The top of the wand is a flower with a foil type mirror on the front. The packaging is bright, colorful, and a typical example of a sweet little barbie girly toy. It looks innocent and was styled after adorable Japanese anime girls. The package promises "I can send out beautiful music." It doesn't. It makes a creepy laugh like a witch. Obviously, the first indicator that something may be slightly off about this product is simply the name: "Evilstick." Inevitably, if you buy this toy for your child you will probably get what you asked for — upon peeling off the foil mirror it reveals a disturbing image of a presumably white American woman attempting suicide by slitting her wrists. Yes, this is disturbing for a child's toy, but like most things that I write about, it joins a multiplicity of things that aren't what they seem. So I knew I had to buy one for myself.
This article is the story, thoughts, and analysis that I had while trying to fully understand this bizarre and slightly morbid mystery. But first a little background about what happened to bring this Evilstick to the public's awareness.
The Evilstick first gained publicity around early November 2014. A woman in Dayton, Ohio was angered after she bought the toy for her two year old daughter; her daughter clanged it around for a few days until the foil fell off. It spooked her mother so she went to the media to complain about it. The media then broadcast it nationally and before we knew it, information about the toy was all over the place - national news, blogs, YouTube videos etc. — the big time.
This toy was a well thought-out and planned creation by a team of professional marketers. It is definitely not a fluke. It had to be distributed and manufactured by a major company, presumably made in China. That is where most toys and consumer goods are manufactured. So this got my gears turning — what was their true agenda? Was it psychological warfare geared to corrupt and disturb the minds of America's female youth? Or was it simply a creative and genius marketing plan orchestrated by a company who wanted the most bang for their buck?
At the surface level one could agree this is a form of psychological warfare directed at America's female youth, in particular little girls ages 2 and up. Think about what the toy represents: it is a symbol encouraging suicide among "White" females — it is a mirror, so a child would be innocently gazing into the mirror, imagining herself looking lovely, prancing around the safety of her home, pretending to be a pretty little princess. All the while behind the scenes there is a disturbing photo gazing back at her, piercing her soul with those evil eyes, encouraging her to become the image behind the glass.
The child would play with it for a few days until one day she either peels off the foil or it falls off on its own. The little girl would see the image and at a deep subconscious level the child may think, "This picture is supposed to be me." Maybe she would make this connection, probably not. She would more than likely just become scared and have nightmares about it, however, there could seriously be childhood trauma. Although, I don't believe that it is anything worse than certain movies, video games, and other things children are often accidentally exposed to.
After the child sees the scary image she would then freak out and run off to tell her mommy about the nasty devil behind the foil.
This is where the kicker is, and I believe this is where the conspiracy ends. As I mentioned I am a marketer. More specifically I am a viral video marketer. I attempt to create content that goes viral and spreads like a chain reaction throughout the media, so this to me has viral marketing written all over it. How does one successfully create a viral marketing campaign? Simple. Emotions. Strong emotions and lots of em'. The more powerful the emotional reaction the more likely it will be shared within their social circle and so the wild fire is started, and ultimately the more effective the campaign will be. I call it creating the emotional wave and then selling it. Bingo!
The process went a little something like this: Evil product created, disguised under innocence; cheaply made to fall apart, then the true evil is revealed; emotional response - angry parents, media attention, and then adults rush to the stores to buy their very own stick of evil.
So in my opinion this cheap $2 toy is a genius and very clever marketing campaign by an unknown Chinese company. The packaging evidently did not link back to the creators, and for a good reason. They have the liberty to continue selling their products in America. However I do question the moral and ethical impact of the toy. It certainly is a questionable tactic and in America the manufacturer would be sued for psychological damages. However, in China they lack such restrictions, so they are able to create such a toy, make a little money, get away with it, and admire their creation from a safe distance of a 7,143 miles (Ohio to China).
Now this leads me to question who actually was their intended target market? One would think it would be the innocent little 2 year old girls. I say nope. Not hardly. After word got out about this product people stopped buying it for their children. Do you know why? First off because people heard what was behind the foil and refused to expose their children to it, and secondly because they were sold-out. Yup, not a single one left in the store. The true target market for this toy is adults ages 18 - 55+. Don't believe me? I think I can prove it, because I happen to fall in that demographic and as I said, I wanted one.
The auction only had two days remaining and it was only $22 USD!
Score! I found one and at a cheap and reasonable price! Only at a 1000% markup! Shew! What a deal! So of course I placed a bid. I knew I was going to be able to get one for $50. But nope.
I got outbid.
I placed another.
Again I got outbid.
I placed another.
So I thought, "Okay I will throw $100 down just to ensure I win, it's worth 100 bucks. Besides I am going to write an interesting article about it. It will make the story better. I may even make a product review video." The possibilities were endless...
Yep. Yet again, I was outbid.
At this point I was not willing to spend more than $100 on this specific toy. So I left it alone and forgot about it.
Two days later I get a notification on my phone that said the bid was about it end. I thought, "okay just for laughs I will see how much it's at." I expected it to be around $200. Surely no one would pay more than $200 for a $2 toy from the dollar store? Right?
But nope. $200 was not even close.
The below images are the screenshots of the auction from my phone and how the bid ended. You may be as surprised as I was.
Pretty crazy huh?
So what is The Evilstick? The Evilstick is a viral cult-classic collectible toy created with the intention to piss off a bunch of American parents, gain media attention, and then completely sell-out their inventory to the adults that see it has value as a collectors item.
The Evilstick went down in history. It will be collectible for years to come. It wouldn't surprise me if the toy's collector value is $1,000 plus. Who knows what someone is willing to pay for it? I wouldn't pay more than $100, but if I had been able to buy one I would have made a video about it. Similar videos have hundreds of thousands of views. YouTube views plus embedded advertising means cash money. Strong emotions = cash money. Strong emotions = a lot of views. A lot of views = cash money. Funny how emotions run this world. Money is equivalent to emotions.
Interestingly enough, evidently the Evilstick wasn't only shipped to the USA. Other sources say that they were sold in various parts of Europe. Also not all Evilsticks have the morbid photo, only a few of them do. So the majority of parents who purchased one for their children truly received innocent toys. Not everyone had the graphic photo. So rest assured, thousands of children's minds were not spoiled with the gruesome image. Just a few hundred. But I am sure they saw the nasty photo on the TV, so does it really matter? To me, this adds to the credibility of the toy being marketing as a collectors item. See the not so Evilsticks below. Pretty clever marketing ey?
So how much money are we talking about? How much did the manufacturers actually make? I would say probably not that much. If they sold in discount stores for $2 each. How much did the Chinese manufacturer actually make net income? Maybe a quarter per-unit? They may have made 50 cents per Evilstick. It is hard to determine because I do not know what their labor expenses are, but I would say this is one reason why they had to go to such extreme measures to sell the product. They probably have been producing them over a half decade with sub-par sales; so in order to boost sales revenue they exhausted their supply of this product by retiring it into a collectible item. They sold all of the units and plus they have the bragging rights to know they were behind the infamous Evilstick. Clever but questionable.
Okay now, as a final ending note. The Evilstick while controversial, is not so bad. If they truly had psychological warfare on their minds, they would have made every Evilstick possess the disturbing image, but not only that, they would have made a more gruesome image. The one they used is disturbing for a 2 year old to stumble across, but at least they didn't make it into something rated R with blood squirting everywhere. And if they were truly trying to be "Evil" it may have even had a picture of a small child as opposed to an adult. Just somethings to think about.
Okay folks, I hope you enjoyed my analysis of The Evilstick. Remember if you run across one in the dollar store either buy it and hang on to it, or put that sucker on eBay and make a quick extra few hundred dollars.
Thanks for stopping by.