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Harold Chizick

THE YEAR OF ‘WHAT IF’ by Harold Chizick on December 20th, 2018

What if Toys “R” Us never closed its doors? What if I skimped out on marketing to balance the budget? What if retailers had room for my product?

Unlike many in the industry, I am not as bitter with the state of the toy industry in 2018, though it was a year filled with challenges at many different levels. There was no breakthrough item that climbed to the heights of Tickle Me Elmo, Furby, Fingerlings or Hatchimals, the retail environment was filled with nervous decision making and anxious selections, and some would say there was also a lack of freshness and innovation in the market compared to previous years.

This all mixed together has made 2018 the year of the ‘What If’.

In previous years where there were clear cut winners that drove traffic to retail, and a plethora of channels for eager customers to shop for Holiday Happiness, many felt that the special spark that makes the Holiday season so heartwarming and magical was missing in 2018. Toys are the glue of the Holiday season, particularly for those who work in the industry. They offer pure and simple, yet very special moments among families, and after reports of retail troubles for many of the biggest chains selling consumer packaged goods and the collapse of Toys “R” Us, the Holiday pep in the industry was at a low.

Even through all of this rubble, two real gems have emerged – the first being the rise and dependency of the small toy company. The smaller players are now being given a better opportunity because of the need for product differentiation and risk-taking retailers trying to gain market share due to the collapse of their retail brethren.

The second gem that has risen from the ashes is the excitement and return of the true speciality toy store from an experiential standpoint. The power of play and spirit for joyful memories has gone back in time to when consumers looked for product that helped the family unit create a memory to share for generations, and specialty toy stores cater to this type of family- focused play.

Sometimes in life and in business, getting through troubled times and insecurities is what turns out to be the healthiest thing to happen. While in February it may have felt like the sky was falling, and as the toy industry now gets ready to head to the Far East, coincidentally known as the land of the rising sun, the sun is rising on yet another year that should be filled with optimism and excitement.

For all the opportunity that we received in 2018, we are truly grateful that as an agency the vast majority of our long term clients we are still standing beside. They kept the faith and believed that if you build great product and tell a compelling story, the consumer will come.

On behalf of ChizComm and our team of nearly 50 strong, we thank our clients, partners and friends, for navigating with us throughout the bumpy roads and we look forward to an exciting and successful 2019.