February 20, 2024

Critics slam Build-A-Bear Workshop for adults-only Valentine’s Day plush toys


Build-A-Bear Workshop has provoked disgust, and perhaps lust, with an “After Dark” assortment of adults-only stuffed animals in inventory for Valentine’s Day.

The on-line unique product line from the St. Louis, Mo.-based toy retailer options some uncomfortably suggestive stuffed animals — like a monkey dressed like a male stripper or a bear carrying a gown straight from the Playboy Mansion.

“These Valentine’s gifts are designed to delight a partner with a playfully romantic gesture, make a Galentine smile with a cheeky message, or induce a blush from your crush over a plush,” Build-A-Bear mentioned in a information launch final month asserting the gathering. 

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“Largely an adult-to-adult giving holiday, Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to consider Build-A-Bear for a
surprising, unique statement to make your recipient ‘LOL,’” the corporate mentioned.

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A stuffed lion in a satin robe posed suggestively

Build-A-Bear Workshop launched an adults-only “After Dark” assortment for Valentine’s Day. (Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.  / Fox News)

Featured plush toys embrace a stuffed lion with a “Zaddy” shirt — slang for a lovely older man — and the “You Turn Me On” teddy bear reward set.

The “After Dark” assortment is age-restricted to clients 18 and older and is marketed towards “kidults,” in accordance with Build-A-Bear. 

“The increased popularity of Build-A-Bear among adults is part of the ‘kidulting’ trend in which adults lean into childhood memories and search for collectibles that appeal to the playful nature of this older consumer through rekindling their youth with nostalgic gifts,” the information launch mentioned. 

But there’s loads of adults who noticed focused advertisements for a horny teddy bear on social media and had been simply creeped out. 

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A stuffed lion with a "Zaddy" shirt

A plush lion offered by Build-A-Bear workshop with a shirt that claims, “Zaddy.”  (Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.  / Fox News)

“Please excuse me whilst I be violently sick,” London-based advertising strategist Alice Waterman-Hale posted on X, previously Twitter. 

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Waterman-Hale questioned aloud whether or not the grownup toys “had been created just to upset people.” 

If so, mission completed. 

“Why am I getting BAB thirst traps,” an Instagram consumer commented on a Build-A-Bear put up promoting a stuffed animal with the “Zaddy” shirt. 

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A stuffed animal in suggestive sleepwear

Build-A-Bear Workshop’s “Barkleigh” plush toy wearing suggestive pajamas.  (Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.  / Fox News)

“IS THIS NOT FOR CHILDREN???” one other consumer wrote.

“Seriously, this is cringe,” mentioned one other.

But Kaleanne Hearn of Aiken, South Carolina, advised the Journal that she could not wait to get her arms on one of many adults-only push toys after seeing the outrage on social media. She ordered a pink stuffed devil-bear with a bow tie, cuffs and heart-covered boxers.

“He may be a little devious. He can be a stripper on the side,” Heard advised the paper. “But he’s still cute.” 

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Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John mentioned the “After Dark” merchandise are promoting rapidly.

“We want to be sure we’re recognizing the evolution of what people want,” she advised the Journal. “Build-A-Bear’s intention is always to be an upstanding, appropriate, guest-facing brand.” 

She added that Build-A-Bear is a “fun brand.” 

“They’re stuffed animals.” 



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