Ah, the awards.
It seems that not a month goes by without receiving at least one request to enter one of our products in an award of some sort.
As a point of principle, I do not enter any of our products in any awards where I have to pay to enter.
But surely it’s only a matter of time – if you enter regularly – that your number will come up and you will win the award.
I personally feel that this is skewed. In fact, I prefer to read comments left by consumers on the various websites we sell our products on.
I am trying, as much as I can, to only distribute toys that will not deliver disappointment.
We have all been there on Christmas morning, when that one toy with 3,357 different functions finds itself left aside, as in fact, out of those 3,357, only three are fun and of any interest to use.
In some cases, there is also the award ceremony that you have to attend to make sure that you have a fighting chance to get anywhere near the award. This is normally a posh affair where you have to be all dressed up, where the ticket will cost you an arm and a leg and buying drinks will require you to take a second mortgage on your mansion.
I want to re-assure you all that I do not live in a mansion. However, looking out at the car park of a recent toy industry event, I must be the only one.
I would also like to mention the bloggers. I receive many request for free toys to review. I always look at how many followers the blogger has on their Facebook and Twitter account before even replying to them as there are far too many baggers rather than bloggers.
I very rarely give toys for review as again I feel that this is a little rigged. Blogger gets free toys, blogger gives good review. It’s difficult to be objective when you get something for free, in my mind.
But coming back to awards. There is one that happens every year in November that seems to be reserved to only the elite of the toy industry.
Looking at past 96 winning toys since 2006, only 20 toy companies won, three companies have shared 57 per cent of the awards, one of them taking 30 per cent of the awards alone and the other two sharing the remaining 27 per cent between them.
I am not quite sure how those awards are decided as the process seems a bit of a secret and could lead you to believe that you have to be a member of a very select club to get even a whiff of anything.
Even the Oscars has a support category and a newcomer category.
Maybe it’s time for a little more transparency and a few changes. After all, and just in case you did not know, more than 20 companies actually make the British toy industry.