At first glance, Sonny Angels appear as if they’d be your regular figurine of a cute cherub… and that’s right, they are! A little spark of happiness lights up in your eye with a longing look into one of these’ little poses.
Hoards of people crowd one spot inside the bookstore. Is it a new John Green book? Maybe a sale of the Heartstopper graphic novels? Upon fighting through the group, boxes are being shook and shelves are being emptied by the second. There it is, behold, the Sonny Angel, just for around ₱500.
With its bombastic side eye and plump bottom, there’s no mistaking a Sonny Angel when it’s out in the wild. Cabbage, seahorse, you name it, these little toys took Gen Z hearts by storm! But what is it about these little collectible toys that sparks such a trend? Three Benildean students share their experiences as The Benildean seeks answers.
Up and out of the box
While one can buy a Sonny Angel and resist the urge to buy an army of little cherubs, ending up with a whole collection is more common than you’d think for Sonny Angel parents.
“Let me just count them,” ID121 Architecture student Bianca Mondero said, appearing as if the collection was too many to count at first, but later on explaining how she just wasn’t with her roughly 30 Sonny Angel figurines.
To Marketing professor and consultant Mr. Jan Dela Peña, there isn’t much online marketing from the company itself, leading into a whole array of questions in his head. “Definitely the website is not the driver for the increase of the purchasing power nowadays,” he said. Moreover, he noticed how the product doesn’t seem to appear much in the toy fairs he visits with his wife, adding more intrigue into the resurfacing of its popularity.
Much like Mondero, ID121 Multimedia Arts student Isabella Alarilla, who's sure enough about her 30 plus Angel Count, explained her motivation for her purchases. “Hindi ko pa nakukuha ‘yung mga priorities ko,” she said, listing some of her target series such as the “Enjoy the Moment” Spiritual Growth angel, regular rabbit angel, and the lop eared regular angel.
Moreover, ID119 Multimedia Arts student Tirza Ratilla shared that they enjoy discovering these toys with their partner. Later on, they found a business opportunity providing crochet clothes to the toys, even attending a recent convention dedicated to Sonny Angels called “Sonny Swap” on Oct. 21 to 22.
May he bring you happiness
Further into the discussion-focused interview, Mr. Dela Peña later on brought up the idea of an earned media, an unpaid and consumer-driven form of advertising, a likely contender for its rise into the limelight. Through the density of Sonny Angel content on Tiktok and other social media, according to Google Trends, the toy began to skyrocket in popularity around the end of May or early June of this year.
While consumers genuinely find the toys adorable and worth the purchase, the sudden trend invites more people to want to feel included by jumping in on the trend and purchasing one, or more, for themselves.
“The only thing that rubs me the wrong way is when people use [Sonny Angels] as a social status,” Ratilla said, explaining their distaste for people using the toy as a way to brag about the quantity that they can purchase.
Truth be told, the toy’s creator Toru Soeya has discussed how the concept behind the Sonny Angel was for it to represent a “little boyfriend” that provides comfort specifically to 25-year-old working women and the struggles they face. However, the original market has seemed to fade a little in light of Benildeans in the middle of college finding a “spark” of happiness in the toy.
Cute and funny, expensive and trendy, Sonny Angels jumped head first into the spotlight as it showers consumers with its charm. Whether the relationship between angel and collector comes from wanting the most or through a sincere feeling of joy, the trend doesn’t seem to find itself going away anytime soon with Sonny Angel’s upcoming “Winter Wonderland” series pillowing on the horizon—just in time for the season of giving.