New York City recently hosted the annual Toy Fair, where toy manufacturers introduce their new items for the upcoming season. Some people would argue that it's become somewhat standard fare after all these years, and some people would say that much of the real debuts happen outside of the show.
I'm not one of those people.
As a long time lover of the Toy Fair and a current business resident of the old Toy Building in Manhattan (our Cohn & Wolfe Global HQ), I always look forward to what will come out of the Toy Fair...partly because I truly believe that new toys are a reflection of what's happening in our popular culture.
So I pay attention.
That is certainly true this year, and we had a pretty big discussion about it in my marketing class at NYU. We even coined it the Toy Fair Year of the Doll.
But not just any 'ole doll.
Programmable Dolls. Hologram Barbie is one example of highly interactive dolls coming our way. Some are linked to apps while others are motion and/or voice activated. Either way, the kids are in control now.
For Boys. The Toy Fair broke gender barriers this year with several options for boys. American Girl launched its first boy ever in its lineup but they weren't the only brand to send a strong message about gender-based toy biases. Launched via KickStarter, Boy Story made its debut, making all the girls take notice.
Transgender. The world amazingly saw its first transgender doll this year, to much acclaim. Literally brought a smile to my face, partly because it was modeled after pioneer Jazz Jennings who was also a spokesperson for my alma mater Clean & Clear.
These are all new toys coming out this season that are certainly reflecting what's happening in our lives and in pop culture. Reflecting? Or perhaps inspiring?!?
Definitely helping to shape new attitudes and I couldn't be more inspired by them all.
What's your experience? JIM