Feb 08 -The world's two biggest toy companies, Mattel and Hasbro, are already betting on what will be the hot toys for 2013 as the cross between physical and digital toys collide at the annual Toy Fair in New York City. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Lots of familiar faces at this year's Toy Fair. Classic dolls like Barbie continue to add digital elements. And blockbuster apps like Angry Birds expand their presence off line. And superheroes- well they are just everywhere. But more than ever- almost every product has an app element. At Mattel this Imaginext Fortress has a spot for an iPad and Disney Princess Castle works interactively with the iPad. Mattel's Lisa McKnight: SOUNDBITE: LISA MCKNIGHT, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING, MATTEL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Lot of connectivity with technology. We are amplifying play we are connecting to apps." At Hasbro - it's Nerf Cyberhoops and their new Nerf Rebelle line aimed at girls. REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Toy makers take their cue from what is actually selling in the stores and right now that is classic toys. So here at Hasbro they are promoting the Easy Bake Oven which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary" Adrienne Appell follows trends for the Toy Industry Association: SOUNDBITE: ADRIENNE APPELL, TREND EXPERT, TOY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Retro and classic is also another huge trend so you are seeing toys from my childhood and my parents, my grandparents childhood which is a great way to engage families in intergenerational play so there is really something out there for everybody." The show is a big deal for the industry- holiday sales were lackluster and sales at top toy makers have been disappointing. That has toy makers expanding their marketing platforms as much as their toys lines: John Frascotti is the Chief Marketing Officer at Hasbro: SOUNDBITE: JOHN FRASCOTTI, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, HASBRO (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We are also using digital marketing more actively and we are finding that the best way to talk about your brand is to have brand advocates out there in the world. So when you look at a brand like My Little Pony for example we have this incredible base of consumers who are blogging about it talking about it tweeting about it." And reaching kids and parents where they tweet, not just where they meet, could be the best connection of all.