The Legend of The Buzzy Bee


Buzzy Bee. An iconic pull along toy here in New Zealand. Ironically, I didn’t buy my son’s Buzzy, but found it happily smiling on a pavement. Coincidence? I think not! Sterling (my son) adores this toy. As he’s grown, he’s been increasing the speed at which he can pull his striped friend, and the sound of it’s wings rage through the house like a pre-school rendition of Mad Max.


So what makes this toy so iconic? How did this basic distraction become the front runner of Kiwiana tradition here in New Zealand? There are many things we can learn about branding from our good friend Buzzy Bee.

  1. Find the ultimate Brand Ambassador.

One of the most famous toddlers to visit New zealand? Prince William. Prince William was televised and photographed playing with a Buzzy Bee in 1983, which ultimately brought the toy back into fashion. This even spiked a tradition in New Zealand that all Royal Children should have a go, including the Spanish Royal Family, and Princess Aiko of japan. If it’s good enough for a royal, it’s good enough for us right?

2. Lead the way.

When Fisher-Price started manufacturing Buzzy Bees in the 1950’s, it was the first toy they had made which featured plastic. Love it or hate it, this was new and fresh at the time, and created a futuristic pull to the now so unbelievably classic toy.

3. Know and predict your market.

Following the war, and the new importing restrictions, Buzzy Bees flew off the shelves with the era of the Baby Boomers. War makes you want to make babies I guess, and babies like toys. This was the most successful phase for the Buzzy Bee.



4. Put yourself out there.

So Buzzy is probably more famous than you. He’s a radio host, a storyteller and a television actor. Where does he find the time to just be a Bee? Buzzy even has his own elite club called The Buzzy Club, where children and other toys can share their stories.


5. Evolve with your audience.

In conjunction with the above, Buzzy has a series of Apps and games too, meaning children can virtually play with Buzzy. Welcome to 2017.

6. Sell the simplest product.

How many businesses do you hear of where your instant reaction is ‘why didn’t I think of that!?’ Buzzy’s simplicity, primary colouring and basic mechanics makes him a hit with preschoolers. You only have to look at a Fidget Spinner or Lego to see that cult toys are all SO BASIC.

So thank you Buzzy, for your guidance in branding, and your ability to distract my son while I make dinner. You rock.

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