In conjunction with the opening of the largest toy and youth product trade show in the Western Hemisphere, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) has planned an exciting array of activities to correspond with the four-day extravaganza known as Toy Fair, held from February 13–16, 2011.
Among the initiatives taking place throughout Toy Fair week is Play Happens, an innovative virtual and social board game created by TIA to bridge the online and offline activities of Toy Fair attendees and exhibitors.
“We’re taking over Manhattan and turning New York City into a virtual game board,” says Marian Bossard, TIA vice-president of meetings and events. “What better way to celebrate the toy industry than to have fun in every corner of the city.”
At 12:01 a.m. on Saturday (February 12), Play Happens will kick off, running until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, February 16. As players check-in using their smartphones at locations throughout the city, they’ll earn points on the virtual game board. Different locations will have different point values, ranging from one, three, and five points. Special events, such as the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards (February 12), will earn higher points.
The player who earns the most points during the game will win an amazing New Year’s Eve 2011 prize package, which includes roundtrip airfare for two to New York City (not to exceed $1,000 per couple), two nights accommodations at the newly renovated NY Marriott Marquis Hotel located in the heart of Times Square, two tickets to the Marriott’s New Year’s Eve Gala, and ball-level viewing of the drop at midnight. (Players will be qualified Toy Fair participants—attendees and/or exhibitors. The game is not open to the public.)
Also during Toy Fair, TIA and its partners are hosting a series of events, seminars, and learning opportunities designed to help every attendee find something that will lead to business growth and make his or her stay in New York as enriching as possible:
On Saturday, February 12, the night before Toy Fair opens, the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards will be presented from 6:00–10:30 p.m. at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Awards will be bestowed in 11 product categories, the overall Toy of the Year award will be announced, and two industry leaders will be inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. TOTY is administered by the Toy Industry Association in support of the Toy Industry Foundation. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit TOTYawards.org.
At 2:00 p.m. on Monday, February 14, members of the media will feel a bit of “Toy Fair love” on Valentine’s Day during the second annual Toy Trends Tea hosted by a TIA toy trend specialist. Using examples from the show floor, TIA staff will share top trends of this year’s show along with where to find them. The session is free but only open to members of the media.
TIA’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 15, from 7:30–9:15 a.m. The business meeting will be free to all Toy Fair registrants and exhibitors, and open to both TIA members and non-members for the first time. The agenda will cover a variety of topics including a summary financial report, key activities and accomplishments, and the election of the new board members and officers. A continental breakfast will be served from 7:30–8:00 a.m. and the meeting will take place from 8:00–9:15 a.m.
Also on February 15, from 9:30–11:30 a.m., TIA will host its annual Toy Fair Safety and Legislative Update providing an update on pending state and federal legislation impacting the toy industry and an overview of TIA’s efforts to prevent passage of any harmful legislation or regulation. The session is free for members and $149 for non-members.
For toy companies hoping to expand further into the global marketplace, U.S. Toy Manufacturers: Increase Exports/Maximize Trade Opportunities will be presented on February 15 from 11 a.m.–12 p.m. by the U.S. Department of Commerce. This session will be free to all registrants and exhibitors.
On February 15 and 16, the Engage! Expo Conference Program & Exhibit Hall will co-locate with Toy Fair at the Javits Center for the second year in a row. Engage 2011 will focus on tools and strategies for reaching the constantly connected consumer, address the proliferation of new devices and services allowing consumers to be “always on,” and discuss the new set of challenges this presents for companies. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday and close at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Individuals can register online at engageexpo.com.
For a complete listing of events held during Toy Fair, including seminar descriptions and advance registration, please check back regularly to the “Happenings” page of ToyFairNY.com.
To join the Toy Fair conversation and learn more about Play Happens and the grand prize, visit our new Toy Fair blog (toyfairnyblog.com).
Kimberly Carcone is director of trade show and event marketing for Toy Industry Association.