The impact of social media influencers in the toy industry—from toy testers and mommy bloggers to comedians, singers, and pranksters—was evident at this year’s New York Toy Fair.
Ryan of Ryan ToysReview, which has accumulated 19.5 billion video views and 12 million subscribers, has a new deal with Bonkers Toys for a line of branded playthings. Pocket.watch distributes Ryan’s unboxing videos and licenses his Ryan’s World brand. Ryan is the second leading child toy tester to forge a licensing agreement in the toy industry of late, following U.K.-based unboxer Tiana of Toys AndMe. She signed a deal with Vivid Toys last September.
Meanwhile, controversial comedian, actor, and entrepreneur Jake Paul was at Toy Fair promoting his posters at the Trends International booth; Paul posts a new video blog every day on YouTube and has launched a variety of business ventures, including licensing deals. And Dude Perfect, the YouTube-famous trick-sports video stars, saw their line of Nerf toys, now in year three, expand at Hasbro. They were pioneers in the social media influencer-to-toy space.
Influencers were on site as endorsers and spokespeople as well as licensors. Educational Insights hosted appearances by influencers at its booth to promote its educational toys. They included Katie Stauffer and her daughters Mila and Emma, who post daily family pictures on Instagram (4 million followers), and Yumi and Kimi of KidToyTesters (140 million views and 300,000 subscribers on YouTube), who demonstrated Educational Insights’ Botley the Coding Robot.
Several other brand-extension initiatives by celebrities, social media-driven and otherwise, were spotted on the show floor:
- Fashion designer Todd Oldham’s Kid Made Modern brand had a booth displaying his arts and crafts products.
- Punk singer and YouTube-distributed music video maker Parry Gripp authored a book about animals (which star in his videos). The book was displayed at licensee National Geographic Kids’ booth.
- Hamilton creator Lin-Manual Miranda’s merchandise brand TeeRico partnered with Entertainment Earth for a line of toys and collectibles, starting with Pin Mates wooden figurines of Miranda and Tobi, his dog.
- Millennial favorite Bob Ross, the late artist known for his longtime show on PBS, was featured in products at a number of exhibitors, including Funko and Surreal Entertainment.
- Miss Mindy, a “cartoon folk artist” who has created fine-art sculptures for Disney, Cartoon Network, and Warner Bros., was present at the Enesco booth to promote her own The World of Miss Mindy brand, attracting a long line of fans.
Watch for our detailed recap of trends from the 2018 edition of New York Toy Fair, coming next week.