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14th Annual DURACELL® Kids' Choice Toy Survey

BETHEL, CT (October 9, 2001) -- The experts have spoken, and they want action...action-packed play, that is! Kids across the country have voted the high-speed, versatile Gearhead Street Savage Remote Control Vehicle as number one in the 14th Annual DURACELL® Kids' Choice Toy Survey. Unlike other remote control vehicles, Gearhead Street Savage features rear wheel steering that allows it to zip around at every angle. By alternating the direction of the joysticks, kids can perform "extreme" high-speed spins and wheelies.

Rounding out the 2001 "Top 10" list in the kid-tested, kid-approved survey are:

  1. Gearhead Street Savage RC Vehicle (DSI Toys, Inc.)
  2. Racin' Rider (Little Tikes)
  3. CAT Tough Loader (Fisher Price)
  4. Barbie "Sing With Me" Karaoke Machine (KIDdesigns)
  5. Shootout Soccer (Mega Bloks)
  6. Power Pop-Up T-Ball (Sport-Fun)
  7. Kawasaki Mega Deluxe Drum Pad (DSI Toys, Inc.)
  8. Radio Flyer Racer Pedal Car (Radio Flyer, Inc.)
  9. E-Shoop Hula Hoop (Wham-O Inc.)
  10. Rock-A-Bye Chou Chou (Zapf Creation)

"One of the most surprising similarities among this year's 'Top 10' is the extent to which - technological advances aside - so many of the toys are updated versions of 'classics' that have appealed to kids for generations," said Julie Creighton, director, DURACELL Kids' Choice Toy Survey. "Whether a hula hoop, pedal car or a remote control motorcycle, these toys remain popular largely because of the 'active play' benefits they offer."

Survey results are based on the votes of more than 700 children, ages four to eleven, who "play tested" 25 of the year's best new toys and games for a seven-day period. Toy testing was conducted during August at YMCA summer camps in 15 major cities nationwide.

The "Top 10" toys represent a range of the best new battery- and non battery-operated toys chosen from a variety of categories that includes musical performance, arts and crafts, construction, active play, sports and board games. Based on individual experiences, each child chose a first, second and third favorite toy. The rankings from each child were then compiled to develop the overall "Top 10" Kids' Picks.

Kids Love New Twists, But Classic Play Patterns Prevail

2001 is a year of new twists on old ideas. Radio control vehicles have become classics in their own right, and kids voted two of them -- the high speed Gearhead Street Savage car and the easier-to-operate Racin' Rider motorcyclist -- to the first and second place spots, respectively.

Pretending to drive is a classic play pattern for kids, and both the automated CAT Tough Loader construction-themed vehicle and the more traditional pedal-powered Radio Flyer Racer Pedal Car with a working hand brake found a place among the Top 10.

Both the Rock-A-Bye Chou Chou doll and Shootout Soccer, which invites kids to design their own soccer stadium and then to "kick" the ball into a goal, represent traditional "imaginative play" toys that have been enhanced for greater appeal. The same holds true for the E-Shoop Hula Hoop , a hula hoop that features an electronic counter and timer, and Power Pop-Up T-Ball, which releases a spring-action-operated ball at just the right height for youngsters to hit with a bat.

Finally, both the Kawasaki Mega Deluxe Drum Pad and Barbie "Sing With Me" Karaoke Machine encourage creativity and group play.

"Such 'performance' toys are also classic vehicles for kids to build confidence and to express themselves," said Creighton.

Girls Are More Willing to Bridge the Ever-Present Gender Gap

Although there remain clear differences between boys' and girls' favorites, girls' choices bridged the gap more than boys' in 2001. Such traditionally "masculine" toys as Gearhead Street Savage, CAT Tough Loader and Radio Flyer Racer Pedal Car all found a place among the girls' "Top 10" picks. The boys' list, on the other hand, did not include any toys that would be considered traditionally "feminine," such as Rock-A-Bye Chou-Chou or Café Play Boutique Bakery.

The Toy Testing Process

Each year, hundreds of toys are submitted for inclusion in the DURACELL Kids' Choice Toy Survey. The Duracell Toy Team, a panel that includes an independent toy industry expert, evaluates each toy against strict criteria. All toys that are selected to be "play tested" must encourage social interaction and creativity, have long-lasting play appeal, recognize, reward and respect the play patterns of both boys and girls, and must not encourage aggressive behavior. Kids then test these toys at 15 YMCAs nationwide and vote for their favorites.

"For 14 years, Duracell has been pleased to offer a kids'-eye view on what's hot for the holiday season, providing guidance for parents and other gift givers as well," said Ann Davin, director, public relations, Duracell.

All toys tested in the DURACELL Kids' Choice Toy Survey are donated to the participating YMCAs following voting. Additionally, hundreds of toys and games submitted for the initial toy selection process will be donated to various non-profit organizations for children.

1-800-BEST-TOYS and Web Site Information

Whether shopping for a future rock star, a budding "extreme sports" fan or a driver-in-training, grown-ups will find the perfect gift in this year?s short list of toys. Parents and holiday shoppers need look no further than the nearest telephone for this year's "Top 10" list. By calling 1-800-BEST TOYS, callers can hear the complete list in either English or Spanish.

In addition to hearing the "Top 10" picks, callers to 1-800-BEST-TOYS can also receive a list of all 25 toys tested in the 2001 survey and coupons toward the purchase of DURACELL COPPERTOP alkaline batteries.

Web-savvy shoppers can access the "Top 10" Kids' Picks and toy selection tips by visiting the DURACELL Kids? Choice Toy Survey Web site at www.duracell.com.

About Duracell

Part of the Boston-based Gillette Company, Duracell is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of high-performance alkaline batteries. Duracell also sells primary lithium and zinc air batteries, as well as rechargeable nickel-metal hydride batteries. Gillette is the world leader in male grooming, a category that includes blades, razors and shaving preparations. The Company also holds the number one position worldwide in sales of selected female grooming products, such as wet shaving products and hair epilation devices. In addition, Gillette is the global market leader in manual and power toothbrushes.

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