Fans of the hit Australian animated series Bluey have turned to social media in their attempts to track down a toy from the show in time for Christmas, but it is not the cheeky blue heeler character the series takes its name from that has parents in a spin.
Merchandise from the award-winning show includes plush toy versions of Bluey ("a 6-year-old blue heeler pup who loves to play"), Bandit ("the devoted, yet tired father") and Chilli ("a working mum"), the dog family at the centre of the ABC/BBC coproduction which debuted in 2018.
But it's the mini plush toy version of Bingo ("Bluey's younger sister") that has proven to be more popular than expected, catching the series' production and marketing teams by surprise.
Ms Bolling co-hosts the Gotta Be Done podcast with Kate McMahon, described as "two Melbourne mums obsessed with ABC TV's Bluey", with a recent episode discussing the difficulty of finding Bingos for sale.
"I have not even seen a Bingo in a shop yet and I've been on the hunt ever since they came out," Ms Bolling said.
Luckily, she got her hands on one when a Queensland mother saw a Bingo in store and contacted her via social media, offering to send the toy to her in the post, something she was unsure of at first.
"I had to take her up on that and I'm so glad I did, that was probably about a month ago now and I've looked out for extra Bingos since then and I'm yet to find one," she said.
"We're hearing that when a box of Blueys and Bingos hit the shops, there's 10 Blueys to every one Bingo, so she's a bit outnumbered to start with."
With stores selling out of Bingo toys as soon as they hit the shelves, Ms Bolling said she had heard reports of some parents offering incentives for shop staff to reserve a Bingo for Christmas.
"I haven't heard about money changing hands, but really lovely shop assistants putting aside Bingos if someone rings and sounds particularly desperate," she said.
Ms Bolling said she believed the toy manufacturers may not have realised how popular the Bingo plush was going to be.
"She's the little sister and she's just charming, she always takes every game they play to the next level, she's just a really quirky character and I think people are really relating to that," she said.
"They really need to step up their Bingo production, preferably before Christmas, but I think we'll take Bingo whenever we can get her."
Daley Pearson, cofounder at Ludo — the Australian production company behind the series — said it was true, tweeting in response to a comment by a woman that "Bingo is as important and as popular as Bluey. They come as a pair. Why would you want one and not the other?"
"Even though we prepared for it with great partners, the response to Bluey this year has been overwhelming," Pearson wrote in reply.
"We're so appreciative for all the love. You're right, Bluey and Bingo are a pair and we're all working to fix this for you."
Marketing manager of toy company Moose Australia, Khia Pledger, said they, "always knew that Bingo was going to be really popular".
Ms Pledger said more than 100,000 Bluey and Bingo toys had been sold since the release of the mini plush line in November.
But she said despite the Christmas shopping rush and associated stresses, the quest for a mini plush Bingo was yet to turn feral.
"In terms of what I see online, it has actually been really positive and friendly and it's almost like a little bit of a treasure hunt to find Bingo at the moment," she said.
The supplier has said a new toy would hit the shelves in January, sadly too late for Christmas Bingo hunters.
Topics: children, community-and-society, social-media, family-and-children, human-interest, business-economics-and-finance, hobart-7000, launceston-7250, tas
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