Drumond basics - ToyNews

Drumond basics

Games specialist Drumond Park's clever use of licensing, as well as its ability to create lasting brands, has given the company a well-earned place at the top table of the category. Jon Salisbury speaks to co-founder and marketing director Clare McCool to hear how she does it...
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“Our raison d’être has always been to bring top quality, highly innovative and long-lasting titles to the market – products which have continuing appeal, year after year,” says a bullish Clare McCool.

Examples over the past decade include Articulate and Absolute Balderdash, which continue to be TV-advertised each year and are never out of the top ten adult games lists, a category that potentially could have been the most challenging considering it meant taking on the big brands.

“We feel that the key to our success has been in supporting each of them.” She also believes that each SKU has to earn its keep. “We have a relatively tight, totally unique product line that always justifies the shelf space it occupies, maintaining a balance between creating our own brands, acquiring and individually developing key TV game-show licensed properties, and taking on board brands which have been neglected over a period and are in need of a complete overhaul.”

Drumond Park has proved itself to be a trustworthy custodian of brands. Just look at its experience with Rubik. Under the company’s care for five years, the Rubik’s Cube has once again become a favourite, further magnified recently by the power of the web’s social networking.

“When we took on the Cube, we TV-advertised it straight away and UK sales doubled virtually overnight” says McCool. “Now it is an all year-round product that no toys and games outlet can afford to ignore.”

For 2009, the puzzle is to be repackaged to include, for the first time, a step-by-step ‘You can do it’ solution DVD so that, with just a little practice, absolutely everyone will be able to solve the Cube. Now, why didn’t they have that when I was at school? It would have saved on a lot of humiliation.

The Rubik’s Cube’s sister product, The Revo, was introduced last year and has also experienced spectacular success, spurred on by a huge sampling operation in the nation’s schools, after-school and holiday clubs, as well as conventional TV advertising and its own PR and promotional programme.

Drumond Park has successfully entered the TV game-show market and now carries a selection of licensed products, including several variations of Deal or No Deal, two Family Fortunes titles and a Britain’s Got Talent electronic board game. There are no details yet, but other licensed products from top TV production companies are in development for 2009/10, confirmation of which will be released in the spring.

Drumond Park is also in the final stages of developing a new family game invented by the company. Called Logo, huge things are expected of this product, which is using the corporate identities and brand images of many UK and international blue chip companies. The game consists of 500 (mostly pictorial) question cards, ranging from full and part-logo and product recognition through to, for example, questions about fictional brands featuring in soaps and themed questions under such headings as Animals and Relatives.

Pig Goes Pop is aimed at the four plus market. On a roll of the colourful dice, children feed the pig with hamburgers. Quite a few throws later, the ever-expanding pig reaches its max in the digestion stakes and explodes. His curly tail is then rewound, the hamburgers are picked up and the next round commences.

Another Drumond Park favourite over the years has been Horrid Practical Jokes, a compendium of noteworthy props much favoured by children wishing to get the full attention of friends and family. Now the company is expanding the genre, by introducing The Chuckle Brothers’ Box of Gags in the style of Barry and Paul Chuckle, stars of BBC TV’s ever-popular ChuckleVision programme. It features such things as a Farting Whistle, a Trick Squirt Camera and a Giant Nail Through Your Head trick, to name just a few.

McCool is particularly proud of her company’s magical achievements. “Several years ago we revolutionised the magic sector with the introduction of Gross Magic, which we have TV-advertised continuously.

“It’s a great product and has been the market leader in this genre for the past three Christmas seasons. Now we’re intending to further expand and invigorate the segment with another massive Magic concept.”

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