Out of the Sandbox

Life’s a Game at Toy Fair 2012

Checking in at Toy Fair has never been quite like this. In anticipation of Toy Fair's opening on February 12, I "talked" to Kimberly Carcone, Senior Director, Trade Show and Event Marketing at TIA to find out more about Play Happens, a new game TIA developed last year to entertain and connect this year's Toy Fair attendees while they're in NYC.
January 18, 2012

Play Happens is the game TIA developed last year to entertain and connect Toy Fair attendees while they’re in NYC. It’s up and running now, in anticipation of Toy Fair’s opening on February 12. I “talked” to Kimberly Carcone, Senior Director, Trade Show and Event Marketing at TIA to get the story.

I’ve heard Play Happens is a mini-Foursquare. True?

Play Happens turns NYC into a huge game board and Toy Fair participants into players.  We use the check-in technology of Foursquare, but we’ve expanded on the fun by giving incentives to keep players interacting.  So you might not become the Mayor but you’ll have a great time playing and could walk away with some really cool (and real) stuff.

Can anyone play?

Any qualified registrant of Toy Fair who has a smartphone can join the game, as long as they register by 11:59pm on Wednesday, February 8.

In order to play, you need to be a current member of Facebook and Foursquare. Anyone who interacts with the Toy Fair blog can start earning points now.  But the game really gets going during Toy Fair week.

Can you start playing anytime?

You can actually start playing right now. Our blog is the home base for the game, where you’ll find the rules, regulations, points, and prizes.  Whether you start earning points today by reading, Liking us on Facebook, or retweeting, or if you wait until Toy Fair week, you still need to begin at the blog. Punch Tab, our new partner for 2012 has expertise in rewards and loyalty program creation, and really helped us up the ante on rewards.  Our hope is that both the content and the incentives will keep readers coming back day after day, to earn points and grow their circle of connections.

Toy Fair is a pretty intense time for most people. Do they really have time to “play?”

That’s the whole point! We think everyone should make time for play. Every day of the year. Toy Fair attendees are serious purveyors of play so we’re giving them an opportunity to play while they work. While the bulk of the business day is spent in Javits, Play Happens after hours and until you return to the floor the next morning. People can earn points by checking into their hotel, restaurants, or meetings.  And checking into the Javits Center every day earns a LOT of points.

What kind of prizes are we talking about?

The small prizes range from magnets, to mugs, to hats. The usual tsotski. Then we get into the next tier: a chance to win tickets to see “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” dinner at Nobu, or an iPad2. If a player decides to let all his points ride, he’ll compete for the Grand Prize. The person with the most points by midnight on Wednesday, February 15 will win airfare, hotel, and two tickets to the Marriott Marquis’ exclusive New Year’s Eve gala and special ball drop viewing.

For a game, Play Happens has a pretty serious pedigree.

Play is our business at TIA. We believe that a desire to play is inherent to the human condition, and the ability to play can take place anywhere, anytime. By creating an environment where a group of people, all having something in common (Toy Fair) have the opportunity to connect on a number of levels during their time in New York, we know that play will “happen.” So yes, we take it seriously. But that doesn’t make it any less fun.

Let me know how much fun you have…at wendy@sandboxsummit.org

Play Happens turns NYC into a game board during Toy Fair 2012

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