Exploding piggy bank could help Japanese save

Japanese toy maker TOMY Co's bomb-shaped piggy bank in an undated photo released by the toy maker on November 8, 2007. The piggy bank, which vibrates, shines, beeps and "explodes" to remind the user to feed it coins, will go on sale next week with a price tag of about $27. REUTERS/TOMY Company, Ltd./Handout

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - A new piggy bank bomb could make saving money more of a thrill. Japanese toy maker TOMY Co Ltd is releasing a bomb-shaped piggy bank that shakes, shines, beeps and “explodes” to remind the user to feed it coins.

When a lazy user fails to add cash to the battery-operated piggy bank every day, it vibrates and makes noises on an hourly basis, finally concluding the loud reminders by exploding -- or rather, automatically opening its skull-marked door and scattering all the contents on to the floor.

“This is a piggy bank where you have no way but to save,” a spokeswoman for TOMY said.

“We wanted to add some thrill to an act that’s usually painstaking.”

The product, which goes on sale next week, costs about 3,000 yen ($27) and, despite the odd explosion, can be used repeatedly.

January is a battlefield for Japan’s piggy bank market, because people often make saving money one of their New Year resolutions and because children like to put aside the cash gifts their family gives them on New Year’s Day.

Last year, the company launched a popular piggy bank with a screen showing comic characters that grow older according to the amount the user saved. It sold 250,000 in a year.