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Socker Boppers (formerly Sock'em Boppers ) were a children's toy popularized in the late 1990s, though they had existed for decades prior to that. Television advertisements for the product featured a jingle offering the boast that they were "More fun than a pillowfight".
The toy also encountered controversy due to the violent nature of its intended use. Many parents reportedly felt that a toy created to instigate fistfights between children had no place on store shelves. Defenders of the toy were quick to point out that the heavily cushioned pads made bodily harm unlikely, as well as that proper use of the toy was a valid form of aerobic exercise. Despite the connection between Sock'em Boppers and the sport of boxing, no boxers of any prominence were attached to the product for any promotions. For a brief period, Nintendo considered purchasing Sock'em Boppers with the intention of printing the franchise's characters on them to boost sales. Nintendo officially dropped the idea due to the high purchase price demanded, though prototypes were made before mass production. Eventually, the company made spin-off products including, Sock'em Swords, Sock'em Shields, and Sock'em Screamers.
Sock'em Boppers underwent something of a renaissance in the mid- to late-2000s, spurred on in equal parts by nostalgia and their increased availability from online retail stores. A July 24, 2006 article in the Chicago Tribune reports that "sales ... of [Sock'em Boppers] saw an increase of 18% between 2005 and 2006, ... the product's strongest showing in almost a decade."
In January 2012, Socker Boppers were launched in the UK at the London Toy Fair by London-based toy company Wicked Vision.
Notes and references
- Rhys, Aleksander. "Local moms outraged over new toy". Minneapolis Star Tribune, January 11, 1997.
- Manx, Liliana. "No boxers affiliate with new toy". Minneapolis Star Tribune, January 17, 1997.
- Nintendo Power. "Eyes Set On Sock'em Boppers". Nintendo Power, April 3, 1997.
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