I have just finished walking (okay, by day three it was more like half-dead wandering) the entire International Toy Fair in New York City. Over 7 football fields of show space showcasing over 150,000 toys, games and both grumpy and happy cats. Over 150,000 toys and games under one roof. I had representative after representative tell me why the new games and toys they had for 2014 were the best yet.
I saw patented technology in toys that was so top secret I had to take a blood oath and swear to the Toy Gods that I would not reveal it. Technically it may have just been a Non-Disclosure Agreement I signed, but I was too tired and hungry to tell the difference. In any case, the point is the Toy Industry is a huge industry, with over $20 Billion in sales last year. Which all begs this simple question…
If The Toy Industry Took 2014 Off, Would Any of Us Notice?
Okay, put your pitchfork and torches down PR people – I LOVE toys. As my wife can tell you, I clearly enjoy toys way more than an adult man should. In fact I will be writing about many of the awesome new toys I saw at Toy Fair in the coming days. Still, when you have a $20 Billion industry, that takes it self very seriously, I think it is only fair to ask if anyone would notice if they slept in for 2014.
Let me be clear about my scenario – any toys that were produced prior to January 1, 2014 – yep, those continue to get made. You can buy your kids a new toy in 2014, as in a toy they never owned, but it will have been made in 2013 or earlier. So, tell me parents – does the world stop? Do your kids stop playing? Does all the fun in the world disappear?
If The Food Industry Shut Down For 2014, Yeah, That Would Suck
If farmers took 2014 off, we would definitely notice. I mean how would I eat my Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch each morning without milk from the cows who took 2014 off? As good as Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch is, I just don’t think it would taste the same with milk from 2013. On the other hand, if our kids played with last year’s toys – would they really notice a difference? Kids can have fun playing with an empty box, so I’m pretty sure they are going to have fun no matter what the toy industry does!
Oh, You Would Notice The Lack of New Toys…
Of course you would notice the lack of new Toys. When the new Spider Man movie comes out in 2014, you would notice an eerie silence from your kids. No new toys, tied in with the movie, for your kids to beg for. Maybe they wouldn’t even bother releasing Spider Man, because what’s the point of a new movie if there are no toys to promote?
Hey Toy Industry, We Don’t Need New Toys, We Need Fun Toys
Message number one to the toy industry – don’t take yourself so seriously. Relax, have fun and understand you are making fun not food. Message number 2 – as parents, we are not looking for new toys, we are looking for fun toys. We don’t sit around saying, “If only there were more toys for our kids to choose from.” We are happy with a few fun toys, so focus on quality over quantity. Take a risk, be wacky, think like a kid, be original and swing for the fences. If you swing and miss, our kids will be happy to play with fun toys from a few years ago when you did hit a home run.
Don’t have any fun new ideas for 2014? Sit it out, we will buy your stuff from 2013 and look forward to the fun things you will dream up for 2015. I am sure you will be refreshed and inspired after spending 2014 on the beach.
Yes, We Will Be Reporting On Fun Toys From Toy Fair
We don’t want to end this little rant on a negative note. We met some incredible inventors at toy fair. We saw new toys, that will inspire kids to learn – while having an incredible amount of fun. We met people in the industry who have devoted their lives to just trying to put a smile on kids’ faces. Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting many of these positive toys and experiences from Toy Fair.
As Moms and Dads we often teach our kids, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” On behalf of all the Moms and Dads, we simply paraphrase and ask the Toy Industry, “If you don’t have anything fun to make, don’t make anything at all…there is always next year!“