Updated: Jun 23
I was with Fisher-Price for over 5 years making music and sounds for toys. It was a true pleasure to work with the team there and very fulfilling to know how much impact you have in a child's development and play with music! Not to brag... well to brag.. I also helped drive 3 Toy of the Year Awards in my time there as well, a proud accomplishment! One thing I did with BeatBo that many people might not realize though is, I hid secret Easter Eggs in the audio! I did it to entertain myself and any of the parents or kids listening carefully enough! Growing up, I was always on the hunt for Easter Eggs in video games and other media. Most recently, the Doom soundtrack is ridden with audio Easter Eggs, I encourage you to check that out, that is some next level Easter Egg stuff!
One of my most prized moments I had with Fisher-Price was making the audio and music for BeatBo, a toy that brought dance music into toys in a child-friendly and parent-loving way. As a millennial and knowing that there are lots of millennial parents out there that don't want to hear the same nursery songs over and over, I sought to bring something new to the game in that regard. And after BeatBo took home the Toy of the Year award in 2016, it was a clear confirmation, that this formula worked and parents loved it! :)
So this literally happened... I was in a nightclub, and there was a couple next to me having some drinks, then all of a sudden, I hear them singing "BeatBo Boogie, Do the BeatBo Boogie, Clap Clap!". I turned and just couldn't believe it... that was one of the most reassuring moments with my work at FP. Usually toy audio is graded on a scale of annoying to bearable, and these people were singing it because they actually loved the song! Of course, I had to introduce myself after that performance, and we had some drinks and sung some more BeatBo songs together!
What is an Easter Egg?
So my wife brought this to my attention as I was writing this... She said, "Wait... What's an Easter Egg? And How did you put it in a toy?" I realized now that maybe not everyone calls it an "easter egg". What I mean by this is a hidden or secret that is relatively difficult to discover, a special surprise or treat for the dedicated listener! I've always called it that, but some people might not. Either way, now you know what I'm talking about when I say "Easter Egg". Another good example is back in the day, when you'd have to try combos of buttons like, "square", "triangle", "left", "right", "up", "down", to unlock big head mode, or find the special location filled with gold bars by going under the waterfall. :)
BeatBo’s Hidden Easter Egg
In the very first version of BeatBo, if you press and hold all his buttons, three on the feet and one on the belly (you will hear a bonus music track!) The piece of music featured chopped vocals and a very different style music from what toys generally will have, which is why it got thrown on in this way.
BeatBo Was Only the Beginning!
BeatBo is where I started to bring in Easter Eggs, all the products in the Fisher-Price Bright Beats line that I worked on, are riddled with them! Can you find them? BeatBo, BeatBelle and BeatBowWow, Franky Beats (I'm the voice talent in this one!) and anything in the Fisher-Price Bright Beats line of products are riddled with Easter Eggs! If it was possible, I added an extra secret song or special content with secret button clicks and combinations, so keep an eye out for that!
A Trail of Easter Eggs
I'll give you some clues as to what products have Easter Eggs hidden in them, and i'll leave it up to you to find out how to access them! :)
BeatBo (as see here)
BeatBo DLX (x2)
BeatBo Dance Mat
BeatBo, BeatBelle, BeatBowWow Minis
Frank Beats (my favorite!)
And there's more outside the Bright Beats Line, I just can't think of them off hand....
The toy industry is an interesting beast, and after spending 5+ years in it, I got to learn some of the interesting, sometimes annoying nuances of it. When you’re mass producing a product at 1 million units worldwide or more, every penny counts. Which in the audio world equates a value to every second of music or sounds. If we could find a single penny savings, that nets $10,000 (if it’s a million unit order). Those things add up and equate to the choice of technology, the sampling rate and duration of audio. So sometimes to make this possible, we would blend chunks of the content from all over to create a remix song! In the Bright Beats line, I was thankful enough to bring our marketing team into the idea, and then was giving some extra liberty to plan some space for a secret song!
The electronic chips used in toys are roughly equivalent to a calculator processor. Talk about trailing-edge technology! Regardless, it taught me to appreciate every second I have and to squeeze as much as possible from it! A great friend of mine at Fisher-Price puts what the job is very well by saying, "basically, we are given just the color red in our palette, but our job is to present you with a rainbow of sound!" And that's so true!
Unsung Heroes of Fisher-Price
Many people don't realize that there is someone actually writing and recording all these cool songs for toys! I think that is the case because many other toy companies don't put as much emphasis on the audio or the quality of content. I poured my soul and passion into the music I wrote for BeatBo and so many other products, and there are many others like me doing the same at Fisher-Price to this day! I hope the next time you walk through the toy isle at Walmart you take note of the incredible music in Fisher-Price's toys! You'll be sure to notice the difference in quality compared to V-Tech, LeapFrog, and others, that's for sure!
More Than Just the Product
With BeatBo, I also helped Fisher-Price move into the digital world by producing music videos for BeatBo and the rest of the crew and also hosting it all up on Spotify and iTunes as well. Take a look and listen to some of my favorite songs I wrote for BeatBo and the Bright Beats Line here!
About the Author
Chris is a veteran audio professional who has won multiple awards for his work and brings an unwavering passion to his craft. He has created and programmed sound for toys, games, prototype products, records, apps, film, tv, commercials and more!
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