Games, Guardians, and Grumpy Cat @ Toy Fair 2014!

The 112th annual American International Toy Fair came together in New York Feb. 15th – 20th, with more than 1,000 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers and sales agents from around the globe to showcasing their toy and entertainment products. Among the big trends happening in the coming year are hot “mature”  TV shows, such as Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead, supplanting movies as the buzz-worthy toy licenses.

Another ongoing trend is “Boys Toys for Girls”, following the publicity garnered by GoldieBlox last year, many manufacturers are taking traditional boys’ toys such as building blocks and combat weapons and putting a female spin on them to allow your daughters’ entry in the neighborhood Hunger Games reenactments. And we’re always happy to see Grumpy Cat, even if she doesn’t seem particularly thrilled to see us. Check out all this and much more in our recap video tour of Toy Fair 2014!

Hershey Empowers Shoppers

The Hershey Company will now be labeling calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving, printed on the front of all product packs beginning in the second-half of 2013. The Hershey Company along with members of Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the NCA are voluntarily implementing front of pack labeling, representing 80 percent of retail food and beverage products.

While not everyone wants to know the good and bad of what they are really eating, Hershey’s move to be more transparent shows they are truly in tune with the times and trends of today’s marketplace. At a time when consumers are paying more attention than ever to ingredients and labels, this is a smart move for Hershey.

As consumers and shoppers are more skeptical than ever, transparency can go a long way in building loyalty. Front of pack labeling provides consumers with straightforward information that enables them to make informed food and beverage decisions when shopping. By offering an easy-to-find calorie label on candy, Hershey is empowering shoppers to make informed choices they can feel good about.

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Reaching a new target: The role packaging can play

Budweiser is introducing a new beer can that will mirror the shape of its logo. The can will not replace the traditional beer can design and will only be available within the US. This particular design is considered to be the optimum meeting point of fashion and function, due to the relatively inflexible nature of aluminium.

The company’s latest innovation comes as an attempt to solidify their reign as one of the world’s most notable brands, something that can’t be compared to every other beer can on the market as well as a push to generate relevancy with a new generation of beer drinkers. This idea comes as another indication that the company is committed to innovating — their crowdsourced “Black Crown” design being a great example of recent success with a new idea.

We’ll be watching Budweiser to see how the new packaging will affect younger consumers’ perception of the iconic brand.

One thing is for sure: brands like Budweiser have big challenges when it comes to balancing the act of finding ways to reach a new generation without alienating an existing one. Packaging is a smart way to start. This new package design shows a younger target that Budweiser as a brand is innovative and in turn, something they want to be associated with.

The Power of Packaging

I ran to the grocery store the other day for a quick trip, mainly for foodstuffs. On my way to the milk cooler, I cut through the detergent aisle … and suddenly found myself putting a bottle of fabric softener in my cart. And I really didn’t need fabric softener. So why?


It was the packaging. 


More than just another bottle in a sea of plastic bottles, this one jumped out at me because it looked like it was made out of a flowing, silk-like fabric. I HAD to stop and pick it up. As I was running my hands over the bottle, I remembered that I might be low on fabric softener. So I bought it.


It was a great reminder that to set itself apart on the shelf, effective packaging has to be more than just bold graphics, clear messaging or colors. It must have some arresting quality — something the shopper doesn’t expect to see in that section of the store or on that shelf. Things like innovative shapes, tactile substrates and materials, and evolved functionality of old favorites are some of the things that beckon a shopper to pick up a product and hopefully give it a try (aka a sale). If the experience really delivers, it hopefully means repeated ones.


It’s human nature to judge a book by its cover — packaged good brands are wise to remember that.