Toy and Game Innovation Conference – Day 2

You can catch my wrap-up of Day 1 here. Friday started with the typical conference continental breakfast (My stepson: “you mean I could just take as many pastries as I want and keep coming back?”) and then moved to the first session, keynoted by Elan Lee.  Great presentation on the Exploding Kittens KS campaign and some of his other immersive projects.

I think the main takeaway from Elan’s talk was the value of creating an entire experience around your initial project.  The project by itself may be cool or great (just like the Card Caddy is!) but building that “world” really brings people in.  In the Exploding Kittens example, he created the achievements which were like mini-games within the campaign (post a pic of 10 Batmans in a hottub, tweet a pic of a real TacoCat, etc) that got and kept people engaged with the campaign and brand.  Easy to say, not so easy to do, but it’s definitely worth thinking about.  Anyway, I had my groupie moment and got Elan to sign a Card Caddy that we keep our copy of Exploding Kittens in – very cool!

What struck me about Elan and pretty much everyone we met over the weekend was how open and friendly this industry is – I guess it better be since it is all about having fun!

The rest of the day had some more sessions, about social media and working with retailers and designers.  Not too much shocking in any of those:

  • retailers are going to want 50% off your MSRP unless you are Lego
  • the best way to approach retailers, sales reps and distributors is pretty much like you would anywhere else – research them, find out what they sell, how they sell it and be persistent, but not a stalker
  • pretty much the same on social media – find the “influencers”, start a genuine relationship with them and then look to see if you both can benefit from them plugging your product

There’s no quick and easy path to getting your game or toy into Walmart or on the Today show – it’s the same slog of doing your pitch over and over again, it’s just the avenues have changed.

Anyway, after lunch we broke our table down from the conference, then set up in the main exhibit hall for the public fair over Saturday and Sunday.  Setting up was pretty painless, and that evening, we went to the TAGIE Awards dinner – a very swanky event in the grand ballroom of the Navy Pier!


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