Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012 - (Page 10)

TOY FAIR 2012 SHOW WRAP-UP Digital Integration Successfully integrating franchises from the digital universe with new toys is the industry’s challenge. nyone who attended Toy Fair in New York this year quickly realized that if you weren’t exploring ways to marry the physical to the digital worlds, you were either visionary or completely out of touch with the direction the toy business seems to be headed, at least this year.  Every year, one type of property stands out at the show, and this year it was characters licensed from digital media. The greatest value of these characters is that they clearly demonstrate the democratization of content distribution and the massive proliferation of smart fourth-screen devices such as iPads, iPods and tablets, meaning anyone can introduce a property into the ether today. This was something once reserved for the big media companies, but now is available to anyone who has the initiative and a few bucks to develop the “killer app.” Notable digital/physical integrations were A seen between video games and action figures in which the integration was inventive, playful and widely appealing.  Speaking of apps, there should have been an app developed that provided attendees with a list of the litany of companies that were introducing app-related content tied to physical products. Big and little guys alike pitched the fact that they had the “best” technology and the most impressive lineup of products that allowed consumers to affect their digital experiences with physical products. Without buying into some of the comments like, “The toy business has five years left;” or “Kids aren’t the same today as they were for the last 50 years;” or “Death to Plastic!” it is abundantly clear that the digital frontier is here. Innovative companies are embracing and exploiting it. So what else did we see at Toy Fair? Barbie and Hot Wheels were there, and so was Marvel, Transformers and Power Rangers. I no- ticed some board games, action figures, dolls, plush, remote-controlled products, construction products, and products that helped you jump higher, ride faster and play louder. Apparently, none of these companies received the memo about the digital revolution (which was distributed digitally), but I predict all of these companies will be at Toy Fair next year and the year after because ultimately there are two truths to the toy business: 1) Kids will always be more creative than adults and find unique ways to confuse us marketers after we feel like we finally cracked the code; and 2) We will always want to populate the real estate under the Christmas tree – or Hanukah bush – with presents wrapped in boxes, and as we all can appreciate, it is very difficult to wrap ones and zeroes. O Russell Binder is president of Striker Entertainment LLC Calabasas, Calif. For information, visit 10 March/April 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012

Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012
Creating Value
Design Strategies
Toy Fair 2012 Wrap-Up
Expo West 2012 Wrap-Up
Fashion Week
Category Insight
China Sourcing Fair 2012 Preview
Cover Story: Jessica Simpson
charming CHARLIE
Fantastic Sams
The Bargain! Shop
Sportsman’s Warehouse
Fruth Pharmacy
Apricot Lane Boutique
Hi-School Pharmacy
Hallmark Cards Canada
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Rubie’s Costume Co.
Fashion Angels
K’NEX Brands
Total Wine & More
Sigel’s Beverages
O&W Inc.
New Hampshire State Liquor Commission
Kohler Distributing Co.
New & Notable

Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2012