Dark Horse Deluxe Offers a Unique Take on the Good Luck Trolls

The Good Luck Troll was originally created in 1959 by Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam. At various times since the early 1960s, Trolls have been a top-selling toy, building a seldom-achieved brand equity. Dam Things, which holds all rights to the works of Thomas Dam, is in the process of launching a complete slate of merchandise activities and products for the Good Luck Trolls. Dark Horse Comics has been granted the license for a collectibles program. The line will consist of 15 different trolls, some of which are rare, sold in mystery box assortments.

Dark Horse felt the Good Luck Troll would be a natural fit in the designer vinyl and specialty retail arena, and has created Trolls with unique variations of color and surface treatments. The product development was closely supervised by Dam Things and its brand manager Dannie Festa of Festa Entertainment, including a trip from Denmark to the West Coast prototyping facility to assess and approve the works in progress.

[Read more...]

Tips for Optimizing Exposure For Your Toy in Real Time at Toy Fair

Fifth in a series of posts on preparing for the annual trade event.

by Julie Livingston, director, business development and accounts, Child’s Play Communications

That crazy mix of anticipation, excitement, and adrenaline occurs each year for me, as I walk into the Javits Center on opening day of Toy Fair. There is so much to do in advance of the show, not to mention managing the intensity of the four-day event and post-show follow up.

If you have already reached out to the media and bloggers to schedule appointments to meet and give them a heads up on your new products, that’s a good thing. There is a chance that some reporters may spend times “walking the floor,” but with staff cutbacks at many media companies, their time is often limited. It is more likely for reporters to come to Toy Fair with predetermined ideas of what they want to see; they may also narrow their search for specific products that exemplify a particular toy trend (or trends) they are covering, such as tech or connected toys.

As a Toy Fair exhibitor, what is the best way to handle the media on site at the show? This is often the biggest challenge for exhibitors who are preoccupied with retailer meetings and managing a handful of product samples. This post includes tips and advice on how to work with the media that attend the event.

Scheduled Appointments

If you have preset appointments, tell your exhibit booth administrator and designate another colleague as a backup, in case you are unavailable. If your backup is someone unaccustomed to dealing with the press, provide an overview of the media outlet and leave any press materials for them, as well as your business card and mobile number. Given the hectic nature of Toy Fair, it is not unusual for appointments to show up early or late, which may throw a curve ball into your day. However you handle it, make sure the reporter is taken care of properly and professionally.

[Read more...]

How to Pitch the Media Covering Toy Fair

Third in a series of posts on preparing for the annual trade event

by Julie Livingston, director, business development and accounts, Child’s Play Communications, New York City

With Toy Fair less than a month away, how will you engage the media to ensure coverage for your toys or youth entertainment products? Here at Child’s Play, we’ve been working overtime to fine-tune our media lists and pitches on behalf of clients. This week’s post will include some of our tried and true strategies and tactics for pitching the press.

Think Like a Journalist

With less space for toy coverage and so many exhibitors to see—more than 1,000 at the Javits Center alone, as well as those in private showrooms across New York City—reporters are pressed for time. So, when choosing media channels to pitch, focus on the “why”/reason an outlet would be interested, to determine the “where”/ specific outlets to concentrate on.

Prior to Toy Fair, many journalists will do an online search, hunting for toys that are a match for the following themes, so post your press release on all company social media platforms incorporating the following key themes and key words.

[Read more...]

Countdown to Toy Fair: Identifying Your Communications Objectives

First in a series of posts on preparing for the annual trade event


By Julie Livingston, director, business development and accounts, Child’s Play Communications, New York City

Toy Fair is a month away, and for many toy and youth entertainment companies, the annual event is an important media platform that can help drive brand awareness and buzz for hot items throughout the year. With approximately one thousand media representatives from around the world in attendance, how will your company or brand garner the attention it deserves? Following are tips and information collected during the six years I served overseeing public relations for the Toy Industry Association and Toy Fair, as well as serving toy and youth entertainment industry clients as a PR professional.

1.     Prioritize your communications goals and objectives. For example, is it a new product line review you want the media to see? Or, do you have a hot item you want to hype to help drive holiday orders?  Do you have an announcement about a licensing agreement or strategic partnership? Identifying your primary goals and objectives will provide a framework for all related activities, including any responsibilities that you want other communications personnel or a public relations agency to handle.

[Read more...]

Electronic Arts’ Holiday Sneak Peek

Electronic Arts held its “Naughty or Nice” holiday video game preview in mid-October at a lounge in New York City. At the event, I had a chance to browse all the games and sample a few as well.

The first game I tried my hand at, literally, was Family Game Night 4 The Game Show on the Kinect for Xbox 360. Family Game Night 4 brings the excitement of The Hub network’s TV show right into your living room.

There are a variety of games to choose from, such as Connect 4 Basketball, Yahtzee! Bowling, Scrabble Flash, Sorry! Sliders, Bop-It Boptagon, and Monopoly Crazy Cash. I played Yahtzee! Bowling and Sorry! Sliders, and, in my opinion, both games were awesome and the graphics were great, too.

[Read more...]

TIA Partners with Adventure Publishing for Licensing Showcase Co-Located at Toy Fair

New York City is slated to become the next stop on the global licensing circuit as the Toy Industry Association (TIA) launches its new Brand & Entertainment Showcase in February. Co-located with the 109th American International Toy Fair, to be held February 12-15 in New York, the showcase offers an impactful and convenient content connection for entertainment licensors and brand owners alike. The event provides opportunities for exclusive access to top-tier media, marketing agencies, and an audience of 30,000+ tradeshow guests from more than 90 countries. Adventure Publishing Group is the exclusive media partner of the Brand & Entertainment Showcase.

The new Brand & Entertainment Showcase satisfies increased demands from the licensing community to collaborate in a formalized setting at the show. Content providers will be able to simply show up and show off in small, private meeting spaces or large, public theaters. Turnkey presentation solutions and an audience of marketers ensure that all participants’ needs will be met.

As the largest and most important gathering for youth entertainment in the Western Hemisphere, Toy Fair last year welcomed an unprecedented surge in entertainment executives (+31 percent) and licensors (+8 percent). In 2010, licensed toys represented 25 percent of total industry sales. In addition, the co-located Brand & Entertainment Showcase gives participants access to the important ancillary advertising, marketing, and promotion-oriented industries that are concentrated in and around the media epicenter of the world.

Adventure Publishing’s signature publications—The Licensing Book and The Toy

Book—and its online communities will be a primary conduit of information and updates about the showcase to the global community, and the key vehicles for brand advertisers during the event itself.

For more information about participating in TIA’s Brand and Entertainment Showcase, contact Jennifer Coleman, sales executive and producer (973.760.8181, jennifer@jcinc.biz); for information about advertising opportunities, please contact Jonathan Samet at Adventure Publishing (212.575.4510, jsamet@adventurepub.com).

From Factory to Shelf: An Inside Look at Target’s Holiday Toy Merchandising Strategies

Walking into the toy section of a store like Target during the holiday season can be overwhelming for shoppers, who are faced with toy aisle upon toy aisle of great products to choose from. Thousands of additional products can be found online. Those that make it onto store shelves during the season are often thought of as the crème de la crème, and being chosen for Target’s shelves can bring tremendous success to a toy manufacturer.

Stephanie Lucy, Target’s vice president of merchandising, chats with Elizabeth A. Reid of The Toy Book to talk about holiday merchandising strategies, how it makes its toy selections, and what Target is doing to become a top destination for holiday shopping.

The Toy Book: Let’s paint a picture of how great toys get to Target. How far in advance do you plan for each holiday season?

Stephanie Lucy: We actually start looking for content for the holiday season in September or October the year before. For example, we are going to market right now to look for products for next holiday season.

TB: So, how do you pick the toys? When you are at market, what do you look for?

SL: First of all, it starts with us evaluating what is currently working at Target—what’s selling and what’s not—and ensuring that we understand what the guest is interested in. Beyond that, it really is strong partnerships with our vendors. We do business with the largest toy manufacturers around the world. So, it’s sitting down with them and understanding what they believe the hottest toys are going to be, and what they believe content should look like for the year to come.

[Read more...]

TOY BOOK EXCLUSIVE: MGA Launches Specialty Toy Division

MGA Entertainment has announced plans to enter the world of specialty toy products with the launch of its own specialty division, MGA Entertainment Specialty. The company is currently hiring sales representation groups across the U.S. that will service specialty retailers at store level. MGA Entertainment Specialty will offer a vast assortment of unique toys and gifts derived from its portfolio of brands, including Little Tikes, Moxie Girlz, Zapf, Rescue Pets, and more.

[Read more...]