Hong Kong-based WowWee is betting big that its line of paper-thin instruments will be the must-have item for Christmas 2010. Backed by a budget of upwards of US$10 million, the privately owned toyco has pulled together an innovative and creative marketing plan, designed to make sure kids get the hands-on Paper Jamz instrument experience.
‘The second people get their hands on it, they want it,’ says WowWee CMO Marc Rosenberg, explaining the approach.
The line of pseudo instruments, which is aimed at kids ages eight and up, includes a guitar that weighs just eight ounces and is less than 1.25 inches thick. Powered by new Active Graphics Technology, users can strum it like a real guitar. Both the guitar and drum set have an SRP of US$24.99, and the accompanying amp will retail for US$14.99. Each item comes with a selection of pre-programmed songs with which the user can play along.
Over the next few weeks, WowWee and US retail partners including Walgreens, Toys ‘R’ Us and Walmart will be setting up thousands of in-store displays that will allow kids to try out the tactile toys.
‘Display-wise we are looking at 12,000 to 13,000 ‘try-me’ units,’ says Rosenberg, adding that WowWee has partnered with battery company Rayovac to perform weekly checks and make sure that each display stays in working order. ‘If a display doesn’t work it can be really damaging,’ he says. ‘So we are going to make sure they are always in tip-top shape.’
Rosenberg adds that the displays will be tailored for the different retail environments. ‘The challenge has been in making sure each retailer has its own concept, its own voice,’ says Rosenberg. ‘They have all stepped up so it’s important to create unique opportunities.’
Besides the in-store displays, WowWee has inked promotional partnerships with such heavyweights as the WWE, Cartoon Network, Disney XD and the American Idol Summer Tour. The WWE will play a prominent role in the TV spots, which should start to roll out in the early fall, and Paper Jamz will also be a major sponsor of the music-based CN series Total Drama World Tour.
‘The dollars we are spending, the way we have been able to extend those dollars through promotional partnerships, and the support of retail we have enjoyed, show you how excited people are about this product,’ says Rosenberg.
Another marketing avenue that WowWee will be looking to explore is user-generated content. While Paper Jamz is currently available in the UK and Australia, already some 80 odd videos featuring the product have already popped up on YouTube. It’s an area WowWee will be looking to explore further as the line rolls into the North American market.
‘Right now we are working on things for the spring,’ says Rosenberg. ‘Perhaps a full Paper Jamz tour will be a reality – for us it’s really a multi-year opportunity.’