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The Mexican’s New Toy: The Reversible Octopus

A popular toy in Mexico that doubles as a therapy item for children with communication issues.

Mexican consumers have grown to love a certain stuffed animal since it first arrived on the market in 2020: a reversible octopus that has a smiling face and an angry one.

Its popularity grew thanks to the Internet, as videos featuring it went viral on Facebook, Instagram and Tik-Tok. The number of units sold skyrocketed during the holiday season, since both children and adults wanted to have it. The cute and eye-catching toy is likely to see a spike in sales during St. Valentine’s Day.

What is the origin of these stuffed animals?

The company TeeTurtles Toys manufactures the reversible octopus, which hit stores with the slogan, “Show your mood without saying a word.” The target audience is 6-year-old children, and some believe these stuffed animals can help children with ADHD, autism and Asperger syndrome.

While many people maintain that the reversible octopus is a regular toy, others think it is a therapeutic toy and argue that it should be exclusive to specialists working with children who have difficulties showing their emotions.

Its popularity soared as it went viral on the Internet. *** Su popularidad creció de manera rápida debido a que se hizo viral a través de Internet. (Product image/Amazon)

“I started to use this stuffed octopus in session with children who did not answer questions directly,” said Leonor Aguilar Sepúlveda, a psychology graduate from the Universidad Veracruzana. “That is when I use the plush, explaining to the child that they can answer me through it, using either the happy or angry face of the octopus. The toy makes the child feel more confident and, as such, I can better treat them.”

Moreover, they are not scarce, especially in Mexico.

Due to its high demand, both online stores and street vendors sell the toy. Several vendors in flea markets or on the street offer them at the main avenues’ traffic lights, with prices ranging from 80 to 150 pesos ($4-7), depending on their size.

A toy loved by all ages

“My grandfather gave me my stuffed octopus,” said Lizet Cruz Mora, a communications student at the Universidad Veracruzana. “The plush seemed to me like a nice and curious stuffed animal, and so I asked for one as a Christmas gift. I have it in my bed, and I use it as a regular plush. It makes me laugh when I play with it, with its angry or happy faces. To me, it is just a toy, nothing more, nothing less.”

Like many other trendy toys, such as the Cabbage Patch Kids in the 1980s, the toy enjoys its popularity boosted by the Internet.

(Translated and edited by Mario Vázquez. Edited by Carlin Becker.)