"Baby Einstein" videos are nearly a rite of childhood.

© 2006 Publications International, Ltd.

If you're like most parents with a baby or toddler, chances are the name "Baby Einstein" is part of your everyday vocabulary. Your playroom may, in fact, include copies of "Baby Mozart" and "Baby DaVinci" right alongside your child's building blocks, stacking rings, and other toys.

Owning at least one "Baby Einstein" video is practically a given for today's parents. Right up there with a stroller, high chair, and other baby-gear essentials, DVDs bearing the "Baby Einstein" brand name are topping baby gift registries and wish lists across the country.

In this article, we'll explore just how "Baby Einstein" became a household name and amassed a following with moms and babies across the globe.

Baby Steps

In 1997, The Baby Einstein Company was founded by Julie Aigner-Clark, a new mom who, at the time, realized there were no products that would enable her to share her love of classical music, art, poetry, and language with her young daughter. So she set out to create a short video, shot in her own home, without any intricate plotlines or complex characters. The idea was to tell a story from a baby's point of view, plain and simple. Interactive puppets and images of toys, children, and other everyday objects comprise the basic format of these videos, which are set to the sounds of classical music.

Aigner-Clark's idea was a hit. As parents learned of the video, consumer demand for more "Baby Einstein" products grew dramatically, resulting in other videos, followed by books, CDs, and toys. The mission statement of "Baby Einstein" is "to promote discovery and inspire new ways for parents and children to interact."

Dr. Steveanne Auerbach (a.k.a. Dr. Toy), a toy industry pundit, praises "Baby Einstein" videos for their ability to "provide valuable, entertaining, educational stimulation without commercials." In 2002, she named "Baby Beethoven Symphony of Fun" one of the top 100 children's products for its "delightfully unique images and dynamic sound effects to create an engaging and fun learning experience."

In 2001, when Baby Einstein was purchased by The Walt Disney Company, the brand expanded into additional categories. Today, you'd be hard-pressed to find a children's store that doesn't carry product bearing the famous logo. With an established worldwide presence -- in 30 countries and in more than 25 languages -- "Baby Einstein" has clearly garnered a reputation with mass appeal.

We'll take a look at the reasons parents buy "Baby Einstein" videos for their children in the next section.