Toy Squad callup

5-year-old Reid’s spe­cial role is more than child’s play

Te Puke Times - - Front Page - By STU­ART WHI­TAKER [email protected]­

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.

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