The coming toy fair season is looking a lot different than usual and with the annual Spielwarenmesse international trade fair in Nuremberg having been pushed from January to July, the organizers are working to leverage digital platforms in an effort to connect the global toy community, including exhibitors, buyers, and others. Spielwarenmesse BrandNew is a digital offering that will take place during the previously scheduled January trade fair dates.
In a shared exclusive Q&A presented by the International Toy Magazines Association (ITMA), Spielwarenmesse eG’s Director of Marketing Christian Ulrich explains the concept of BrandNew and what the organization hopes to accomplish.
The Toy Book: Tell us about the new virtual platform known as Spielwarenmesse BrandNew.
Christian Ulrich: In July, the toy industry will finally gather again at the Spielwarenmesse Summer Edition. In the run-up to the event, we will be taking advantage of the enormous reach of our digital platforms, giving companies the opportunity to present their new products to the global trade through Spielwarenmesse BrandNew. The virtual event will take place at the end of January, coinciding with the original dates of the fair. In doing so, we are responding to the industry’s desire to fill the [trade show] gap with a virtual solution.
TB: What does the platform include and how can toymakers get involved?
CU: We have various packages that suppliers can book from just 500 EUR [approximately $613 USD). They include product presentations on the Spielwarenmesse website along with product descriptions, photos, videos, and contact details. The packages differ in terms of their scope and promotional impact, generated through social media posts and product presentations in the Spiewarenmesse Newsletter Special, which attracts a huge amount of interest among the industry’s target groups. In-house events spotlighting innovations can be added to the event calendar entry which is likewise located on the website. From Jan. 25-29, promotions will be taking place with suppliers appearing live on the Spielwarenmesse Facebook page and Instagram profile. This will give them the chance to introduce their products, take viewers on a tour of their showrooms, or offer Q&A sessions.
TB: What kind of audience can toymakers expect to reach — you called it “enormous?”
CU: Yes, our figures speak for themselves: Every year, we record more than a million visits to our website and over four million page impressions. We have around 43,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram. In addition, our trade-orientated newsletter and our visitor database give us access to more than 100,000 international decision-makers. The high-quality, relevant content these platforms offer will now be of immense benefit to toy companies of all sizes, allowing them to forge international contacts that are key to their business success.
TB: During the pandemic, families have rediscovered play and toys have become more important than ever. What other services can Spielwarenmesse BrandNew offer to help trade partners connect with the ultimate goal of getting their products into the homes of families around the world?
CU: The Spielwarenmesse website is evolving into a hub that provides retailers and buyers with an overview of the global market. Trade visitors will be able to access this service both in German and English beginning Jan. 25. They will discover interesting products and be able to prepare their product ranges for the coming year while sitting at their computers. At the same time, Spielwarenmesse BrandNew offers them a simple way to forge contacts with new manufacturers. And, of course, all this will be complemented perfectly by our topical Newsletter Specials and the live sessions on the Spielwarenmesse’s social media channels.
TB: What has been the initial response to Spielwarenmesse BrandNew from members of the toy industry?
CU: The initial reaction from the toy industry has been extremely positive. We are creating a platform that connects trade and industry just at the right time. Companies interested in presenting themselves and their products at Spielwarenmesse BrandNew can register for the event on our website www.spielwarenmesse.de until Jan. 13. The digital offering will be available to buyers and retailers free of charge.