In 2018, for which concept did the toy company Hasbro receive a trademark?
And the answer: the smell of Play-Doh.
Play-Doh was originally created in the 1930s as a wallpaper cleaner. Hasbro describes the scent as a "combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough."
In the same manner that Play-Doh has been an unchanging staple of many children's playrooms since its debut in the mid-twentieth century, so too has been its sweet smell. The 2018 decision to trademark reflects the company’s desire to preserve the "invaluable point of connection between the brand and fans for years to come," according to Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of Play-Doh’s Global Marketing. Without it, they fear, Play-Doh wouldn’t be the same known and loved clay-like substance that children have been enjoying for decades.
Upon its creation, inventor Joe McVicker had no idea that Play-Doh would go on to become one of the most well loved toys of the century. McVicker first created the putty to help clean soot off of wallpaper, but soon after the putty’s creation realized that the market he sought had no place for him. Thankfully, his sister-in-law suggested an alternative: market the putty to kids. After distributing the doh to a nearby Cincinnati elementary school, teachers and children alike raved about its creativity and easy use. Soon, the rest of Cincinnati was enjoying the toy, and Play-Doh’s success began to grow.
According to Fortune magazine, Play-Doh has sold more than 3 billion cans since its debut as a child’s toy in 1956 (that’s over 700 million pounds!). On their website, Hasbro even goes so far as to claim:
“Urban legend has it that if you took all of the Play-Doh compound created since 1956 and put it through the Play-Doh Fun Factory playset, you could make a snake that would wrap around the world 300 times."
And what a colorful snake it would be. Learn more about the history of Play-Doh by checking out the video below.