Thursday 2 April 2015

FEATURED: BRIAN the Robot - in toy form!

If you live in the UK and watch TV (or watch anything I guess thanks to Youtube ads and all that jazz), chances are you'll have seen at least one insurance ad featuring BRIAN the Robot. Travelling the country to give you the very best quotes, BRIAN has starred in a number of different ads as well as getting into a spot of bother recently where he was captured and nearly turned to scrap. But he made it out okay, and now he's infiltrating homes across the country as announced their latest offer - BRIAN toys! That's right, if you take out any home or car insurance with Confused you'll also get this free BRIAN toy which boasts pull-back action and says eight different phrases. Thanks to the people at Confused, My Shiny Toy Robots has been granted a VIP look at this great novelty toy.

When you think of something being "free", it's easy to assume that the manufacturer isn't going to put a whole lot of effort behind making the package particularly fancy. But I was amazed at how much effort has gone into making BRIAN's box look extra nice - the rectangular window box feels particularly fitting for a retro-tastic robot such as BRIAN  As well as all the eclectic decor covering the sides, the back features a child-friendly puzzle and a message from BRIAN himself about how much he's looking forward to being your friend. Aw, bless him.

Inside my box was also a certificate of authenticity to say that this was an exclusive collectible replica of the "beloved insurance quoting robot". I'm not sure if all copies of the toy are VIP versions, but if you do get one of this things along with it they do make nice little display pieces. Mine is currently standing beside my television holding the certificate proudly. 

And just to give you a bit of box-ception, inside the toy is actually connected to a tray which basically serves as another level of outer-packaging - complete with pop out welcome mat and battery meter at the top. With it only being connected via a couple of twist-ties BRIAN can be placed back in his designed space quite easily, making this box a nice little charging station of sorts if you want to display him with some sort of backdrop.

So onto the figure itself! And once again I'm pretty impressed at the craftsmanship of what many will simply pass off as a cheap novelty toy. Standing at around eight and a half inches tall BRIAN is no slouch, comprised mostly of coloured plastic with only a few dabs of paint for the eyes. Can we just talk about how hilarious that face sculpt is for a moment? I can't tell if BRIAN is extremely happy to be alive or just completely dead inside. 

For those of you who like articulation in your toys, BRIAN does have a little bit of poseability up his robotic sleeves as well. BRIAN features a waist joint that can move slightly from side to side (but not a full 360 degrees), as well as fully rotating shoulders, elbows and hands that can spin in a full circle. I'm a bit disappointed that a head joint wasn't thrown in there too (other than the arms I'd have through that to be the most obvious?), but that's still a whole lot more than I was expecting. Perfect for BRIAN to get say hello, surrender to a Dalek (or other hostile toy-based lifeform), pretend to be a zombie with those dead inside eyes or just raise the roof.

And finally, we come on to BRIAN's voice clips. The figure runs on LR44 batteries (those little disc-y ones), which are located at the back of the body next to the ON/OFF switch. The voice is activated by pressing the logo button on the centre of his chest, with BRIAN spouting off eight different phrases repeatedly in a specific order. Not being quite up to speed with every BRIAN advert there's been I'm not sure if these are all sound clips from adverts, but his range is pretty varied. Put it this way, I never thought I'd own a toy that said "winner winner chicken dinner". Check out the video above to see the whole range of sounds.

I don't pretend to know much about insurance rates and such, but I do know a good robot toy when I see one. And for a promotional item, this is a pretty damn good one. BRIAN is a good size, a surprising amount of functionality and just a genuinely fun novelty to mess around with. Thanks again to for giving us an exclusive look at him, and I hope you readers have all enjoyed this post!

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