China Toy Fair


Toy Business Forum Brings Knowledge to Spielwarenmesse eG

ToyBusinessForumThe Toy Business Forum offers extra knowledge for exhibitors and visitors at Spielwarenmesse eG. At the forum, scheduled for January 29 to February 3, experts speak on the latest toy trends as well as unusual marketing tools.

Christian Blümelhuber, professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, will tackle the subject of future management; while toy specialist Reyne Rice will reveal the latest developments in the international toy market. Meanwhile, Andreas Haderlein will discuss what strategies tomorrow’s shops should adopt.

The following daily presentations are scheduled for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Hall 3A:

  • Wednesday: ToyKnowHow—Recognizing Trends, Shaping the Future
  • Thursday: Multichannel—Successful Use of New Opportunities
  • Friday: Future Retail—Tomorrow’s Shop
  • Saturday: Marketing—Retail Branding
  • Sunday: Multichannel—Offline and Online for Success
  • Monday: Live Actions

A detailed overview of the topics is available at www.toyfair.de/toybusinessforum. The presentations will be given in German and English.

The Toy Insider Announces List of HOT 20 Toys for Holiday 2012

The Toy Insider, the leading holiday gift guide for toys and gifts, announces its list of the HOT 20 toys for the holidays. This year’s list features My Magical Wand Cinderella, Monster High’s High School, and the Batman Bat-Pod, among many others, providing gift-givers with the inside scoop on the best toys and gifts for this holiday season.

The HOT 20 is the kick-off section of the Toy Insider holiday gift guide, which will appear in the November issue of Womans Day magazine, as well as www.theToyInsider.com . Now in its seventh year, this year’s Toy Insider guide is the biggest ever, filled with a list of 116 toys and gifts from more than 80 manufacturers. The Toy Insider offers toy and gift ideas for all ages and both genders, broken down by age group (0-2 years old, 3-5 years old, 6-8 years old and 9+ years old) with an in-depth description of the developmental needs and interests for each specific age group. A unique toy skill key provides consumers even greater convenience to help them pick not only the hottest toy, but also the right toy for the special child in their lives.

In addition to Laurie Schacht, the panel of toy experts includes Jonathan Samet, Publisher of The Toy Book, the leading trade publication in the toy industry, Jackie Breyer, Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book and Reyne Rice, a leading toy trend expert.

This years HOT 20 are:

0-2 Years
Bright Starts Having a Ball 5-in-1 Sports Zone – Kids II
Cruise & Groove Ballapalooza – Fisher-Price
Lil’ Princess 3 Story Enchanted Castle – Mega Brands
Rocktivity Sit to Stand Music Skool – Playskool [Read more...]

Reyne Rice Discusses Gender in Toys on HuffPost Live

Our good friend and Toy Insider Co-Editor Reyne Rice appeared on Huffington Post’s HuffPost Live discussion “Toymakers Should Create Gender-Neutral Toys.”

Click here to watch!

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 Best Work With Bloggers and Toy Industry Experts at Toy Fair

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

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

In addition to the hoards of journalists from traditional media channels covering Toy Fair, exhibitors should also consider outreach to bloggers (specifically, mom bloggers who write product reviews) and toy industry experts who cover the annual event.  Both influential in their own right, the clout these individuals carry can be particularly valuable to small and mid-sized toy companies, driving brand awareness, social media prominence, and, ultimately, sales.

Getting your toy featured on the right product review blog is a marvelous way to generate grassroots buzz for your product. According to a recent study conducted by Child’s Play Communications and the NPD Group, 79 percent of all American moms with children under the age of 18 are active in social media. Of that number, about one in four have made purchasing decisions as a result of a social media recommendation; more than half (55 percent) said they made their purchase because of a recommendation from a personal review blog

To reach moms where they “live,” it is essential that toy and youth entertainment companies have a strong presence among mom bloggers. To clarify, a mom blogger is a mother, generally with young preschool-aged children, who blogs on a regular basis. Many of the mom bloggers we work with at Child’s Play turned to blogging as an outlet following earlier careers as journalists, writers, and marketers. Some were involved in other aspects of business, and many are moms looking to express themselves while connecting with other moms to share experiences and life lessons. These women are smart, dedicated, and energetic.

[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...]

What Should Be in Your Toy Fair Media Tool Kit?

Second 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

As the adage goes, “information is power,” and that is exactly why the nuggets of facts, photos, video and other details contained in your Toy Fair media kit can directly impact the depth and breadth of coverage you get during the show. Start planning out your content by thinking through the writer’s “5 W’s”—the Who, What, Where, When, and Why—as it relates to your product. Ask for input from colleagues in the product development, sales, and marketing areas, as their perspective can provide tremendous insight, and descriptive language to tell the story. In my experience, this process can be time consuming; be prepared for multiple rounds of edits so that the end product is one that will draw attention and interest.

From seeing literally hundreds of press materials in my years in the children’s entertainment business and PR, the following elements when executed well contribute to a successful press kit:

[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...]

Toy, Game, and Technology Summit to Come in September

Leaders from around the toy, video game, and technology industries will converge in Santa Clara, Calif., this fall to generate cross-platform relations. From September 22 – 23, the Toy, Game, & Technology Summit will allow executives to learn from each other as each develops new products for young people.

The summit will focus on pressing toy companies to adopt digital assets, as well as helping video game and technology companies learn how to better establish partnerships with traditional toy manufacturers. The event, sponsored by the Toy Industry Association, Inc. (TIA), features industry leaders such as Joseph Olin, president Academy of Interactive Arts and Science; TIA President Carter Keithley (pictured above); Reyne Rice, trend specialist at TIA; and Anita Frazier, toys and video games industry analyst at The NPD Group.

The event will take place at the Santa Clara Convention Center. TIA members will receive 15 percent off admission, and more information can be found by clicking here.