Tonka Canada Post Toy Truck


It was not that long ago that when big name manufacturers dropped products into Canada, they would create Canada-specific versions like this Tonka vehicle (in the States it was covered in army camouflage and in the UK it was a delivery truck). Everything, from automobiles, housewares, toys (Lego, Mechano, Matchbox and more, all did Canadian versions of their products) would be custom tuned to fit our marketplace.

Over the past few decades, at least since Free Trade, the need to nationally tune products was replaced by various global commodities and co-brands like movie/entertainment designs and celebrity endorsements taking over. What was a Canada Post truck was now a Transformers, or a Disney modeled truck. This was a fine idea, it allowed brands to create products that could fit into wider markets, and reduce the cost and energy needed to make things locally specific over and over for every market they entered.

Funny thing though: I have noticed a growing trend of local specific details being slapped back onto products entering Canada (and other markets too). Globalization, and the new ways of manufacturing and distribution is enabling and encouraging this “old” idea again. To help define, differentiate and encourage local markets, brands are reattaching themselves to regional imagery, colours and ideas to tap markets bloated with anonymous product, and to reach consumers tired of internationally styled design.

It was feared that globalization would sweep cultures clean and drive monoculture but in reality the opposite is emerging. Brands are becoming more flexible and robust, with the best ones being able to deliver their products as local content, to local audience with amazing specificity (like McDonald’s menus, Nike trainers, iPods, the new Mini Cooper, etc). This not only opens the doors to products entering foreign markets, it makes the products more desirable to those markets. This formula also creates desirability in the products that are created for other locations. Brands create globally flavoured products, inspired by local markets, and in the process create broad product families, and a deep desire to collect and buy models from other places. A trainer collector will seek out all the models of sneakers instead of just one (Nike fans buying every model, like the New York and LA models of Air Force Ones)

Get ready; we may be seeing a whole wave of Canadian tuned products again, with the Canadian symbols and iconography reemerging as powerful drivers of marketplace identity and placement. RCMP styled iPhone, a Canada red VW Beetle, or buffalo check Nike’s anyone?


Similar Posts
Centennial Souvenir Ball
Streamridge Large Hoop Sleigh
Souvenir of Canada Spinning Tops
Child’s Toy Bricks
The Design Deck Playing Cards
Lego CN Tower
Game Developers Conference Canada Logo