We are very fortunate to be invited to various media events throughout the year. Usually, these tend to be a good excuse to catch up with some friends in the industry and learn about the latest games, toys or movies that will be releasing in the near future. Most of these events, while being fun, tend to generally follow the same formula: you arrive, eat something, check out the product that is releasing, chat a bit, and go home. When I received an invitation to attend Prima Toys’ 2018 media event I expected more of the same. Little did I know that this event would not only turn out to be loads of fun but, more importantly, it made me feel like a kid again.
The event was held at the Bryanston Country Club and, upon arrival, I was greeted by a colourful sign welcoming me to the Prima Toys Carnival. This was my first indication that this would not be your average media event. After being shown around, I was given some seriously tasty gourmet popcorn to snack on and, being Afrikaans, I opted for the ‘melk tert’ flavour. Thereafter, I got the opportunity to try out some carnival games, you know, the type you see in those American films, the ones where you inevitably lose. Luckily, luck was on my side and I was able to win a prize for each of my daughters, which naturally meant that I was treated as a hero when I arrived home. But I digress, the event wasn’t just so that we could play games and eat food the whole day there was the serious business of getting a sneak peek at Prima Toys’ festive season toy releases.
So, after being treated to some hilarious stand-up comedy by The Napsta and a very inspirational speech from Prima Toys MD John Jordaan, where he spoke about the challenges the toys industry faces, how Prima overcame them and the importance of having fun with your kids, we were finally shown what we all came here to see – the toys.
Marketer extraordinaire Chiquita Patrizi took us through the various new toy ranges Prima is releasing during the festive season (although some of the toys are already in stores). What struck me was the sheer amount and variety of these toys, whether it’s for a boy, a girl or if you are looking for something a little more high-tech Prima has you covered this festive season.
While I would like to go through all of the toys Prima will be releasing it would mean that this article would quickly balloon out of control. I will, therefore, cover some of the highlights from the event.
One of the biggest surprises and one of the most extraordinarily popular toys currently on the market is the L.O.L (Lots of little) Surprises. Basically, this toy takes the popular task of unboxing (although in my day we use to just rip through the wrapping) and hides a little surprise under each layer you unwrap until you finally get to the centre where you find a doll or pet snuggly hiding inside. It’s a clever way of letting kids feel rewarded for each little layer they unwrap. Now, while the L.O.L Surprises have been on the market for a while (although they quickly sell out) Prima will be realising three new ranges of this popular toy, the L.O.L Pearl Surprise, the L.O.L Bigger Surprise and the L.O.L Underwraps. There is little doubt that these new ranges will be just as popular as the rage that started it all.
Having two daughters means that I know a thing or two about dolls (it comes with the territory). Prima has been selling the Baby Born range of dolls for quite some time now. It’s a doll that has kept kids entertained for around 26 years. Little about the Baby Born rage has changed over the years (if it works, why fix it), yet the latest range of these beloved dolls will feature a few upgrades, such as being a bit softer to the touch, having a wider range of motion and crying more easily. Along with the Baby Born range, Prima is also releasing a new addition to their Baby Love range of dolls. This range originally included Baby Bella, who could speak 50 phrases in English and Baby Tasha who could speak 50 phrases in Afrikaans. Now a new member will be joining the Baby Love range, little Thando who can speak 25 phrases in English and 25 phrases in isiZulu. Prima needs to be commended for making their Baby Love range more inclusive.
When it comes to boys, things tend to be more vehicular and superhero related (although my daughter tends to love both of these).
Prima will be releasing a few new toys based on the popular Ben 10 animated series. These will include the Transform & Battle Playset, The Ben 10 Alien Creation Chamber and a whole slew of figurines. Along with these toys, Prima will release another range of toys based on yet another popular animated show, Big Hero 6. This range of toys will include Micro Chibi Figures, Armoured Up Baymax, Flying Blast Baymax and, of course, some more figurines.
With technology seeping into our everyday lives and that of our kids Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality toys have become very popular over the years. Prima will be releasing a few toy ranges that make use of these state of the art technologies.
The first of these is the Augmented Reality Nat Geo figurines. This new wildlife range of soft and squeezable animals come to life thanks to a free Augmented Reality app which also acts as a way of teaching kids more about the specific animal. Learn what their skeletal structure looks like and numerous other facts when using the app. The best part is that the toy range includes dinosaurs. And let’s be honest dinosaurs makes anything better.
Then there are the Virtual Reality toys. Prima will be releasing VR Real Feel, which allows you to download a range of games on your smartphone and then slide your phone into the headset and voila, you are transported into a Virtual Reality world. The range of games includes VR Fishing, VR Alien Blaster, VR Motorcross and VR racing.
Now, these are just some of the toys and games we were shown at the Prima event. Everyone got a chance to try out and play with some of these toys and quickly we each remembered what it felt like to be a kid again. In the end, I was blown away by the sheer number of toys ranges Prima will be releasing over the next few months I quickly found myself wishing I was a kid again.
I just want to thank Prima Toys for giving us the sneak peak of their new toy ranges and also allowing us to just be kids again. I swear I’ve never heard so much laughter at an event, proving once again that toys can bring joy to everyone no matter your age.