How to run an experiential
campaign for your toy brand
In a world where imagination and play happen through real-life interaction, experiential campaigns should be a key focus for all toy brands.
29th January 2020
By Ricky Knight / Managing Director
The toy and game sector is big business. The fast pace of toy and tech evolution means the market is highly competitive, with the next craze just around the corner. To drive sales, advertising alone doesn’t cut it anymore. Brands need to reach consumers in an emotional and engaging way by creating personal experiences they actually want to be a part of. It’s no longer “look at us” but more “let’s do this together.”
Here, we look at why experiential marketing is key to your toy brand’s success and what to keep in mind when planning a campaign.
#1: Think like a kid.
Afterall, this is your target demographic. Allow your creation to be led from a child’s perspective. Capturing children’s imagination through fun and adventure, while connecting with parents should be the overarching focus to your campaign.
#2: Make sure your campaign flows.
Making an experience seamless from start to finish is vital to maintaining attention. Most activations usually include a wait time. But let’s face it, children hate queues and parents hate queuing with impatient kids.
Instead, make any wait part of the experience – think play areas, apps to download, access to games and toys. Never allow time for people to get bored. Capture your audience and keep them entertained.
#3: Get children moving.
A big part of experiential is movement and experience. In a screen-heavy world, parents are keen to keep their children active and encourage creative play. Experiential campaigns are the perfect way to re-emphasise your brand values to parents.
#4: Enhance character connection.
When children get to meet their idols in the real-world, magic happens! Experiential campaigns allow characters to come alive and for photo opportunities, creating lasting memories for both kids and adults.
#5: Make it personal.
To create an atmosphere of inclusion, consider technology to enhance direct engagement with characters. For example, Google Assistant has rolled out a new skill that allows children to talk to the Wiggles via voice commands. Kids can help Emma Wiggle get to The Wiggles’ concert on time, with the ability to dance, play games and sing with the rest of the band along the way.
#6: Choose your brand ambassadors and front-line staff wisely.
These are the people that make an experience impactful and memorable. Plus, parents love it when someone else entertains their kids! Without the right ambassadors, your experience won’t come to life as you envisage. Focus equally on pleasing parents, as well as entertaining children.
#7: Capture data through play.
Experiential campaigns are a great way to capture data and insights. But don’t allow this to diminish hands-on play and experience. A great example comes from Walmart, who launched a website called Toy Lab. It allowed children to select their favourite toy for their holiday ‘wish list’ through watching video demonstrations.
#8: Don’t forget parents.
Afterall, these are who spend the money. Tap into the power of nostalgia and allow parents to become children again. Create an opportunity for kids and adults to play and have an experience together. Parents will warm to your brand through the memories they build.
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ format for experiential marketing. Shift your focus to creating engaging, exciting and shareable moments within the context of a larger campaign. The key – create something that will live on long after a person’s experience. As marketers, it’s up to you to create magical environments and moments that are worth sharing and remembered by parents and children alike.