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You got the Love S

teffi has been a favourite of UK retailers for over 25 years, offering a mix of high-quality product, excellent value to the consumer and outstanding margin for the retailer. And in 2014, from what we’ve learnt about Simba’s

plans, Steffi will soon become much more than simply a great margin builder. Simba Smoby’s sales director, Richard Belford, commented on the full launch to the trade at London Toy Fair in January: “We have always been absolutely determined from the outset that Steffi’s value, price points and margin cannot be affected by our marketing programme. With that in mind, I don’t think there has ever been a proposition like this before; a range that delivers the price points and margin of an own label offering, with the quality product and comprehensive marketing campaign usually associated with a premium brand. In the current climate, that should be a formula for success.”

The launching point of the Simba campaign will be the creation of a new pop single and music video that will be released worldwide on 9th August next year. I spoke to Simba Smoby’s marketing and licensing manager, Alex Kovacevic, to find out more. “It’s important to stress the music industry credentials of everyone involved with this project,” he said. “We have reached out into the music world and hired a highly-respected songwriter, a professional singer and a director for our music video who has worked with some of the biggest names in music.” The songwriter Alex refers to is Ray Hedges, who has worked with artists including Take That, B*Witched and Cher, and netted over 60 UK top 20 chart hits including seven number ones. In addition to radio airplay and the download being available on iTunes, Simba will be reaching out to its core Steffi consumer through kids TV. The full music video will be played over 400 times across all kids TV channels throughout August 2014, reaching an estimated 8m 4-6-year-old girls. The video is scheduled in to fill entire two-minute ad breaks, giving kids something fun and exciting to watch during the breaks in their show. “The opportunities available to us from having

a real life Steffi Love are huge,” added Alex. “It enables us to engage with our audience on a very real level through public appearances, store visits and through a continuous stream of social media. We will have TV and radio interviews around the launch date and even a live Steffi Love concert planned in for the end of November.” Alex explained the concept and strategy behind such a bold campaign. “We needed to grab girls’ attention with something they instinctively enjoy.

40 Toyworld

Music was the obvious place to start, but we had to add something else; we had to make Steffi cool.” With a series of focus groups and consumer

research, the idea of creating a superstar persona for Steffi Love was born. Alex continued: “We knew when working with Ray, we had to create something that 4-6-year-olds would love. But we also knew that it had to be commercial and appeal to an older audience of influencers. The pop star campaign gave us exactly that and enabled us to build a truly 360˚ campaign through which girls can immerse themselves in the world created around Steffi with a full range of media and the product itself.” In addition to the huge TV campaign Simba

stresses the online element, which will be key to converting engagement into advocacy. Steffi’s new UK website will become a destination for girls energised by the single and music video they see on TV. This is where the ambition and scale of what Simba is doing becomes apparent. From August, a new song will be released through the Steffi website every month up until Christmas, with an album scheduled to be released in Spring 2015. Each song will have a unique dance routine choreographed with tutorials from Steffi available online. Indeed, the website will be full of content and girls will be able to play games, record themselves singing Steffi’s songs and see exclusive video content.

2014 will also see the release of five new

products in the UK based on the Superstar theme, including a singing Steffi doll, a backstage play set, and a dress-like-Steffi range of role-play costumes. These products integrate completely with the campaign and feature the outfits worn by Steffi in the music video. The connection between product and online is absolutely crucial. Each Steffi Love product will contain a code that gives kids access to Steffi’s online VIP club where kids can get access to exclusive content and enter to win competition prizes,

including free limited edition Steffi products and even tickets

Exciting things are happening at Simba Smoby. Following the announcement of the signing of Matt Hatter Chronicles, Toy World has now heard of new plans for the company’s Steffi Love fashion doll brand. Tom Roberts reports.

to see Steffi live in concert. And, as the codes will be unique to each product, the website will also keep track of girls’ Steffi collections, so Steffi fans in the UK will be able to see what items they have yet to get. Regular readers of Toy World will have seen the announcement reporting the appointment of creative agency Milton Bayer to produce the Steffi website and refresh Steffi’s look; this is the first reveal of what they have been working on. The refreshed branding will make a bold statement at retail with the cohesive artwork enabling retailers to create a standout wall of Steffi products. Steffi Love is already a must-have for

retailers looking to increase their returns in this traditionally low-margin category, with that value alone propelling Simba to be the number three supplier of fashion dolls in the UK. With the addition of this kind of groundbreaking campaign, look for Steffi to be bigger than ever in 2014.

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