For the most part, it seems like the vinyl blindbox toy scene has stagnated, marked by a proliferation of cheap knockoffs found in convenience stores, and an end of the initial love affair people had for Kid Robot and similar brands. While still popular, it seems that if the trend has any chance for survival, it will need a healthy dose of innovation. The answer may have come with Suwappu, a series of toys designed by Dentsu London, which combine vinyl figurines with Augmented Reality to create an experience beyond just a collectible. The toys are split into two halves, a top and bottom, with the head containing a characters personality, and the legs containing an environment. These can be swapped, so that the different characters can interact in different settings. In addition, the characters interact with one another, and play out their own narratives.
Suwappu is a group of characters that can take lots of different forms. Primarily (or initially), the toys seen in the film – a set of collectible and swappable figures, readable by connected devices, opening up a layer of content. The Suwappu’s head signifies his personality, and his pants signify his environment – the app produces content according to its reading of each half.Beyond these toys, we think Suwappu is a new kind of content platform, with various exciting social, creative and commercial possibilities.Our project name for this has been Haitsu. Haitsu is the art of hybrid communications, a made-up idea that we find useful. It’s a little bit philosophical (the belief that combining advertising, content, media and product is the future of communications), and a little bit practical (looking for interesting hybrid clashes, like analogue and digital). Project Haitsu is part of the Making Future Magic series of collaborations.