Despite last year’s debacle, I’m back in NYC at the annual Toy Fair.
My generous and enthusiastic, but child-free host yesterday expressed interest in accompanying me to the show. I asked her what was the longest amount of time that she had spent in a crowded Toys ‘r’ Us in the Christmas season. Just to give her perspective on how much “fun” is involved.
My feet were numb before I was halfway through the massive show’s upper floor yesterday. I may never penetrate to the lower floor. Some of the exhibitors are welcoming of me and my press badge (credential vetting process?), with dedicated team members at the ready with press kits and tours of the new products. Some exhibitors refuse to make eye contact as soon as they make you for not being a buyer.
I don’t even bother with the big boys like Mattel and Lego. I’ve heard they beat up bloggers just for asking to get in to their fortress-like booths.
My favorite response so far was from the president of brand that Coop is in particular love with at the moment. I introduced myself as a fan of the products. She looked through her bifocals at my badge, and, her voice dripping with disgust, spoke to a staffer.
“The giveaway box is in the back,” she said, and walked off.
I was totally humiliated, but I did hang around for the swag.
Which hasn’t exactly been flowing. The exhibitors are holding onto their goods for the moment. If I could last until the final day of the show, I would come home loaded down with product. But two full days of toy scouting is about all I can take.
In terms of the actual toys, I’m most drawn to outdoor activities and kits. The number of pitiful board games just makes me sad. And global warming has come to kid’s toys. In other words, global warming is the new theme. Every other booth features a “green toy” made of some exotic hard wood and paint made of insect derived pigment. I actually saw one “Global Warming” Mad Scientist kit. What’s the experiment? Release a giant mushroom cloud of CO2 by having your mom turn the key in her Range Rover?
There was a Bill Nye branded kit that helped kids to understand how recycling works by making their own recycled paper out of used newspapers that actually looked really cool to me. I liked everything at the razor booth and the people were really cool. I’ll have a top 10 list by the end of the week.