Bubble Wrap Bursts Onto Scene as a Nominee to Toy Hall of Fame

Charlotte Business Journal
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bubble Wrap is now a toy?

Yes, say the folks at the National Toy Hall of Fame.

The padding product from Charlotte-based Sealed Air Corp. (NYSE: SEE) is among a dozen traditional toys and games that are finalists for induction into the Toy HOF for 2016.

It’s up against toys like Nerf balls, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, coloring books, Transformers and Care Bears for induction this year.

Only two or three will get into the hall of fame. Winners will be announced by The Strong museum in Rochester, N.Y., on Nov. 10. A celebration follows.

If Bubble Wrap wins, it joins such toys as Star Wars action figures, Monopoly and Mr. Potato Head in the hall of fame.

It’s not a reach to think of Bubble Wrap as a toy, says John Wolf, vice president of global marketing for Sealed Air's product care division.

“Bubble Wrap can be so many things to so many different people,” Wolf says. “I’m always the most popular dad in the science class because kids get to see Bubble Wrap made.”

Saying that, Wolf is a little concerned about Bubble Wrap’s competition in Rochester.

“It’s going to be tough to beat the Nerf ball,” he says.

The National Toy Hall of Fame was created by The Strong museum in Rochester, N.Y., in 1998. The museum collection is “the world's largest and most comprehensive assemblage of toys, dolls, board games, video games, other electronic games, books, photographs, documents and other historical materials related to play,” according to a news release about the 2016 nominees for the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Bubble Wrap was created by accident in 1957 by two engineers trying to develop a new kind of wallpaper.

Wolf says Bubble Wrap remains an icon for Sealed Air, but it makes up only about 1% to 2% of the company’s sales.

Bubble Wrap and the entirety of Sealed Air will call a 34-acre campus near the Billy Graham Parkway its home beginning next month, as employees start to move into the $58 million headquarters.

But, really, is Bubble Wrap a toy?

Yes, say The Strong museum officials.

“Consumers saw the entertainment value in repeatedly popping the bubbles,” the museum says in a statement about this year’s nominees. “This amusement factor even spurred an industry of virtual bubble popping — including key chain game and computer games.”

Here’s a link to a virtual Bubble Wrap popping game.


Story originally published by Charlotte Business Journal



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