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Behind-the-Curtain: Some words about the business...

In the summer of 2016, I made a rare appearance at a conference in New York City - Blogger Bash. The event was a presentation of the team behind The Toy Insider, and at the time I'd just become a member of their Parent Advisory Board and a regular contributor to their publication (read my January 2018 column here!). Paired with Sweet Suite (a must-attend gathering for the toy industry) the event brought together a wide array of media from traditional press to social media influencers and everyone in between. Following breakfast, I was having a conversation with a group who was at first surprised that I was actually able to exist in the physical realm rather than as a voice that lives only within their digital devices (I'd become known as a conference-avoider). Where I'd raised a few eyebrows and turned a few neighboring heads was when I stood there, drink in-hand, and casually made the comment that "you should never use the term 'influencer' in a front-facing manner." When asked why, I said it was "because it can be construed as being condescending to your audience." Two years later, I stand behind that statement, because "influencer" is a behind-the-scenes title that should never be pointed at an audience, and right now that's more important than ever. 

Published in James' Journal

Originally posted on February 10, 2013... interestingly enough, a year later (2/16/2014) and Crayola has a different company handling PR for Toy Fair 2014 (it's Edelman now) and it's all back to "Mom." Pretty safe to assume that Crayola is steering the ship on this and not the PR folks.

UPDATED: On 2/19/2013, a rep from Coyne PR on behalf of Crayola sent me a nice message that included the following:

"Your post was very poignant and makes some great points. Dads do play an important role in raising their kids and our products are the tools to help Moms and Dads, along with Grandparents, care givers, etc. foster creativity and inspire imagination in children. As we move forward, we will look at how we present our information to be sure we are inclusive of all individuals who care about kids and support raising creatively inspired children."

ORIGINAL POST: It's Sunday night, and as most folks are watching the GRAMMYS (my wife included), I'm sitting here skimming through hundreds of press releases and product sheets rolling into Rock Father HQ from the American International Toy Fair in New York City. While I wish I'd gone this year, getting the news via email and the wires is the next best thing, though I have to be a little picky about what I cover here on The Rock Father as time is something I could use more of. One thing striking me as I check out the media materials from a lot of toy makers is how archaic their views of playtime, parenting, and family structure still are. Yes, despite all the strides made in the last year about "gender neutrality" (a huge media push, too) and the change in family structure, the old stereotypes are back this weekend in New York, and the charge is being led by some disappointing offenders.

Published in James' Journal