The BlogHer Conference: Where Have All The Toy Brands Gone?

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Suzanne-Mills Winkler is the President and owner of DDW, Dynamic Design Works, Inc a full service social media marketing and creative design agency specializing in the toy and consumer products industries.  Prior to starting DDW, Suzanne was with Mattel, Inc. for over 16 years where she rose to the top in senior creative management. She developed major brands such as Barbie, Cabbage Patch Kids, Polly Pocket and Disney licensed products. A four-time winner of the Mattel Excellence Award, Suzanne has led the design and development of a multitude of successful toys.

BH11-150-Speaking I am an avid social media advocate so I knew it would be a great decision for me and my Marketing Manager, Shannah Katz, to attend BlogHer 2011. What is BlogHer?  BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online.  It creates opportunities for its members via a community hub , annual conferences and a publishing network of more than 2,500 qualified blog affiliates. 

The 2011 BlogHer Conference offered:

  • A target rich environment of ideal customers 2500 strong in beautiful San Diego, California.
  • Direct access to customers for your brand and product offerings for kids.
  • Reaching potential customers through the exploding world of blogging and social media.

I am concerned that the toy industry is still unaware of the huge benefits of working with bloggers and the importance of social media. This was evident with the lack of representation of toy brands and toy retailers exhibiting at the expo. BlogHer is a direct way for brands to reach their customer and charm her with new product offerings for her kids. The benefit of connecting your brand with bloggers is priceless.

281272_1737121322824_1682356816_1175828_6651305_n (4) Hasbro’s Playskool had a presence with a strong showing of Sesame Street, along with Hot Wheels and Pressman Games at BlogHer last week in San Diego. But where were all the other toy companies and toy retailers? Didn’t they realize this conference has all of the top mommy & daddy bloggers in one place?

Proctor & Gamble recognized this and offered an amazing display of their products. If you wanted the P&G swag, lucky for you, they shipped it to your house direct, so no lugging laundry detergent required! Bloggers (including me) filled out an online computer survey, so now P&G has access to thousands of influential bloggers’ key information to stay in touch in regards to potential new product reviews, giveaways and brand ambassadorships.  A huge win for P&G!

This conference exemplified a premium opportunity to reach top bloggers and have bloggers become an advocate for your product. Overall, BlogHer was very valuable and I learned a great deal about the new BlogHer world and how to connect products with social media effectively. I am offering BlogHer recaps about what we learned at the conference on my company blog here: www.ddw.us.com/blog

One thought

  1. Great eye-opening post Suzanne! You bring to light an opportunity that many in our industry are still unaware (or perhaps uninformed) about. After Toy Fair, I wrote a guest post on Global Toy News about this very issue: http://www.globaltoynews.com/2011/03/the-social-media-playground-part-1.html
    You’re right about BlogHer being a great way for toy companies to make terrific connections, not only to help promote their brands, but also to connect with bloggers as brand ambassadors … an especially helpful resource for smaller companies who do not have the budget to staff a social media manager or hire a PR firm.
    I’m one of the organizers of the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, and we understand the value in making these connections in our industry. This year we’re hosting a Media/Blogger Family Preview Event at the Fair as a way to help foster relationships between toy brands and bloggers. What sets our event apart is that it introduces bloggers AND their families to hundreds of toy and game brands all under one roof – from large manufacturers like Hasbro and Spin Master to small startups and self-producing inventors – providing bloggers with the opportunity to watch as their child interacts directly with the products they’ll be blogging/tweeting/posting about. This free event includes a light breakfast, a crafty invention activity lead by renowned toy and game inventor Peggy Brown, a family treasure hunt with our exhibitors and more. Couple that with all of the main events at ChiTAG, including the Young Inventor Challenge, tournaments and contests, and live stage entertainment, and you have a pretty powerful play space – And one that presents the perfect opportunity for the toy industry and the blogging community to come together. Here’s more on the event: http://www.chitag.com/media/blogevent.htm
    We also share your concern that the toy industry lags behind the trends in social media. On the Friday before ChiTAG, we hope to remedy that with Social Media at Play – a conference on social media and social gaming, developed specifically for the toy and game industry that will provide the education, tools and inspiration to help companies integrate social media into their marketing mix. Check it out at http://www.tandgcon.com/_tagieconf/socialmedia.htm … I hope to see you there!

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