COUNTER INSURGENT: Social media

Samantha Loveday

By Samantha Loveday

August 10th 2012 at 11:28AM
COUNTER INSURGENT: Social media


This month, our mystery retail columnist praises Mattel?s use of social media and deals with a tricky customer.

Congrats has to go to Mattel for Team Hot Wheels.

Having the Hot Wheels brand associated with stunts, jumps and speed can only be a winner. When you think back to how much excitement surrounded Evel Knievel many years ago, now it seems the norm. Maybe it was Knievel’s fails as much as his successes that made him so popular.

Team Hot Wheels’ stunts have made kids love to be associated with Hot Wheels and the brand is cooler than ever. The reach is also so much greater than those at the event, with social media doing more than its bit.
Social media has exploded over the past year or two. It’s a great way of advertising and increasing product awareness. I’ve always thought that below the line advertising is vital in today’s media world. Advertisers have to get smart, and sponsorship is now the norm, but that tends to be for brands, not individual toys.

With Sky+ boxes you don't have to watch the adverts anymore, so what do you look for? Blackberry sponsorship when you watch Sky Atlantic, Carte Dior ice cream when watching Lewis or Disaronno when you watch Comedy Central.

Looking back at the trade, well, the rain keeps pouring and when the sun shines it fills everyone with excitement (before raining again). You can tell money is tight though. Replacement Swingball balls are the best seller at the moment.

As for our friendly customers, they’re still not spending a fortune, but at least they’re coming through the door. What isn’t helping is new releases being exclusively given to various ‘big boys’. The customer is upset we don’t have them, and not everyone wants to shop at Argos, or has a Smyths nearby.

One last thing – have you noticed how sometimes the best dressed, most blinged up customers are the tightest? We had a lady who roared her 4x4 into the car park the other day, and came into the shop wanting a toy for her six-month-old nephew’s baptism. Honestly, this lady was harder to please than Goldilocks.

Everything we suggested was too girly (even a VTech police car), not colourful enough (Wow Toys plane), or too babyish. To make matters worst she only wanted to spend a fiver, as it ‘wasn't really a special occasion’. It would cost her more than that just to fire up her Land Rover/Jeep/whatever the bloody thing was. She sounds just like the sort of Auntie I would’ve loved to have.

Right, I’ve got to go and see Trading Standards now who are checking out my windows before the Olympic torch comes past later.