Insight: Content creation is too good for toy companies to ignore

Greta Bisetto-Donelan, Associate Director at Generation Media, digs into this year’s Toy Fair and the increasingly blurred line between content, marketing and toys

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 25.01.2019

Insight: Content creation is too good for toy companies to ignore thumbnail

The atmosphere at this year’s Toy Fair was optimistic, despite feelings of economic uncertainty linked to Brexit.

One of the most consistent and interesting trends observed this year at Toy Fair was the creation of TV content linked to toy and games ranges.
In fact, content placement is a great way to create awareness of a brand and its products in a contextual and cost-effective way. The proliferation of platforms is greatly facilitating content dissemination.


The importance of storytelling is undeniable when it comes to creating a deeper and meaningful engagement between a brand and its target audience. Therefore, content creation seems to be too good an opportunity to be missed on behalf of the toy manufacturing industry. This is especially true as content can be co-viewed and shared, making it one of the best mediums to support a brand: it is accessible and it facilitates interactions between like-minded users. It is also, by definition, relevant; kids will only watch it because they want to and when they want to.

True, this is very much a product-first strategy, as the content complements the product. But some of the results are outstanding and should be celebrated.

If we look at the broader media landscape, the proliferation of aggregators seems to favour the dissemination of TV content across a variety of platforms, both short-form and long-form, with YouTube being the second most likely place for kids aged two to nine to spend their time watching video content.

However, editorial content isn’t enough to generate the demand of a product, so how should toy manufacturers plan their media strategy? What mix of content and advertising will generate the right levels of demand for their products? And what platforms should they consider?

Giraffe Insights’ Kids and the Screen research has been hugely informative in capturing the fractured viewing habits of children aged in this age group. The methodology indicates that content consumed by kids on YouTube is linked more to hobbies and interests rather than TV programmes.

Most importantly, we know that the behaviour around adverts is very different on linear TV and YouTube. Advertising on YouTube is more likely to be skipped, which means that it tends to resonate less, and be less persuasive and influential overall. More than two thirds (69 per cent) of parents of kids aged two to nine think adverts have the greatest influence over their child and around half of kids get their ideas for new toys from TV adverts.

Taking all this into consideration, the smartest approach seems to be to leverage on the strengths of both linear and online platforms in order to maximise the impact on reach and engagement. Both mediums should be considered to produce multi-channel marketing campaigns. As the Kids and The Screen report shows, YouTube is the perfect platform for brands to start the conversation with their audience, whereas TV allows for a deeper level of engagement both in terms of content and advertising. TV is therefore the ideal platform to showcase content, specially created to make the audience interact with a brand.

Moving forward, any multi-channel strategy will need to creatively include and balance all these mediums to deliver an engaging and persuasive message to their target audience.

To discuss the requirements of your next multi-channel campaign, email: greta.bisetto-donelan@generationmedia.co.uk

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