In my last posting, I deconstructed the Fall Toy Preview to better understand the event’s health. Some of those in attendance raised the question of whether the show would survive so I wanted to do some analysis.
Based upon my deconstruction of the show here are my thoughts:
The Fall Toy Preview is struggling with events over which it has no control and some over which it does. One uncontrolable factor is that the toy industry is migrating west and California is becoming (or may have become) the center of the toy universe. California is the home of major players like Mattel, the Walt Disney Company, MGA, FunRise, LeapFrog and JAKKS to name a few. Throw in toy companies who are headquartered elsewhere but have offices in southern California and add to that the major children’s media players, digital and video game producers and you have a dynamic creative center.
Another uncontrolable is that Hong Kong is growing as an October event. It used to be that when someone at the Fall Toy Preview said they would see you in Hong Kong they meant January; now they mean October. Hong Kong has as a result become a competitor to the Fall Toy Preview in dollars, time and energy.
One variable that the Toy Industry Association can control is where the event is held. The Dallas exhibition space continues to present challenges. As one attendee growled to me: “It can’t be good when I have to take an escalator from the first floor to the thirteenth floor because it is quicker than the elevators.” A confusing numbering system and long walks can be frustrating when an attendee has to a limited amount of time and is struggling to find her way.
In addition, there seemed to be some confusion among attendees as some thought this was the last year for Dallas and others thought it was next year. There were also rumors that the show was moving to Los Angeles but no one seemed to know if that was true or not or when it would happen. To show how ubiquitous the conversation was, one bartender stated without being asked that he had heard this was the last year for the toy show.
Some ideas for a solution in my next posting.