confident it can’t be hacked.
“The way we’ve programmed him, they won’t be able to do it,” he stated. “We have a couple safeguards that will make it impossible for them.”
Even if someone managed to hack the doll, they would not be able to claim the prize, he said.
“We’d know because we have an embedded number that will tell us that this doll is, in fact, the true Tickle Me Elmo winner,” he said.
Van der Linden suggested one potential hack: Open up the crystal-powered clock inside Elmo and replace it with one that runs twice as fast to see if it’s a prize-winning monster.
Van der Linden wondered what the new Elmo behaviors will be after January 9.
“You can bet he won’t taunt the losers,” he said, “like ‘You’re a loser! Buy me again!’”
Elmo must have his batteries in to announce the prize. If a kid forgets to play with Elmo on January 9, she can still win if she has the winning doll: Elmo will repeat the winning words any time after January 9.
Toy experts said the sweepstakes was a novel spin on an old marketing idea.