Now that the show season is over and we're all back in the office, Bobi Carley and Marianthi O'Dwyer take a look back at Toy Fair 2012 and the first months of the year.
Bobi Carley, Commercial Director UK, Disneymedia+ (pictured left)
2012 has got off to a lively start, thanks largely to Toy Fair in the UK. The three days that the Disneymedia+ team spent at Olympia provided us all with an exhaustive overview of what’s going on within the toy industry and an insight into where things are headed. The main sentiment from the fair on arrival was the positive atmosphere and optimism for the year ahead.
Following a breakfast of bacon rolls early Tuesday morning – sustaining for us as mere visitors, and even more so for the tireless exhibitors we delivered them to – we hit the ground running.
We all noticed a significant increase in the volume of new products which are embracing digital elements and broadening into multiple platforms. There’s a definite shift in the toy landscape at present; one which embraces both the traditional as well as digital media. Whilst physical products are undeniably irreplaceable, it’s fascinating to experience this evolution in how kids are consuming media. It’s certainly an exciting time to be a kid (and parent!) A recent example is our AppMATes – a line of toys which come to life digitally when used with an Apple iPad and allow kids to use the tablet’s screen as a virtual play mat.
It’s interesting to see how kids are engaging with these new offerings. Ultimately, kids want to enjoy their favourite content when they want and how they want. We reflect this through Disneymedia+, in working with partners and licensees to create innovative advertising and promotional solutions which amplify a deeper level of engagement and create a continual connected story, no matter what the platform.
Whilst we can’t quite believe how quickly the three days (and evenings spent with the industry’s finest) flew by, we’re looking forward to working through our notes and get cracking on what promises to be an exciting year.
Marianthi O’Dwyer, Vice President Licensing UK & Ireland (pictured right)
As every year, the UK Toy Fair is a wonderful showcase that reminds me of the great product offering that our toys team has achieved, but it is also a forum for getting together with our licensees to plan and evaluate the direction that the toy industry is taking.
At this point I feel very confident that the success of Disney and Marvel licensed toys is set to continue into 2012 and beyond, with the launch of exciting new lines from new properties as well as from successful and evergreen franchises. A good example of the great product that our licensees are delivering is the TOMY “Spin n Play Acorn Train”, a Winnie the Pooh pull along train toy, which won the infant/ preschool category at this year’s Toy Fair Best New Toy Award.
Other highlights for the coming year include The Avengers toy range. With master toy licensee Hasbro unveiling a robust line of action figures and role play products, construction toys from LEGO and die cast and remote control vehicles from Character Options this collection is set to delight Marvel fans across the country.
Walking the aisles of Toy Fair you can’t help but get excited about the coming year, the way toy companies are embracing technology, the creativity that is shown in product design and the enthusiasm of the people involved in the industry is undeniable and I left the fair with a strong sense of optimism.