Counter Insurgent: Toy innovation

This month, our mystery toy retailer has an Art Attack with an FSDU, and wonders where all the innovation is going.
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Looks like we are in for a long hard year if half-term is anything to go by.

There doesn’t seem to be anything the kids want. TV seems to be a waste of time and money.

So how can we prise money out of little Janet and John’s fingers?

Well, money off discounts aren’t making a lot of difference at the moment, as they aren’t spending money in the first place.

More than ever it is no good driving kids into a supermarket or limited range store.

We need them in proper toy shops where they can see the whole range of LEGO, the whole range of Playmobil, the whole range of Thomas and the whole range of Moshi, instead of a little one metre shelf full of the same two items.

Free-standing display units are a great way to launch a new range. Some very kind suppliers send the FSDUs already made up.

Okay, they might be a little battered, but there’s nothing a quick two-minute repair won’t put right... and then there’s the flat pack.

I can almost put together an FSDU with my eyes closed now, but the other day some of the staff came through to the store for glue, tape, a glue gun and heavy duty stapler.

Curious, I left the rep I was with to see if we had opened a day centre and if it was time for craft hour...

It was cardboard carnage.

There were bits of card lying all over the floor, as the staff tried to follow the instructions to what I thought was a fairly simple task.

They insisted they were okay so I left them to it.

When I went back through, the stand was up in the corner, with a few bits of card lying on the floor.

Now, I admit the instructions looked like they were written by someone in Hungary, then translated into English via a Chinese person, but there were PICTURES.

After undoing all the crap the staff had done, I managed to rescue the stand for use promoting a range that has so far had no interest in it!

At least on the stand it has a chance, as opposed to no chance, buried with all the other 169 pre-school licences that are out there on the market.

So what more can we do?

We all know money is tight, and independent retailers are great at getting enthusiastic over the top new toys that really excite them, but truthfully, was there anything at Toy Fair that made you want to skip down aisle C towards the exit at the end of the day?

Does too much leave the industry via promotions? Is this what’s taking away some of the investment in new and innovative product?

Have we reached saturation point as to how many dolls you can actually have with different dresses, or armour on Hero Factory?

These are all questions we can ask ourselves and maybe if someone has the answer, they can share it with us.

Now, if you would excuse me, I’ve got to rescue an FSDU from becoming an episode of Art Attack.

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