The infant video/DVD market has been booming for the last couple of years, with pioneering lines like Baby Einstein and Baby Genius making big bucks by appealing to parents’ desire to start their kids’ intellectual evolution early. So with a name that’s synonymous with infant development in the toy realm, why is Fisher-Price just now making its move into the category with partner Artisan Home Entertainment?
‘We wanted to wait until we had the right product for babies that could really deliver on our developmental positioning and be differentiated and meaningful to moms,’ says Kathy Gill, VP of marketing for Fisher-Price.
To start off, the toyco’s in-house child development team conducted research on the viewing habits of infants and toddlers, as well as checking in with mothers. The team found that moms use infant-targeted videos in a couple of key ways: as a mom-and-baby-time activity, and for pure entertainment value. ‘Mom often puts baby on her lap and watches along with her, and for that reason, we have value-added content for moms at the end of each segment,’ notes Gill. Some shows, for example, end with footage of mock playgroups designed to help parents learn how to play with their babies.
To entertain the babies, all four titles in the video and DVD series (Baby Moves, Musical Baby, Nature Baby and Baby’s Day – due to start rolling out in the spring for an SRP of US$14.98 each) contain a lot of live footage of babies, animals playing in their natural habitats, three puppet characters and a variety of music and visual poetry.
What you won’t find in the videos are icons and graphics associated with Fisher-Price infant lines or images of babies playing with Fisher-Price toys. ‘We are not using these videos to sell our product,’ stresses Gill. ‘They are a stand-alone product to aid in babies’ development and will be positioned as part of our larger Fisher-Price portfolio.’
The toyco is currently hammering out its marketing and retail strategy for the videos with Artisan, but Gill divulges that all tiers of retail will be targeted. Plans for a print ad campaign are already underway for Fisher-Price’s custom publications (which it distributes to moms in hospitals through its association with consumer magazine American Baby).