Stop Motion Animation is a form of animation created using frame-by-frame photography. Although it is time-consuming, it is also very addictive, especially since the results often turn out wonderfully and a seemingly limitless number of objects can be used in the videos.

Although stop-motion is friendly to most smallish items, a toy company called Zing released a line of colorful and fully posable “Stikbot” figurines--with sticky suction-cup feet hands and feet--that are meant to be used to create stop-motion animation. The brand also released a free-to-download app that enables people to easily make and share videos.

Hence, through social media, they have grown their company and done much to promote the creativity that stop-motion animation manifests in people of all ages.

Movie sets, Zing, and Stikbots

In 2017, Zing truly stepped up their game by releasing two “Stikbot Movie Sets.” One is a pirate ship and the other is a farm. Both compact cardboard sets feature “two sided” elements (for example, the farm can be played with in either a green “spring” format or an orange “fall” format), two Stikbot characters, and many, many fun elements like trees, cars, boats, gold coins, treasure, fruits, vegetables, a barn, and even a ship! These sets are so extremely popular--as are the newly released “animal” Stikbots--that Zing is planning to release more in 2018…namely, a “Castle” and a “Space Ship.” Best of all, these sets typically retail for $20 so they are affordable to practically anyone.

Recently Alex Tongue, the Vice President of Marketing at Zing, granted an exclusive interview where he discussed the Stikbot line, especially the movie sets, and how he envisions the brand expanding in the near future.

Inspiration, details, creativity, and evolution

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to create these movie sets for the Stikbots? For instance, why did you choose a farm and a pirate ship?

Alex Tongue (AT): Stikbot has a massive following on YouTube, so we just asked our 800,000+ subscribers to vote on which movie sets they wanted. Farm and Pirate ship were at the top! That’s one of the benefits of having such an engaged audience – they will tell us exactly what they want.

MM: These sets include a lot of detail, so how long did it take to figure out all the aspects?

AT: We have an amazing product development team that designed the movie sets. I don’t know exactly how long it took them to design the movie sets, but know it’s much quicker than I could ever hope to do so!

MM: Typically, how do you decide what themes to use and what sets can people expect to see in the future?

AT: Feedback from our consumers carries a lot of weight, but we also try to think of outside-the-box ideas that kids may not have thought of yet. Fortunately, we have a great creative team here that has an endless number of ideas, so we rely on them a lot to come up with new ideas.

MM: What are some of the most creative story-lines you’ve seen kids and/or animators come up with while using them?

AT: Kids are really creative with the movie sets, and create some of the funniest YouTube videos I’ve ever seen.

I recently saw a video on YouTube in which a Stikbot and its family worked together to fix up the farm and harvest their crops. It is really adorable.

MM: How do you think stop motion helps to foster creativity?

AT: The stop-motion aspect of Stikbot is really cool because it combines imaginative play and content creation. Unlike traditional play patterns for action-figures, in which kids just act out a scene with their toys, Stikbot lets them go back and watch their imagination come to life through the stop-motion video they just created.

MM: What is the best part of working with Zing Toys and are you currently working on any interesting new additions to the Stikbot series?

AT: Everyone at Zing has a passion for what they do, and that passion can be seen in the products we make.

As for new content, 2018 is going to be packed full of original series, movies, and more! Just be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss it!

MM: How do you hope the Stikbot brand will evolve over the next decade?

AT: Stikbot provides a blank canvas for kids’ imaginations, so there is endless room for growth. With the brand’s loyal fan-base, and the innovative team at Zing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stikbot as a household name in toys in a decade.

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