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Toyfairs


Fair to say it’s going to be a blast


2014’s BTHA Toy Fair takes place over 21-23 January. Tom Roberts takes a look at how the preparations are progressing.


Simon Pilling Majen Immink I


t’s full steam ahead for Toy Fair 2014 with the news that the Greenhouse Area and the expanded Upper West Hall have both sold out, and the Toy Industry Awards, taking place in the evening of the 21st January, have found a new home at the


Science Museum. Simon Pilling, head of sales and operations for


Toy Fair, commented: “Having extended the floor space to occupy the entire Upper West Hall brings the show to 22,000m2 in total, and it’s fantastic to see the fair continue to grow as we welcome both new and returning exhibitors. We are very close to selling out the rest of the show, too, and we’re grateful for the continued support Toy Fair gets


44 Toyworld


from the industry. Moving into our 61st year, Toy Fair continues to attract a great range of exhibitors and calibre of visitors. By increasing our footprint, securing the return of key exhibiting companies and signing more first time exhibitors, Toy Fair remains a key fixture in the toy buying calendar.” First-time exhibitor K’nex will be taking a stand on the upper level, as will Wow Wee, which returns to the show to join Hasbro, Drumond Park and Bandai who have moved upstairs. Epoch-Making Toys and Paper Products are among other first- time exhibitors for 2014, and MGA Entertainment, Little Tikes and Zapf Creation revealed that they managed to secure the final stand in the Upper West Hall to mark their return to the show. Majen Immink, senior communications manager at the BTHA, added: “The floor plan has been slightly restructured to create the optimal visual experience and set up. We are fortunate to sell out each year, which means we have very little space left for extra features. The Demo Zone returns for 2014 and will be extended over the full three days. Toy Fair TV will also be roaming the halls and broadcasting live through the Toy Fair website and on 24 TV screens around the show, bringing extra publicity for our exhibitors and their products.” Thousands of toys, games and hobbies will be launched at next year’s show. The hottest launches for 2014 will be predicted by a panel of independent retailers, and unveiled as Toy Fair’s Best New Toys at the show. The independent panel will decide on the list of Best New Toys just before Christmas, and entries are still being accepted up to a maximum of three products per company. The BTHA looks to the panel to decide on the categories that will be judged as they are in the best possible position to identify new categories and emerging trends being at the coal face of the trade. To find out more about Toy Fair’s Best New Toys, contact the BTHA on 020 7701 7271.


The Oscars of the toy trade For this year’s awards show, The BTHA and the Toy Retailers Association have announced that the 2013 Toy Industry Awards will be hosted at the Science Museum, Kensington. Following the event’s staging at Olympia’s Upper West Hall in January 2013 in celebration of Toy Fair’s 60th anniversary, the BTHA and TRA took on board guest feedback and selected the Science Museum as the new backdrop for


the awards evening. Majen commented: “The Awards were held at Olympia earlier this year as a one-off location in celebration of Toy Fair’s 60th anniversary. We felt, therefore, that next year would provide an apt opportunity to move venue having had three great years prior to that at Banqueting House. The Science Museum provides a combination of a fantastic setting in which to celebrate all the successes of 2013.” Guests will have the option of free (one- way) coach travel from Olympia to the Science Museum. The event will start at 6.45pm in the ‘Making the Modern World’ gallery with a drinks reception and a hot standing buffet where guests can mingle and enjoy the entertainment. The awards ceremony, which will take place in the museum’s Imax theatre, is planned to finish by 9.30pm and this will be followed by a free bar and desserts for guests to continue networking and celebrating. The price has been held at £75 plus VAT, and tickets are now on sale. You can get in touch with Matt Jones (matt@btha.co.uk) to find out more and purchase tickets. In the run up to the Fair, there is also a media- focused event run by the BTHA taking place. Meet the Media, which allows exhibitors to meet members of the press before the Fair itself, will be taking place on the 12th of November at the Court House Hotel in London. Majen explained: “Now in its third year, it’s a service we provide for exhibitors to give them an opportunity to meet the media representatives who will be attending the show. New and smaller exhibitors find it very useful, and we have a lot of positive feedback praising the event for helping these companies gain an understanding of how to work with the media in raising their profile at the event. The event helps them learn about what the press does, how to write good product information and establish relationships.”


PR companies and exhibitors who would like an


opportunity to quiz journalists, including myself, first hand should get in touch with Ravi Vijh at Bastion PR by sending an email request for more information to toyfair@bastion.co.uk. Toy World will be featuring a comprehensive preview of the show in its January 2014 issue.


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