By Jonathan Alexandratos
Toy Fair 2020 officially starts tomorrow, and Toy Wizards will be there to bring you a piece of the action on the ground! I’ve been attending Toy Fair for years now, and, each time, it’s an experience that can only be described as – and I hate this adjective, but – “interesting.” Don’t get me wrong! The toy reveals are fantastic, and there are many pieces I’m really looking forward to seeing. Plus, everyone is super nice, and incredibly accommodating. Still, there’s a certain…gravity…that overwhelms the Javits Center on Toy Fair weekend. It’s serious stuff, and has all the seriousness of any trade show. Business suit-clad people go from booth to booth, pokerfaced about the orders they’re placing, or trying to place. Everything happens in a pretty orderly fashion. There’s some quirk – actors dressed up as this character or that – but it’s controlled quirk. If you know the Javits Center from New York Comic Con, this is the opposite of that.
The convention center air is thick with the history of Toy Fair, which started downtown, at the International Toy Center, a building it rapidly outgrew. You get the sense that some of the people around you were there for all the hits, from G.I. Joe to Transformers to Furby. They love their work, they’d have to, but they’re stone-faced about it. If you’d like to read more about the history of Toy Fair, I’d recommend G. Wayne Miller’s fantastic book Toy Wars, which specifically centers around Hasbro and its path to toy industry domination.
This weekend, we’ll be eagerly reviewing Hasbro’s offerings (Sunday), as well as McFarlane (Monday) and Jazwares (Saturday). Many of their images are readily available now, but it will be great to hear what they have to say about their upcoming products, and view them live.
However, in addition to this, I’m excited to write about the Toy Fair content you can’t get anywhere else. I’ll be at the Toy Trends Briefing on Saturday, which is the annual meeting where toy marketing experts discuss the hottest toys of the year, and why they sell so well. There are also a couple of other, smaller companies (compared to goliath Hasbro) that I’m lucky enough to interview. Ravensburger Games and YuMe are both on that list.
The hope, here, is to offer a blend of hot toy reveals from the top companies and a deeper look at content that hasn’t yet permeated every corner of the toy-o-sphere. All of our toy fair post titles will start as this one did, with the words “TOY FAIR 2020,” for easy recognition. Also, follow our Facebook for live stream walkthroughs of certain booths. We’re eager to bring you top-tier toy content! Stay tuned!