Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wide World of Toys and Games

Toy and game licensing contracts ask the question, what is the "territory" the licensor grants product marketing rights to the licensee? A worldwide or "all territories" deal is complex, but there are advantages to both parties. An inventor is often willing to give worldwide marketing rights to a single partner IF that marketer can produce, package, and ship a product to retail shelves in all corners of the globe. A global marketer must decide if the product that plays in Seattle will make it as successfully in Shanghai and Sydney. In my days with Milton Bradley and Hasbro, the entire globe was certainly our marketplace.

There are some classic toys and games recognized as global brands. That elite status often takes years to build. But my friend, Richard C. Levy, a globe-trotting game inventor and marketing maven has devised a campaign to generate interest in his new game, Coffee Talk, marketed by Pressman Toys. Coffee Talk was co-invented with former Hasbro Games Marketing VP, Gary Carlin. Shaaa-zam! The game has magically appeared in remote places in the world where there are no Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks shops. Talk about spreading the word for a product and getting it before international game players! Shown below, in the hands of various locals, is the unique Coffee Talk package looking just like a retail sack of coffee not filled with beans, but rather playing pieces for the new game! www.coffeetalkgame.com

Chess Playing Armenians

Mongolian & Yak

Just shown at Toy Fair 2011, Pressman ships the game mid-June in its distinctive coffee pouch package. Hey, if a word game can be a hit packaged in a simulated banana skin, why shouldn't a game like Coffee Talk hit the toy shelves looking like a sack of coffee? And after all this grassroots global exposure, you can bet there are already some deals for foreign language editions of the game. Game players worldwide await its arrival! To follow Coffee Talk around the world, and to become a fan, go to www.facebook.com/coffeetalkgame

Lijiang, China Youth

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Over the Big Pond

When we wrote The Toy and Game Inventor's Handbook, Richard and I knew that toy invention was certainly a global enterprise. In fact, we had relationships with creators of some of the best selling toys and games in the USA that had originated in design studios in Europe, Japan, and Israel. But our schedule and publisher specs lead to a book that clearly was focused on professional inventors housed on the left side of the Atlantic and the right side of the Pacific. Though geographically specific, the publication did achieve our intentions to shine a light on the creators and creative process of new toys and games. In addition to profiling toy and game inventions of some eighty U.S. professionals, it gave a bit of industry history and many helpful how-to do and what-to-do tips to license ideas.

Today, thanks to Al Gore's invention and the Google internet highways, our Handbook can now be digitally updated, complemented, and expanded to a more global perspective of toy and game invention. An interesting site from "over the pond" I recently found can be accessed by going to http://ideasuploaded.com . Ideas Uploaded is written by Tara Roskell, a freelance graphic designer and aspiring inventor based in the UK. Ideas Uploaded is a blog where Tara shares everything she's learned about the invention process through her own journey as an inventor. The blog also contains interviews and podcasts with successful inventors from disparate locales.

Who knows? Perhaps some savvy author team will search the internet using key "invention" words and produce a hard copy publication entitled The Global Toy and Game Inventor's Handbook. Good luck with the challenge of doing such a new publication!