Toy Squad callup
5-year-old Reid’s special role is more than child’s play
It’s a tough job . . . but someone’s got to do it. How else will the nation’s kids know whether a toy is good or not?
Farmers has created a hotshot hit squad of kids around the country who are prepared to put everything on the line — to test toys. And Te Puke 5-year-old Reid Mortensen is one of them.
As with all cool jobs, there was a selection process — Reid having to submit a video of a mock-up review of one his own toys — and ultrakeen competition for the coveted roles.
More than 300 videos were submitted to Farmers — and Reid’s older brother Baxter, 8, was also in the mix.
“I’m on the Farmers email distribution list and got an email to say they were looking for toy testers,” says mum Kirsty.
“We filmed one with Baxter and had a few takes and then a couple of days later Reid decided he would like to do a video as well.”
In the video he described what he liked about his remote-controlled Hexbug.
“Then we got a phone call one Friday afternoon to say that Reid had been selected as one of the national Toy Squad reviewers,” says Kirsty. “It’s quite a cool achievement for a 5-year-old — and my 8-year-old handled it like a boss.”
Farmers marketing campaign coordinator Nathan D’mello says it wasn’t easy to select the 12 Toy Squad members.
“[Reid] was entertaining to watch when he talked about the Hexbug. He did a really good job and we thought he’d be a really good match.”
Nathan says those on the selection panel were looking for personality and the way potential testers talked about their toy.
“We had an amazing reaction from it and got some great kids.”
Reid’s first review, of a Really Rad Robot, is due to be posted on the Farmers website this week.
“We had to submit a one- to three-minute video, but it’s quite a complicated toy and he’s quite a chatty child and the shortest we could get it down to was about five minutes,” says Kirsty.
Reid says he likes the robot because it is blue, “my second favourite colour” (red is his favourite) but that it wasn’t so easy to learn how to use it.
“It’s a good toy,” he says. And it’s “pretty cool” he gets to keep it.
He says he was a bit nervous doing the video but is excited and feels really happy with himself for being selected for the Toy Squad.
Kirsty says Reid has the personality and funny little mannerisms to make his videos work.
“It’s just the way he is. And his ad libbing — he just injected his personality into the video.”
There was no practice run — the submitted video was the first take.
“They wanted him to say what he likes and to see his natural reaction to the product — it’s very natural and not scripted at all, and not over the top.”
Farmers merchandise manager Rob Taurima said the concept was about trying to increase engagement with consumers.
“We know Youtube videos around this type of content are really popular with kids of that age, so it made sense to produce something in a format our customers want to see.”
Toys Taurima expected to be topselling stocking stuffers included the LOL Surprise range and Razor Turbo Jetts.
‘It’s just the way he is. And his ad libbing — he just injected his personality into the video.
Mum Kirsty Mortensen on son Reid’s selection as a Toy Squad tester
Reid Mortensen, 5, of Te Puke has been chosen as a member of Farmers’ new Toy Squad.