The toy was called a Doinkit, and for a coming episode of “Nathan for You,” Fielder had offered his services to its manufacturer, Marky Sparky Toys, experimenting with a marketing campaign that preyed crassly on the insecurities of the target demographic: young children. Owning a Doinkit, Fielder’s copy asserted, is the only way to prove you’re not a baby.
“It’s basically selling children an identity, the same way you sell adults a Lexus,” Koman said.
Notarnicola dialed up footage from a focus group composed of Fielder and three young children. “This is me testing out whether the pitch will work and get kids to want the toy,” Fielder explained. On-screen, in a tie and ill-fitting button-down shirt, Fielder held a Doinkit and quizzed his prepubescent panel. “When I show this to you, what do you think? Do you want it?”
The kids were unmoved. “Duuumb,” one said.
Fielder pretended to get a phone call. “Hello? Oh, yes, sir. Really? Oh, my God, I’ll let them know.” He hung up and addressed the kids again. “Sorry, guys. That was the governor, and he just told me that owning this toy is now the only proof you’re not a baby. I mean, I have one, so that’s good. I see you guys don’t have the toy. Are you babies?”
Two kids quickly grabbed Doinkits from the table. The third, a girl, briefly resisted before succumbing with evident unease.
“What do you feel inside right now?” Fielder asked her.
“I don’t feel anything,” she replied, holding her Doinkit despondently.