Source: Blue Plate Media Services/the Toy Book

David Becker President and CEO of Blue Plate Media Services (BPMS) talks about working with influencers, the pandemic’s impact on the toy industry, and more in the Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.

The Toy Book: What trends will have the biggest impact on the toy industry in 2021 and beyond?
David Becker: The marketing trend that will likely have the biggest impact on the toy industry in 2021 will be the decline of kids’ cable TV networks and the subsequent rise of connected TV. Cable TV will see a ratings decline of 30% again in 2021, with a significant percentage of viewing time shifting to connected TV channels. This change in media consumption and viewing behavior will force youth marketers and manufacturers to dramatically alter media plans, seeking a replacement for the loss of visibility and reach of the cable networks. While connected TV streaming hours have risen 16% year-over-year, aided by COVID-19, it is a fragmented environment that does not as easily replace the reach of cable TV. It is critical for marketers to replace that reach. Reach drives sales performance. At BPMS, we have done extensive work building measurable media plan components that deliver efficient reach while avoiding excess frequency.

These changes in viewing also impact TV-based licenses. As ratings decline and kids’ viewing shifts to a larger number of platforms and more niche-driven programming, manufacturers will need to be diligent in evaluating licenses. As audiences shift across devices, it will be important to understand the impact on affinity for the license and the scale of the audiences moving forward. In this environment of fractured viewing, the days of relying solely on the license to do the heavy lifting of driving the consumer to your product, with minimal to no advertising support, are challenging at best.

TB: What role does working with influencers play in your marketing efforts?
DB: Influencers can play an important role in today’s media mix when reaching and engaging with kids, moms, and families. It’s not surprising that an estimated 67.9% of all U.S. marketers will use influencers in 2021, according to a November 2020 report from eMarketer. When executed properly, influencers can speak to their audience in a way that ads can’t, layering in a level of personal and intimate engagement that is often helpful in driving buzz as products launch. Whether you are working with influencers on TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram, influencers can introduce your product to their audience, weave your message into their story, and help to dimensionalize and drive your brand. Before selecting an influencer, however, and investing in talent, be sure you are leveraging the right influencer for the audience you are targeting and the goals and budget set forth in your campaign. At BPMS, when considering adding influencers into the mix, we think beyond simply tapping talent and consider a tactical deployment.

This State of the Industry Q&A response was originally published in the February 2021 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!

About the author

Maddie Michalik

Maddie Michalik

Maddie Michalik was the Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book from 2020-2022. She was also a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider.