This week, TOMY showcased their portfolio of products set to make a big impact this holiday season at their annual Christmas in July event. We caught up with head of marketing UK, Nicola Jenkins, to find out what sets TOMY apart from the competition.
What do you predict will be TOMY’s biggest product this Christmas?
Nicola Jenkins: I think we’ve got a lot of different products for different consumers, whether that’s our gifting items including Baby’s First Christmas or Pokémon for all of the Pokémon fans out there and our new lines that are coming out. And of course we’ve then got Lightseekers. Lightseekers is our new tech toy it’s the next level of connected play with toys, action figures, trading cards with a free to download mobile game. For me this is going to be the must-have and we’re already seeing that reaction. The technology is something we’ve not seen before. The different products in the range stand alone in their own right and they all come together for this ultimate experience, so this brand is going to be really, really strong I think.
Lightseekers brings several different forms of product together for a multiplatform experience, is this a strategy TOMY plans to bring to other brands?
Jenkins: I think Lightseekers is truly unique, it’s really ground-breaking especially when you think about a mobile game that’s free to download with no in-game currency. I don’t necessarily think that translates to every property that we own, but obviously, technology is more important to the children of today and tomorrow and we will continue to watch trends and utilise that in our new product development.
The different products in the Lightseekers range stand alone in their own right and they all come together for this ultimate experience.
Nicola Jenkins, TOMY
How has business been for TOMY so far this year?
Jenkins: TOMY’s had an excellent last year, actually we had a stellar last Christmas period and we were growing in seven of our eight super categories. We had some really great success stories like Foam Cone Factory for our Bath category or our Toomies bath range, Pokémon was flying for us so we’ve had a great start to the year. From an economic standpoint, it is a period of unknown at the moment and we’re working to be as flexible and nimble as possible because of this. We’re really excited about the products we’re launching this AW. The reaction’s been great and I expect us to have another brilliant Christmas period.
How is the economy going to effect spending this Christmas season?
Jenkins: I wish I had a crystal ball and I could predict that! Ultimately, consumers are out there and spending. They are willing to spend on the items that matter to them, items that have a unique selling proposition, that have something that they demand as a consumer. I think they’re willing to pay for quality. So I think in terms of considered purchases there is a lot of opportunities out there and there will always be the lower priced items, the impulse-buy purchases, that will still continue to drive the toy category.
What strength sets TOMY apart from other toy firms?
Jenkins: TOMY has a great depth of portfolio. We offer products for every age range and consumer audience. We have an excellent lead product development team based in the US and here in the UK, and we also have the heritage and strength of TOMY Japan, the number one toy brand in the nation. So I think we have the really interesting angle of a global company with local strategies and opportunities for products around the world. So we’ve got that global strength with a local company execution and that’s a really important thing for us to make us flexible.