Blogging Out Loud

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To the 2012 Toy Fair, and Beyond.

Augmented reality technology gives classics a modern makeover.

Sometimes, it’s best for marketers to “think small.” After all, plenty of good things come in small packages. Take kids, for example. Long considered by marketers to be a complex demographic and an ethical challenge, kids often provide marketing inspiration. Next week’s 2012 Toy Fair in New York City should prove to be that, and more. Featuring some 100,000 products from more than 1,200 exhibitors, the fair — the largest of its kind — will parade the best of classic toys and interactive entertainment for young people. And while the majority of attendees will be of age, marketers know that the trends that emerge at the annual Toy Fair impact everything from products and packaging to promotional content and displays. One brand already generating buzz (thanks to the recent London Toy Fair) is Bandai America, whose forthcoming Ben10, Power Rangers and Thundercats action figures boast a packaging boost from Aurasma augmented reality technology. Here’s how it works: Bandai fans can download the Aurasma app for their Androids, iPads and iPhones. Then, using the app’s toy store feature, fans aim their device’s camera at the action figure packaging and watch as a 3-D model of said action figure comes to life on their screens. Flip the package over, and the AR technology launches a video advertisement for similar Bandai products. And the fun doesn’t stop there. Everything from books to trading cards to Legos are using AR technology to enhance their brands and appeal to tech savvy consumers.

Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like children, or at least products targeted to children, offer a glimpse of the future. Marketers would do well to let them lead the way.

But not all promotions need to have flashy packaging and tricks. In 2010, Vertical Marketing Network worked with Bandai America and handled a good old-fashioned sweepstakes that encouraged brand interaction on multiple levels. It started with a game that could be played online, and once the activity was completed, kids — nay, players — could enter to win a trip to the 2010 Toy Fair to serve as the official Bandai Kid Reporter and get a sneak peek of the upcoming hottest toys. Also up for grabs were weekly shopping sprees at Toys ‘R’ Us, coupons and a mail-in offer for an exclusive Ben10 action figure. The promotion was supported with broadcast and online media, as well as in-store, and proved that — with kids — a little imagination goes a long way. Of course, with this new crop of kids being christened “Generation App”, we’ll likely be seeing that imagination take on many shapes and sizes. The possibilities are as varied as the toys themselves, and just as much fun to consider.

Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.
Photo: capl@washjeff.edu
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About JJ Nelson

Freelance blogger for Vertical Marketing Network; food writer; bartender.

2 comments on “To the 2012 Toy Fair, and Beyond.

  1. Philip
    February 17, 2012

    From all accounts, Toy Fair 2012 in NYC was a success. Attendance was up 4% and the show featured many products that are App-based or that work with iPads and iPhones. Technology is be leveraged with existing play patterns (example- Mattel’s Cut the Rope Apptivity).

    Like

  2. Nicco
    February 15, 2012

    As a parent, I’m always looking for the next best toy for my son so the augmented reality Bandai example you speak of sounds amazing! As a marketer, I’m always asking my son and other children what they think of toy promotions that target them to better understand their point-of-view. I agree that keeping it simple for kids is key when it comes to promotions. If you offer too many steps or details to participate, it becomes confusing for the child and sometimes the parent, resulting in loss of interest and them moving on to something else.

    Like

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