‘5 Surprise Mini Brands’ Blind Box Capsules Are Fun But Wasteful

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5 Surprise Mini Brands, Image: Sophie Brown
5 Surprise Mini Brands, Image: Sophie Brown

What Are 5 Surprise Mini Brands?

5 Surprise Mini Brands is the latest in the 5 Surprise range of collectible blind box style toys. Each 5 Surprise Capsule contains five segments which are individually unwrapped to reveal five small toys in the capsule’s theme. In the case of 5 Surprise Mini Brands, these are miniature replicas of popular brands. The items inside are similar to those found in Shopkins Oh So Real products. Please note: This post contains affiliate links.

What Do You Get in a 5 Surprise Mini Brands Capsule?

In each capsule, you will reveal five mini objects. We opened six 5 Surprise Mini Brands capsules and found that in each one we received either a shopping cart or basket (there are also shelves but we didn’t get any of those) so you’ll actually only get four mini brand products per capsule which did feel like a bit of let down.

The Mini Brands items are slightly larger than Barbie scale but you could easily use them in a Barbie house if you assume Barbie bulk buys at Costco. Across six capsules we received health and beauty products and food items. These included TRESemme shampoo, Axe deodorant, Magnum ice creams, Skippy peanut butter, and a tin of Spam.

An Open Capsule Showing the Packaging and Content with Unopened Capsules Behind, Image: Sophie Brown
An Open Capsule Showing the Packaging and Content with Unopened Capsules Behind, Image: Sophie Brown

You’ll also receive a checklist of all the available items from this series of capsules—there is one of these in each capsule so you’ll end up with a lot of duplicates. This checklist also tells you how common or rare the different Mini Brands items are. The rarest items are the three gold variants but there are also some glow in the dark and metallic variants available too. Out of our six capsules, we pulled one super rare item (a gold bottle of soy sauce) but the rest of our items were common ones.

What Other Capsules Are Available?

Along with 5 Surprise Mini Brands, there are also Pink capsules that contain items including small toys, keychains, plastic jewelry, hair bows, and LED watches, Blue capsules which contain toys, stickers, and LED watches, and Unicorn Squad capsules which contain toy unicorns, clothes and accessories for the unicorns, and other items like stickers and hair combs.

Who Will They Appeal To?

I’ll hold my hands up and say it was me who was initially interested in the 5 Surprise Mini Brands capsules. I’ve always been a sucker for miniature items and the idea of tiny versions of popular shopping brands appealed to me. I also liked the idea of posing some of the dolls in my collection with the items to make funny photos for Instagram.

Barbie Dolls Posed with 5 Surprise Mini Brands Products, Images: Sophie Brown
Barbie Dolls Posed with 5 Surprise Mini Brands Products, Images: Sophie Brown

What surprised me was that my nine-year-old son was also deeply interested in the capsules. In fact, I only got to open one of them myself because he insisted on opening them himself and excitedly crossing off the items he pulled out on one of the checklists. I think there’s something about blind boxes that appeals to kids no matter what’s actually inside them. I suppose that explains why nearly a third of total toy sales in the UK during 2018 were collectibles like these, accounting for “one in every four toys sold in the UK.”

Should I Buy 5 Surprise Mini Brands?

This is a tough question. Let’s look at the positives first. I really liked the 5 Surprise Mini Brands products themselves. They all felt well made and accurate to the larger-scale real products they represented. The inclusion of trolleys, shelves, and baskets allows for kids to play at shop easily, even with only one capsule, and there’s a good variety of products with a nice mix between food and health/beauty items.

Content of a 5 Surprise Mini Brands Capsule (Left) Compared to the Waste from that Same Capsule (Right), Image: Sophie Brown
Content of a 5 Surprise Mini Brands Capsule (Left) Compared to the Waste from that Same Capsule (Right), Image: Sophie Brown

Now the negatives. First, and by far the biggest problem I had is the horrific amount of waste generated by every one of these capsules. Each one is wrapped in two layers of plastic (one printed, one transparent) then sealed closed by a plastic plug. You pull out the plug to open up the capsule, itself made of yet more plastic, and find that each of the five segments is sealed with thin peelable plastic sheets. Finally, we found that some of the products were also housed inside a plastic bag within their segment. The volume of waste generated by each of these capsules is probably four times the volume of the actual products they house which is simply unforgivable nowadays. This seems to be a theme with Zuru products as I noticed a huge proportion of waste when I tested their Bunch O Ballons water toys recently as well.

Moving away from the looming spectacle of plastic waste, I did note that a high proportion of the food products in the capsules were unhealthy (cakes, ice cream, and candy were strongly represented) and the scale of basket and shopping cart were off compared to the products which felt odd. Finally, the cost cannot be ignored. At around $6-10 per capsule, the cost to build up a collection is not insignificant—even ignoring the strong likelihood of receiving lots of duplicates and we had four doubles after opening six capsules.

Our Haul from Six Capsules, Image: Sophie Brown
Our Haul from Six Capsules, Image: Sophie Brown

If the 5 Surprise Mini Brands could be repackaged in such a way as to cut out most of the waste plastic, then I would recommend them. These capsules would make fantastic stocking fillers this holiday season and will add to other play with dolls and action figures. However, until the packaging changes I have to say to avoid them.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

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