It’s been more than a year since videos of influencers opening mystery "balls" filled with mini-sized household items first went viral on TikTok, but the trend isn’t going anywhere as 2020 comes to a close. If you’ve seen the toy during a Target run or stumbled across TikTokers unboxing “mini balls”, you might be wondering: What are Mini Brands balls? Here’s what’s up with the incredibly popular pint-sized trend.
ICYMI, the Zuru-owned Surprise Mini Brands first went viral after its release in April 2019, largely thanks to TikTok. There’s something undeniably satisfying about the miniaturized versions of everyday items, and the mystery toys quickly became one of Google’s top searched toys near the end of 2019, after taking over TikTok’s unboxing sub-genre. Fast-forward to the end of 2020, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down, as Zuru decided to give fans more of what they want with the release of Series 2 in September 2020. Containing items 60 new brands including Kraft, you can still expect to find five tiny food and household items in each ball. So if you haven’t gotten a handle on it yet, now’s the time to learn.
Each little ball contains pint-sized models of everyday household brands like Dove and Vaseline and food items like Jello and Heinz Ketchup. While the figurines look just like the products you could buy at your grocery store, they’re meant to be collected and are not actually filled with teeny pieces of candy or ketchup — so there’s nothing inside them. Sometimes the toys also come with toy shopping carts, shelves, or baskets that help you display your tiny collection. The toys can be purchased online and at retailers like Target and Walmart, as well as on Amazon starting at around $7.
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While the idea of unboxing tiny boxes of Mentos or baby cartons of Breyer’s ice cream might sound a little baffling, TikTokers are obsessed with the trend. As of Wednesday, Nov. 11, the hashtag #MiniBrands has gotten 854.3 million views, and according to Business Insider, the makers of Mini Brands Balls said the social media platform has definitely contributed to a jump in sales.
The biggest driving factor of the toy’s popularity appears to be the surprise element. You don’t know what’s inside each ball until you open it up, which is why TikTokers like Ariana Lee and Addison Rae quickly jumped on the idea of unboxing random Mini Brands Balls and then sharing their contents with viewers. The products’ enduring popularity is proof that everything is infinitely more adorable when it comes in teeny, tiny packaging.
Just remember that if you decide to pick up the product in-store, you’ll want to follow the coronavirus safety recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of Sept. 11, which suggests limiting unnecessary errands and your contact with others as much as possible. Try to opt for delivery or curbside pick up if possible. If shopping in-store, make sure to wear a face mask, social distance from other people as much as possible, and wash your hands after handling the toys.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily’s coverage of coronavirus here.
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