I spent time a few weeks ago at Toy Fair. For those not in the know, Toy Fair is one of the industry’s largest trade shows and gives us all a look at what’s coming in the toy world. This is an entire convention center filled with toys and games, and I was one of the first people to see them! It is an amazing show to attend.
There is a whole section of the floor dedicated to collectibles. Not surprisingly, it is where I spent most of my time. In this section, you see the target market turned on its head. I’m the average consumer, not an eight year old. It’s a weird feeling to know I’m targeted by toy companies. These companies know that I’m interested in nice packaging and numbered limited edition sets. That I want it display worthy right out of the box, or be able to modify it to my own worthy standards.
The whole time I’m checking out statues and figures, all I can think is “Where are the toys I can play with?” I can’t be the only adult that still wants to play with action figures. In fact, I know I’m not. But adults are not targeted for playtime; they are only targeted for high price display pieces. This is a trend I saw throughout presentations at Toy Fair. When companies presented their upcoming lines, they had their kid-friendly and their collector lines. They specifically mentioned what they thought would be good for adults.
I want to sit down and play with toys. And that’s not to say companies aren’t making action figures for adults. In particular, Diamond Select Toys definitely targeted me with a Star Trek: TNG Worf action figure. In the past, they’ve had even more superhero figures to tempt me. Another company is Thinkgeek, who has products that showcase hands on creativity, like the upcoming Brick Boy. Still, it is rare for a company out there to encourage an adult to play.
Admittedly, I still love display pieces. I have some statues that I cherish and some toys I absolutely won’t take out of the packaging. And to have companies recognizing adults like to reclaim lost pieces of their youth through toys is a nice thing. Still, playing is not a bad thing. And as a supposed-adult, which I still don’t believe that I am (even in my 30s), I think that it would be great to see more companies appeal to my playfulness. Hopefully next year, I see companies targeting more than just my wallet.