Laura Zebersky (LZ): Over the past 10 years, the convergence of toys and entertainment has been unprecedented. Consumers have come to expect both online and offline experiences from their favorite brands. It’s not enough anymore to create a new toy. Stories, videos, and other content are needed to really engage kids and toy fans of all ages. This leads into another big change: If you want to reach consumers today, traditional formulas from years ago need to be augmented with strategies that include communication across multiple social platforms. Kids are engaging in new ways with different types of media; they might interact simply by sharing images and video of exciting new toys on various social channels or become avid fans and essentially create celebrities on YouTube. They want the whole experience, and the brands of tomorrow will have to provide it in accessible and innovative ways to stand out from the crowd.
TTB: How do you use 3-D printing in your R&D? Will you incorporate 3-D printing into your consumer offerings in the future?
LZ: We are extremely happy with the 3-D printer and rapid prototype machines here at Jazwares, which help us to design products that are of superior quality. We use the machines specifically to determine the best size, scale, and articulation for figures. This allows us to then create samples for customers and to better share our vision with licensors. Our digital team has been working on some creative ways to meld our 3-D outputs with customizable skins that may be available to consumers in the future.
TTB: Which categories were driving sales in 2014? Which categories will flourish this year?
LZ: The global success of action figures related to gaming properties, such as Minecraft, Plants vs. Zombies, and Terraria, will continue well into 2015 and beyond. Content for preschoolers is better than ever and after our successful 2014 launch of Chuck and Friends, we are thrilled to be launching Peppa Pig in 2015.