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Archive for the ‘Toy Products’ Category

Stickman Stew™ Announces Appointment of Invurgency To Manage Manufacturing and Component Sourcing

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609
gficke@msn.com

Stickman Stew™ Announces Appointment of Invurgency To Manage Manufacturing and Component Sourcing

Cincinnati Based Design Engineering Firm Maintains Extensive Relationships in the Toy and Gift Product Development Area

Rockport, TX Jane Guinn, President and Creator of Stickman Stew™ Thematic Characters announced today that her Toy and Gift design atelier has engaged the services of Invergency llc to manage the manufacturing of her group’s products for a scheduled retail introduction in Spring-2013.

“Together with my Managing Consultants at Duquesa Marketing we selected Invergency from a robust field of candidates”, said Mrs. Guinn. “We were looking for a vendor with deep experience in both the Toy and Gift spaces, an unusual combination. Rick Harrington and his Invergency team offer a great CV in both areas”.

“I have worked with Geoff Ficke and Duquesa Marketing on many projects over many years”, said Rick Harrington, Founder of Invurgency llc. “When the Duquesa team introduced me to the Stickman concept I was thrilled to be presented with an opportunity to work on the development of this beautifully conceived line of whimsical
characters
. I’ve done many doll and character projects but Stickman is the most unique”.

“Our plan is to have all of the work elements for the Stickman Stew Thematic Character project completed by late 2012 and this schedule is being maintained,” said Jane Guinn. “We are currently studying the best path to utilize to introduce the Stickman and Stickgal products to Gift and Toy retailers in early 2013”.

dP Design to Create Branding and Graphic Art Elements For Spring-2013 Introduction of Stickman Stew™ Characters

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609
gficke@msn.com

dP Design to Create Branding and Graphic Art Elements For Spring-2013 Introduction of Stickman Stew™ Characters

Line of Thematic, Whimsical Characters Appealing to Adults, Teens And Children, Will Be Launched in Toy and Gift Retail Space

Rockport, TX  Jane Guinn, President and the creative force behind the Stickman and Stickgal line of novel, thematic Characters announced today that her firm has engaged the services of dP Design, Cincinnati, OH to create the visual design and Graphic Art elements needed to launch her products in the retail marketplace in Spring-2013.

“dP Design has worked closely with my Managing Consultants at Duquesa Marketing to create Graphic Arts and Branding tools for many Consumer Products”,  said
Jane Guinn. “dP Design is a proven creative force in the development of packaging and point of purchase visuals and we are thrilled to partner with them in these
areas to introduce the Stickman and Stickgal lines products”.

“Duquesa Marketing has used my firm for a number of years for a wide range of Graphic Art projects”, said Diana Puppin, Principal of dP Design. “Their enthusiasm for the Stickman project is contagious and I fell in love with the story and whimsy of the characters. My team is gratified to be chosen for this challenging project”.

“Packaging art, point of purchase display, sales collateral, trade show display and the Stickman web-site are key items that dP Design will produce”, said Jane Guinn. We are on schedule to launch at trade shows in the Toy and Gift space in Spring-2013.

Stickman Stew™ Announces Engagement of Duquesa Marketing to Act as Managing Consultants for Launch

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609
gficke@msn.com

Stickman Stew™ Announces Engagement of Duquesa Marketing to Act as Managing Consultants for Launch

Firm to Mange Product Development and Marketing for Line of Whimsical Thematic Dolls to Be Launched in Spring-2013

Rockport, TX   Jane Guinn, President and Creator of the Stickman Stew™ line of thematic characters announced today that her Company has engaged the services of Florence, KY based Duquesa Marketing to act as Managing Consultants for the Product Development and Market Introduction of the Brand.

“I conducted a most thorough national search to find just the right team of creative, visionary professionals to make my Stickman Stew characters a successful market reality”, said Mrs. Guinn. “I was thrilled when I met the Duquesa Marketing team in Cincinnati and we melded immediately. I am so excited about the experience they bring to my project”.

“Jane’s line of Stickman, and Stickgal characters are highly whimsical, colorful, fun and thematic,” said Nancy Ficke, General Manager of Duquesa Marketing. “The  characters are more than a simple toy though. They appeal equally to adults, teens and children and are the ideal uplifting companion for work play, study, cars or recreation spaces”.

“We are planning a Spring-2013 market launch in both the toy and gift space categories,” said Mrs. Guinn. “An aggressive Branding, sales promotion and point of purchase display program will be created for Stickman Stew by Duquesa Marketing. Retail launch information will be announced in late 2012”.

Duquesa Marketing Announces Appointment of Invurgency to Manage Manufacturing of Stickman Stew

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609
gficke@msn.com

Duquesa Marketing Announces Appointment of Invurgency to Manage Manufacturing of Stickman Stew

Line of Thematic Whimsical Dolls Being Readied for Spring-2013 Toy and Gift Retail Market Introduction

Florence, KY   Geoff Ficke, President of Duquesa Marketing, the international Consumer Product Development and Branding Consulting firm, announced today that acting as Managing Consultants they have engaged Cincinnati based Invurgency llc to handle component sourcing and manufacturing of Stickman Stew Dolls.

“Stickman Stew is one of the most fun projects we have ever undertaken”, said Geoff Ficke. “The dolls are whimsical, humorous, colorful and present interesting Marketing and manufacturing challenges. Invurgency is a firm that we have used in the past for our most challenging projects and they are perfect for the Stickman challenge”.

“Invurgency has great experience in a wide range of consumer product design and manufacturing categories, including Toys and Gifts,” noted Alexis Bruning, V.P. of New
Product Development
for Duquesa Marketing. “Stickman Stew is unique in its versatility, equally powerful as a Toy or Gift category Brand”.

“We are developing a total menu of Branding, Sales Promotion, Publicity and Display elements to be ready for a Spring-2013 launch of Stickman and Stick Girl products”, said Nancy Ficke, General Manager of Duquesa Marketing. “We intend to aggressively introduce the Dolls to both the Toy and Gift areas”.

Duquesa Marketing Appointed Managing Consultants for Stickman Stew™ Project Development & Launch

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609
gficke@msn.com

Duquesa Marketing Appointed Managing Consultants for Stickman Stew™ Project Development & Launch

Thematic Family of Dolls Will Employ Whimsy and Good Humor to Encourage Honesty, Caring and Sense of Community

Florence, KY   Nancy Ficke, General Manager of award winning international Consumer Product Development and Branding Consultancy group Duquesa Marketing announced today that her team has been engaged to create, develop and launch at retail the Stickman Stew line of whimsical, thematic dolls.

“”Our client, Jane Guinn, presented to us a wonderful concept which she has nurtured to the point of being ready for commercialization,” said Mrs. Ficke. “The family of dolls is meant to convey a big-heartedness that is too often lacking in today’s hurly burly world. Jane’s Stickman dolls make people happy when they touch one and they grab you and make you think”.

“Stickman dolls are happy to ride on your cars dashboard, practice yoga, sit on a child’s backpack or perk up a workspace”, said Alexis Bruning, V.P. of New Product
Development
for Duquesa Marketing.”They can go anywhere and add a touch of humor and fun to each environment that they touch”.

“The lineup of dolls, their stories and names will be announced shortly”, said Geoff Ficke, President of Duquesa Marketing. “Owing to Stickman Dolls versatility in appealing to children and adults, the line will be marketed as both a toy and as a gift space item. When seen together, they are so cute that we don’t anticipate too many people wanting just one Doll, but purchasing the whole family”.

Consumer Product Market Penetration is Much Easier If Exclusivity Is Key to the Lines Branding Strategy

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

by: Geoff Ficke

Consumer Product Market Penetration is Much Easier If Exclusivity Is Key to the Lines Branding Strategy

Recently I had the opportunity to visit and work several Trade Shows while on an extended business trip through Europe. One was a huge Beauty Product expo in Italy, another a jewelry fair in Switzerland, and a Gourmet Food Show in England completed the itinerary. Each of the venues would be considered apex convocations within their industry space. Each offered a range of products touching many price points.

As any consumer of economic news knows, today Europe is struggling and in a severe commercial downturn. Consumers are caught in a severe pinch between sky high government taxes and budget deficits, slowing growth, job losses and a real decline in personal incomes. The fear is palpable in many obvious ways, even to a foreign traveler.

And yet, the Trade Shows I attended were each doing their most brisk commerce in the categories that offered the more expensive, exclusive product offerings. I queried any number of vendors from across a broad range of retail price positions. Inevitably the higher end products on offer reported that they were doing well. The mid-market brands seemed to be suffering most. The mass market lines were of course also doing well as many middle class shoppers were trading down in these uncertain times, although many mentioned that they were cutting margins to maintain market share.

It is a fact that in many product categories, exclusivity as a marketing strategy can be an easier route to store shelves than almost any other model. In higher-end markets there is less pricing resistance, and thus greater opportunities to enjoy fatter profit margins. Competition can be much less severe. Obstacles to gaining distribution are much less in specialty
stores and boutiques than exist in chains and mass market discounters.

Pet products that cater to passionate owners often seem eccentric. Jewelry, cashmere sweaters for dogs, Halloween outfits for cats and luxury pet beds seem extreme. But, they sell. A visit to any Pet industry Trade Show will confirm this fact.

Cosmetics, Jewelry, Couture Fashion, Footwear, Automobiles, Gourmet Foods and Drinks, Electronics, Luggage, and many other product categories that provide exclusive brands are booming. Brands in the mid-market range are being squeezed. Private label offerings are picking up market share, though margins are squeezed in order to lower and hit needed price points.

The market for Skin Care products priced over $100 per ounce is sizzling. Gourmet Food brands are enjoying a golden age thanks to the popularity of celebrity chefs and food networks. Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, among other show designers, have elevated more than the heels on their products. An order for a new Ferrari or McLaren sport car, paid up-front with cash, will earn the buyer a spot on a waiting list with a 2-year wait for delivery of their vehicle. Every Hermes Birkin bag is pre-sold each season before the purses ever hit store shelves. The valet parking concession at Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London is constantly backed up with a constant cue of chauffeur driven Rolls Royce and Bentley automobiles.

Launching Consumer Products with an Exclusivity distribution Marketing Strategy and Sales Model is a course we often we choose for client projects. Once a market has been  penetrated, and consumer demand is stimulated for a product it is always an option to replicate the item in a lower price point presentation. You can always come down in price.

The Classic Toy “Mr. Potato Head” Would Never Become a Success in Today’s Overprotective Society

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

by: Geoff Ficke

The Classic Toy “Mr. Potato Head” Would Never Become a Success in Today’s Overprotective Society 

In the late 1940’s a Brooklyn-based inventor named George Lerner began to attempt to license a toy concept he had developed. The idea was to take pieces of fruit and vegetables and dress them with human facial features made from tiny plastic parts. The goal was to enable kids to create funny faces on their veggies. 

Mr. Lerner shopped the idea to many toy companies. None were interested. After the hardship and shortages of World War II, it was thought that the resulting waste of food from decorating perishables with funny shaped eyes, brows, ears and lips would be seen as irresponsible. Nevertheless, the inventor was enamored of his prototype and plodded onward. 

After several years of making no progress with toy manufacturers in his effort to license the product George Lerner was finally successful in selling the plastic parts as a premium promotion for cereal producers. While thrilled to finally have his creation in children’s hands, albeit as a give-away, Mr. Lerner continued to believe that his future with the item lay in the toy world. He kept pitching to toy companies. 

In 1951 Lerner introduced the product to a small manufacturer just entering the toy category: Hassenfeld Brothers. They agreed to license the product and launch it as a stand-alone toy. Mr. Potato Head was born. The original kit came with a set of multiple facial parts that could be mixed and matched by children to create funny, sad, silly facial expressions when the parts were stuck onto vegetables. Potatoes became the favorite body to build the faces on. Parents supplied the potatoes.

Mr. Potato Head was such a huge success that it became the first toy product ever advertised directly to children. It provided the impetus for a Saturday morning block of children’s television programming that became ubiquitous in every home in America. In the 1960’s a plastic potato body was included in the set at the behest of the government. Brother Spud, Sister Yam and the Spud-ette’s were introduced by the licensee. Hassenfeld Brothers had evolved into Hasbro and Mr. Potato Head was properly credited with supplying the launching pad for one of America’s great toy companies. Hasbro has done an amazing job of placing Mr. Potato Head in the classic Pixar-produced Toy Story movies, comic strips and television series.

In the 1970’s, one of America’s most beloved toy franchises came increasingly under the paternalistic gaze of the Federal Government. For two decades children had come to love creating goofy faces and expressions for their Mr. Potato Head’s. Suddenly the government began to take note that Mr. Potato Head contained small, sharp parts that had to be pushed into the body of the toy. Lawyers took note as well. 

Through the years Mr. Potato Head has undergone numerous redesigns in order to remain in compliance with ever changing regulations. The construction of the funny-face parts has been redesigned several times to eliminate points and sharp edges. The pieces have been exponentially enlarged to minimize the chance for swallowing. The plastic potato body is nearing the size of a soccer ball. 

I played with Mr. Potato Head as a child. So did my six brothers and sisters and the hundreds of kids in my neighborhood in the 1950’s. Somehow we all survived.

Mr. Potato Head survives despite a contemporary society that has become frighteningly risk-averse. My marketing consulting and product development Company reviews many toy and game products every year. One of the most common reasons we decline offerings is because we are supremely aware of the toy industry’s fear of product liability and litigation issues. Many of these products would have been viable 50 years ago. Today they will not even be considered. It makes me uncomfortable that a product review of Mr. Potato Head, conducted in 2011, would almost surely result in a verdict of decline for this classic.   

Mr. Potato Head is a beloved children’s toy and will continue to evolve to remain in compliance with the whims of the nanny state. I want every child protected. Safety can never be compromised. In the 21st century, however, if Mr. Potato Head did not exist, it would find a much more problematic road to store shelves than it did in the 1950’s. I fear we would never have known the toy. I know that millions of children would have enjoyed a much less whimsical childhood without this simple, happy, creative product.