You might be surprised at how technology from Toy Fair 2017 could affect your digital marketing business – from creativity to innovation to user experience. Find out more here!

Every February, Big Toys descends on New York for Toy Fair NY, a four-day weekend of high-stakes playtime that would bring out the pop-rocks and Coca-Cola fueled inner child of even Tywin Lannister. The annual event is a fun-fillled front for a $26 billion industry. 

As I’ve spent the week devouring every blog, tweet, article, and review on the tech coming out of Toy Fair, it’s become abundantly clear that the technology, creativity, innovation, and digital marketing strategies on display there have very real—and very immediate—applications for just about every industry.

Seeing Applications Beyond the Toy

Once you remove the concept of “toy,” and replace it with the concept of “tool,” it’s easy to begin understanding direct applications for the seemingly irreverent tech on display at ToyFair. It could even influence your next consumer engagement point, digital marketing campaign, or product.

Etch a Sketch Junior  

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Okay, this is not cutting edge, interactive tech, but after 47 years of a basically unchanged product, Etch A Sketch’s new owner Spin Master has finally iterated the product’s UI so that 5 year olds everywhere can now sketch a true circle! The lesson here?

Beyond the Toy: Do not wait 50 years to give your users an updated UI when something is clearly missing!

AR App by Decalcomania 

This Idaho-based company has expanded on its auto decal beginnings to offer decal designs for laptops, phones, walls…you name it. They’re taking a big interactive step forward with a soon-to-be-released augmented reality app that will bring their decal designs to life. In an industry that you would expect to be the least likely to adopt this kind of interactive technology, they’re blazing a trail.

Beyond the Toy: Think of what you do for your customers: how could you leverage a branded augmented reality experience to engage with them in a more meaningful way? Show them what your product would look like in their home? Help them locate your nearest location?

Ocean Pets by Pai Technology  

Building on its tangible play predecessors like Omso and Tiggly, Ocean Pets lets children mold and sculpt fish out of clay, scan them into an interactive aquarium environment, and then interact with them. There’s a lot of interactive consumer engagement via emerging tech going on here—giving customers creative license with your product, image recognition that brings creations to interactive life, and an augmented reality experience. 

Beyond the Toy: How could you leverage image recognition for customer engagement? Provide users with supplementary product information? Let them upload data from documents? Help them render their custom-design product or environment designs to manipulate?

Beasts of Balance

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This takes the image recognition and tangible play elements of Ocean Pets, and layers in near field communication between the game pieces to create unique interactions in the app.

Beyond the Toy: NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) have applications well beyond toys. Imagine a small, easily programmable, cost-effective adhesive BLE beacon sending content, promotions, and notifications to your customers as they engage with your product, or in your locations.

Interactive & Engaging Technologies Are Being Overlooked

Someone has to say it—the most engaging technologies and interactive strategies that are being adopted by the toy industry at a prolific rate are being overlooked by many (many) other industries. Either because of the often-incorrect assumption that these interactive experiences don’t have a place in their market, or the assumption that these emerging technologies are cost prohibitive.

Adept’s web & interactive team thrives on building impactful, interactive experiences for our clients. Whether we’re testing an interactive platform with unexplored business and customer engagement applications, or building an outside-the-box web solution to solve unique marketing challenges, we leave no stone—or toy—unturned when it comes to searching for inspiration.


Bonus Material: Just a quick list of super fun interactive toys we loved this year, and we think you’ll love too. 

Air Hogs DR1 FPV Race Drone  The super expensive, super-fast racing drones are now more affordable than ever!

Hello Barbie Hologram  A follow up to the original Hello Barbie, Big-Brother-is-Watching edition doll that made waves in 2015 for recording children’s voices and saving them in cloud, the new Barbie Hologram is an Alexa-like personality, and makes me believe that Star Wars Hologram Chess is achievable in my lifetime.

What interactive experiences have you enjoyed recently? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!