Part 3: Is the Fall Toy Preview in Trouble? Solutions

In my last two postings (see:  Part 1 and Part 2) I have deconstructed and analyzed the Fall Toy Preview.  I have concluded that the event is struggling due to some conditions beyond its control and some that are not.

There is a need for the Fall Toy Preview and that for that reason it will continue to occur.  Where it will occur and how strong an event it will be are the issues in question.

Sam Kinison the late comedian once did a routine around a famine that was taking place in Africa.  His answer was to scream:  “MOVE TO THE FOOD!  MOVE TO THE FOOD!”

For the Fall Toy Preview, the food is in southern California.  This show needs to be in the Los Angeles area so that it can benefit from those retailers that come to the area to visit with the major toy manufacturers (Mattel, JAKKS, etc.).  Will those retailers be willing to stay for a few days more and visit with other manufacturers?   Some will and some won’t.  

Whether they do or they do not the bigger threat to the TIA is that if they don't move the show to Los Angeles someone else will fill the vacuum and put their own show on.   L.A. is self-creating itself as a meeting point and ignoring that fact by insisting that people go could turn out to be a mistake for the Toy Industry Association.

Go West Young Man.

One thought

  1. Private meetings with publicly-trade companies is standard practice. Retail meetings with Mattel and Jakks for regional and national retailers are conducted as standard business practice. The Western States Toy Fair for specialty retail used to be held at the L.A. County Fairgrounds, but attendance was so poor, the show moved to Las Vegas. There is little corporate retail trade in California, so there’s no measurable gain for vendors attending the conference in L.A. — manufacturers do, afterall, pay for the show.
    Dallas is a central location, has adequate one-building trade facilities and, based on post-show discussions, had good meeting attendance with buyers on schedule for much of the show. Love Field and DFW are easily accessible for the trade community and costs are moderate.
    Hasbro, Cardinal, Pressman (recently acquisition), among others are based on the east coast and have product portfolios that likely merit east coast consideration — and have more corporate retail base than the west coast: TRU, Barnes & Noble, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Marmax, among others. Retailers with vested interests in the industry will attend the show if it’s held (sorry for the audible at the line, Peyton Manning) in Omaha.
    The question to pose might be a rotating/traveling show for both Toy Fairs. Maybe three-year rotations. By rotating locations, the industry could generate fresh media and marketing, allow for smaller and/or emerging regional retailers to participate and balance regional flavors for retailers and manufacturers. How many NY Toy Fairs in February face adverse weather, flight postponements/delays and cost issues? Manufacturers consistently have commented on desires to avoid NYC in February — understandably. NYC has been great for the industry, but rotating would likely freshen the show attendance and reenergize media and marketing opportunities. Early October in NYC makes more sense than February.
    There are plenty of cities capable of hosting TIA: NYC, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Las Vegas, among others. Many being southern climates in February.
    The two shows for the industry are our version of the Super Bowl. Maybe rotating the venue like the Super Bowl is an option to consider. Any city that can host a Super Bowl can likely host a Toy Fair.

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