China Toy Fair


What Do Bloggers Want? Part II

By Julie Livingston, Senior Director, Client Development, CarrotNewYork

My last post provided the first part of an interview with Debbie Bookstaber, a leading parent blogger and publisher of Mamanista. Bookstaber has worked extensively in the toy industry, with associations, toy companies, and brands. Following is more valuable insight from this leading blogger and social media expert on what to expect from bloggers and how to work with them more effectively. Connect with her on Twitter at @buzzmommy. To view part one, visit http://bit.ly/ZdlM5w[Read more...]

Fisher-Price Gives Personality to Little People

Sophie, Mia, Koby, Tessa, and Eddie made their debuts as the latest cast of Fisher Price’s Little People characters last week at Citi Pond at Bryant Park.

Kids and parents gathered around as Parents’ Choice award-winning singer/songwriter, Genevieve Goings of Disney Jr.’s Choo Choo Soul took the stage. Under a light snowfall, kids danced along in puffy coats and animal hats as Goings sang original songs about each new Little People character’s personality. [Read more...]

World Book Day Gets Kids Involved in Books, Reading

By Steve John, Director of All Fancy Dress

Once upon a time there was a parent who struggled to involve her child in reading. The little girl simply did not have any interest in books and just wanted to play with her dolls. The mother didn’t know what to do; she tried everything from creating different voices and facial expressions to helping her daughter read the book aloud. Then came World Book Day.

Organised by the United Nations Educational , Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Book Day aims to encourage children to read, fight against illiteracy and have schools across the country excited about the stories and characters they’re about to discover. The event has become increasingly successful, with children excited to purchase a book using their free token. The token can be used to purchase an array of World Book Day stories or put towards a different book that isn’t in the collection. [Read more...]

What Do Bloggers Want? Part I

By Julie Livingston, Senior Director, Client Development, CarrotNewYork

The number of bloggers attending Toy Fair has dramatically increased over the past five years. However, from the numerous conversations I’ve had with industry colleagues and bloggers alike, there is significant confusion about the most effective means of working together.

To clarify these misconceptions, I interviewed Debbie Bookstaber, a leading parent blogger and the publisher of Mamanista, who was recently named one of the “25 Parent Bloggers Who Are Changing The World” by Babble.com. A thought leader in the social space, Bookstaber has spoken at many blogger conferences, including SXSW, BlogHer, Type-A Parent, Springboard, and Affiliate Summit. She has worked extensively in the toy industry with associations, toy companies and brands. Connect with Debbie on Twitter at @buzzmommy. [Read more...]

Instagram Builds Toy Fair Momentum, Community

By Julie Livingston, Senior Account Executive, CarrotNewYork, formerly Senior Director, Public Relations, Toy Industry Association

The adage “a picture tells a thousand words” perfectly describes the free, mobile-sharing app Instagram. The simple act of setting up your Toy Fair product line, exhibit booth, or private showroom can be turned into a compelling narrative easily and effectively. The free application has a simple interface; the bottom part of the app allows you to access the feed and see all of the photos added by you and the individuals you follow. You can click comment to voice your opinion and like a photo by clicking on the heart icon. To give Instagram photos a promotional edge, add a caption including a hashtag or two, such as #BrandXYZ and #TF as well as other, common Instagram tags such as #toys,  #love or #photooftheday that are relevant to your show posts. The site Webstagram is a helpful tool for identifying which hashtags are trending. Remember that although Instagram is a terrific mobile marketing tool, it works best in tandem with other visual content sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr, as these offer the best viral impact for sharing and discussing photos. [Read more...]

Use Twitter to Amplify Toy Fair Messaging

By Julie Livingston, Director of Business Development & Accounts,Child’s Play Communications; former Senior Director of Public Relations, Toy Industry Association

Want your toy or plaything to pop up more in online search? You’ve got to feed the social media engine! By regularly posting information on the leading social media platforms with relevant, ongoing messages and links, the more your company or brand will pop up in online search. This is also a primary means of putting your brand or products on the radar of the legions of reporters who use social media to do their pre-show fact-finding.

As there are a variety of social platforms to choose from, there is no “one size fits all” solution. You don’t have to be everywhere. Focus your efforts on one or several platforms that are well suited to your product, where you can shine. Consider the content itself—who will plan an editorial calendar, create the content, post it, and manage responses? This is critical because members of the press will expect to get expedient responses to their requests.   [Read more...]

What’s Your Toy Fair Product Story?

By Julie Livingston, Director of Business Development & Accounts,Child’s Play Communications; former Senior Director of Public Relations, Toy Industry Association

Reporters scouting Toy Fair for hot products and overarching trends are pressed for time and attention. On a good day, they may have an hour or so to peruse the aisles overflowing with eye candy. Keep in mind that, in addition to covering the spectacle of the show, they are also looking for alternative story angles of greater depth. Such angles may include:

  • Lifestyle trends and new ways that kids are engaging in play;
  • “Hometown heroes”- stories about unlikely toy inventors or inventions;
  • Emerging entertainment properties and licenses;
  • Made in the USA products; and
  • Brand legacy stories (including special anniversaries of best-loved brands and characters). [Read more...]

Get a Head Start on Toy Fair

By Julie Livingston, Director of Business Development & Accounts, Child’s Play Communications; former Senior Director of Public Relations, Toy Industry Association

We all know that the fourth quarter of the current year and first quarter of the new year are a marathon of events and deadlines for the toy industry. First, it is the chaos of closing out holiday orders and enjoying a brief holiday break. Then, for many, it’s on to the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, followed by Nuremberg and then the annual New York Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javits Center from February 10 to 13. With such a compressed timetable, every minute in pre-Toy Fair planning counts.

The annual event draws approximately 1,000 global media representatives from top tier outlets including The Today Show, The View, CNN, the Associated Press, The New York Times, NY Daily News, Wall Street Journal, and many more. Media publicity affords toy companies with valuable promotion and exposure, which can help to hype “driver products”–those in-demand items expected to be hot sellers for the 2013 holiday season.   [Read more...]

GoldieBlox Builds a Foundation for More Female Engineers

Debbie Sterling creates a construction toy designed with girls in mind

What do Bob the Builder, Jimmy Neutron, and Bill Nye the Science Guy have in common? They all love engineering—and they are all male. Similarly, the construction aisles of toy stores are geared primarily toward boys, with blue and black boxes lining the shelves. Fear not, those of you with lady parts, GoldieBlox is here to inspire girls to tinker their way into the male-dominated world of engineering.

Debbie Sterling, who earned her degree in engineering from Stanford University, decided to create Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine, a construction toy specifically designed for young girls, two years ago. At one of Sterling’s “idea brunches,” where she and friends would get together to share their ideas over breakfast, the wheels started turning for the CEO when a fellow female engineer explained how playing with her brothers’ hand-me-down Legos influenced her. Having grown up with only a sister, Sterling was never exposed to construction toys as her parents never thought to venture into the boys’ toy aisles. “That morning, it hit me like a lightening bolt. I was sitting in that room and realized this is my life calling, as corny as it sounds,” she says. [Read more...]

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Offers Toy Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Courtesy of St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital

The holiday season is upon us, which makes it prime time for toy buying. In fact, more than half of the three billion toys and games sold in the U.S. each year are purchased at Christmas time. While the majority of toys are safe, thanks in part to stronger federal rules and higher standards from toy makers, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that last year alone more than 193,200 U.S. children were treated in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries.

“Toys have changed over the years and the assortment can be astounding, particularly to those who haven’t shopped for kids in a while,” says Bevin Maynard, a child advocate at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. “Child safety, however, never goes out of style. It is something parents and family members should always keep in mind when selecting gifts for youngsters.” [Read more...]