Mini-Brands, The Hot Collectible That Is Also A Diorama Godsend
5 Surprise “blind box” toys from Zuru are one of the hottest kids collectibles on the market right now. They have innovative packaging, a small portable size and are priced just right for kids to obsess over. Among the popular lines in this program are Glitter Unicorn Squad and Dino Strike, but today we’re going to look at a particularly cool subdivision of 5 Surprise that is not only highly collectible for kids, but is also a dream come true for many 1/6 scale dioramists.
5 Surprise Mini-Brands hit stores before Christmas last year and while they flew under the radar of adults, they became an instant hit with kids, selling out almost everywhere and garnering over half a billion views for a viral campaign on Tik Tok and YouTube.
5 Surprise Mini Brands are exact realistic miniatures of some of the world’s most loved shopping brands. Inside each package (more on that later) you will find tiny replicas of popular name-brand food items, candy, shampoo, deodorant and other household essentials.
Kids love these because kids love miniature stuff. These are highly collectible, with some rare “chase” items featuring metallic or glow-in-the-dark highlights. Each package includes a checklist, which is cleverly designed to look like a full-color cash register receipt, and some packages include buildable extras like shopping carts, shelfs or baskets.
The tiny replicas are extremely well-made, with exact copies of the product’s labels and packaging, and very high-quality printing to capture all that detail. They even mimic the distinctive shapes of the full-size product’s packaging. While that is great for kid collectors, it’s a godsend for folks who build dioramas for 1/6 action figures or fashion dolls (I’m talking about the original GI Joe and Barbie-sized figures here). Keep in mind that most of these are less than two inches long.
While the scale across the entire line is not consistent, most items are close enough to 1/6 scale for diorama work. A Barbie kitchen or GI Joe mess hall can now be stocked with real products.
Amond the food brands you’ll find are Hormel Chili, Armour Bacon, Moon Pies, Twinkies, Spam, Skippy Peanut Butter, Bagel Bites, Laughing Cow Cheese, Miracle Whip, Jell-o, Kool-Aid, and many, many more. The first series offers over a hundred tiny brand-name items, while the newly-released Series 2 adds more than seventy new products into the mix.
It’s not just food. There’s stuff like Q-Tips, Vaseline, Wet Ones, Pez, Dove Body Wash and more.
The packaging is particularly cool. The 5 Surprise line is sold in a shrink-wrapped ball, about the size of an orange. Like an orange, once you peel it open, it divides into segments. Each of the five segments is a sealed compartment with one Mini-Brand (or buildable accessory). This is remarkablly clever. The items can even be put back into the segments, which can be reassembled for storage, but there are also collector albums and a display Mini Mart available.
The first series of 5 Surprise Mini-Brands is sold in a white segmented capsule, while the second is gold. A quick glance at the checklists indicates that the second series is primarily food, spices, condiments and beverages, while the first series is a mix of all sorts of grocery staples.
I can’t imagine the work that must have gone into licensing all these different brands. I doubt that they had to pay any fees, since this is basically free advertising for the products included, but they do have to secure permission, and that probably took a Herculean effort.
These are very affordable. They can be found for six or seven bucks per capsule, and each capsule contains five Mini-Brands, so it’s not a back-breaker if you want some additional products for your GI Joes or Barbies to have around their Head Quarters or Dream House.
I can certainly understand the appeal to kids, and I think these could catch on big with 1/6 dioramists too. Even the packaging has customizing potential. You can find tons of videos about 5 Surprise Mini-Brands on YouTube, and they’re sold at Walmart, Target, Amazon and many other retailers.
I didn’t have time to build a complete diorama, but below you can get an example of how well 5 Surprise Mini-Brands work with 1/6 scale action figures and fashion dolls.
Spaceman Joe likes his Bagel Bites with a dash of Barbecue Sauce. I suppose we shouldn’t judge.