Imagine the challenge of redesigning an iconic character that people have grown to love and identify with for decades (since 1952). The toy manufacturer Hasbro unveiled a new, noticeably thinner version of the iconic Mr. Potato Head at the 2011 International Toy Fair convention in New York City. The slimmer version, named the Active Adventures Mr. Potato Head, has a slimmer body and, for the first time, wears pants. Mrs. Potato Head was also redesigned. Both will be available in stores in Fall of 2011.
In addition to the slimmer body (head?), the new version of Mr. Potato Head has a more animated appearance (the arms) and more holes and slots for reconfiguring the features that allow more expressive variations (the mouth, for example, can be placed more to the left or right). Mrs. Potato Head looks like she has a smaller nose than Mr. Potato head but they are actually the same part. The optical illusion is created because Mrs. Potato Head's eyes are larger.
Wayne Marcus (right), Sr. Director of Playskool Preschool Design & Development for Hasbro, displayed the new versions (the Bake-over) of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head during his presentation at Design4 the Northeast Region Conference of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) held at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) April 8-9, 2011.
The challenge was to keep Mr. Potato Head from being a "couch potato" and give him a more active and adventurous life-style. This all had to be accomplished in a relatively fast turn-around, getting it just right while maintaining a high-level of secrecy and security.
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