Ty Monstaz were silently introduced through 15 select stores in Columbus, Ohio, in early November 2011. Ty acquired a trademark for the "Monstaz" name earlier that same year.
There were nine different creatures in the initial release of Monstaz. Each one was available in three different sizes. The large version is 8 inches tall, the regular version is 5.25 inches tall and the key-clip version is 2.75 inches tall. Sizes vary slightly. The swing tag for each Monstaz shows its birthday and information about the creature.
The 1st generation swing tag on the initial release of Monstaz was a new design. The Ty heart/logo swing tag had been replaced on this product line by a custom Monstaz swing tag. When the 2nd generation of Monstaz swing tags came out, Ty had switched back to a more traditional Ty logo, red swing tag.
Each test-market Monstaz creature has a small heart embroidered on its chest. The heart has "Luv Me" in the center. When the heart is pressed, the creature launches into eight seconds of Monstaz-speak. It sounds like Monstaz gibberish to us, but someone with acute hearing and a little imagination might conclude Monstaz are asking for permission to watch TV. The key-clip versions don't make any sounds.
The retail production versions of Monstaz shipped to Ty retailers near the end of January 2012. The general release versions have minor changes from the test-market versions. The most noticeable differences between the test-market and general release versions are listed on the individual Monstaz pages. The most immediately noticeable difference was the disappearance of the embroidered "LUV ME" heart on the general release Monstaz key-clips. Ty also swapped around the poems and birthdates inside the swing tags. The general release version of Benny, for example, ended up with the poem and birthday that belonged to the test-market version of Zelda.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT MONSTAZ SIZES - Prior to July 2012, Ty referred to the Monstaz sizes as regular (5-inch), big (9-inch) and clip (5-inch). In the Fall 2012 Ty retailer catalog, when new larger Monstaz were first introduced, the size labels for the others changed to regular (6-inch), medium (9-inch) clip (5-inch) and large (13-inch) for the new larger size. All size labels for Ty Monstaz at tycollector.com have been updated to reflect the new sizing labels in current Ty retailer catalogs.
Near the end of May 2014, Ty started selling Monstaz in the Ty online store, at or close to the wholesale price. This seemed a likely indication the Monstaz product line would be retired. At the end of June 2014, most of the Monstaz were taken "off order" for authorized Ty retailers; yet another indication the product line was finished, even though Ty was still selling them in the Ty online store.
Sales of Monstaz may have been handicapped by numerous complaints from consumers that the batteries (inside the Monstaz) could not be replaced. Childrens' favorite Monstaz just stopped talking and there was nothing Mommy or Daddy could do except to purchase another Monstaz.
There were also consumer complaints that the early Monstaz spoke gibberish that could not be understood. One of the last Monstaz introduced (Frizzy), was made without a sound chip.
In July of 2014, Ty introduced a new product line called Frizzys, similar in style to the Monstaz, but without sound chips and sporting the fuzzy hair first introduced with the Frizzy Monstaz.