Tag Archives: Media

How To Maximize Media Coverage At Toy Fair

In a matter of weeks, toy makers will descend upon New York City to unveil the hottest and latest toys at Toy Fair.  Toy Fair is the premier event for the toy industry.  Think of the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys combined with Fashion Week, and that is Toy Fair.  For many start-ups and even existing toy companies, Toy Fair is a make or break event.  Be discovered by the media at the trade show and the sky is the limit.  Be ignored and it is hard to recoup.

Why is this? Toy Fair is an opportunity for journalists to notice trends and get a sense of what is changing and new in the toy industry.  That allows reporters to form toy trend stories throughout the year and develop the ideas for television segments and print articles.   This is a way to get a toy in front of consumers and for many start-ups, a way to get the notice of investors (Shark Tank producers attend the show along with many financial analysts).

So how should you stand out to earn the coveted media attention?

Know what the media will be looking for and target your presentation for the specific media that you need to target.  What is the media looking for at Toy Fair?

  1. Toys that are cool (I know everyone thinks their toy is cool). Reporters are looking for good visual toys that will appeal to people instantly.  They are looking for groundbreaking toys.   They also want toys that are easy to demonstrate on camera and can be explained easily. Have a good, appealing, and strong elevator pitch between 30 seconds to a minute prepared.  Don’t overwhelm with technical details.
  2. Reporters like toys that are tied are tied into hot topics and trends.
    • Tech toys.
    • Entertainment tie-ins.
    • Lifestyle themes.
    • Social consciousness.
  3. Compelling business start-up stories (This really appeals to the financial press, analysts, and of course Shark Tank producers).
  4. Toys that are connected to a particular regional market.
  5. Toys that have a strong human interest appeal.

So knowing what the media is looking for, how do you attract them?

  1. Develop key talking points so you are prepared when the media stops by. Among these talking points should be:
  • Who you are.
  • What your company and toy does.
  • Why your toy stand out.
  • Important selling features.


  1. Getting the media to your booth:
    • Have the booth look professional.
    • Make sure that you have contacted the media who will be attending Toy Fair and invite them to your booth.
    • Host a special event at the booth just for journalists such a pre-show breakfast or lunch.
    • Have snacks available for reporters.

Toy Fair happens once a year but the impact of the show for a toy company can be felt throughout the year.  That is why for anyone exhibiting at Toy Fair, media coverage is not essential but a must in order to be successful.




How To Tips: Reaching The Media At Trade Shows



Trade shows like Toy Fair and BookExpo are great places to meet buyers and also gain public exposure through media coverage.  News stories that come out of a trade show can make a company’s entire year.  Many smaller sized or new companies put most of their public relations and marketing budget into a major trade show.  Media coverage from a trade show can make or break a company.  For a new company or product, it can put them on the road of success.  Lack of coverage can often mean the end of a start-up company that was banking on media coverage and spent all of their public relations and marketing budget on the tradeshow. 

Here are six tips for trade shows to help you be successful in getting media coverage to make it worthwhile:

  1. Don’t cheap out. You’ve already spent tens of thousands (or millions) on your exhibit. Spend a few extra bucks and bring a public relations professional. Your sales team is there to meet buyers, partners and to sell, not handle media walk-bys, demos, interviews, social media posts and press room activities.
  2. Stick to your schedule. Reporters hate it when you decide to cancel or reschedule an interview at the last minute. They’ve already booked other appointments and you’ll risk losing the story. Don’t throw a hand grenade into a schedule that your PR team has spent weeks finalizing. Having a PR pro on-site will solve the inevitable sales meeting or customer drop-by conflicts that pop up. 
  3. BYO. Don’t rely on the show’s registered media list; qualify and build your own. Show media lists are notoriously out of date and often incomplete because many Tier 1 media simply don’t pre-register. They decide to attend last-minute. Advance media calls, confirmations the week of the show and reconfirmations during the show will ensure you connect with the right reporters. 
  4. Help media cut through the clutter. We’ve landed major national news stories by offering producers and reporters the opportunity to walk the show floor with a client who really ‘gets’ the category and can offer sound data, insights and opinions on what’s hot – and what’s not. Most trade shows are overwhelming, and the 24/7 news cycle makes them even more unmanageable for skinnied up editorial staffs.
  5. Brand the press room. If you’re spending a small fortune on an exhibit, why neglect the place where most media gather even if they skip your booth? There are 1001 smart and not always costly ideas for establishing a branded presence in a press room – from supplying a masseur to massage tired feet to sponsoring coffee breaks, note pads or back packs.
  6. Stock the press room. Don’t count on media to find you. Even if it’s just a humble jump drive, make sure your latest product info is available in the press room. No matter how old-fashioned it sounds – media still congregate in ‘their’ area to talk, post stories and get re-caffeinated, and they will scout out available materials. Even if they missed you on the show floor, there’s a good chance you can get your message in front of them.

Remember just as you plan every detail of your booth at a trade show, so should you plan your media strategy for the show.  Indeed the media coverage may at times be more important than how the booth looked.

A Public Relations Strategy For Big Food

The folks that brought you the tobacco lawsuits of the 1990s are back and they have found a new industry to target – food makers.  Over the past month publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and others have been reporting on lawsuits against food makers.  Also, we have seen stories pop up in the media alleging deceptive advertising by food makers (the food inside the package is not as tasty looking as the food on the package). Indeed the very lawyers who handled the tobacco lawsuits are behind these lawsuits.  One of the lawyers even admitted that they have been looking for a new industry to target.  This should not come as a surprise.  I remember working in Florida at the time, the late Governor Lawton Chiles had legislation passed to go after the tobacco industry.  The original legislation was worded so that any industry that the State of Florida wanted to go after could be subjected to a lawsuit.  The lawyers were very clear that they had the liquor and food industries in their sites.  The tobacco industry believed in a strategy of litigating until the lawsuits went away.  They were slow to counter the public relations war that was being waged against them.  Food makers would be wise not to repeat this mistake.  What should the food industry do?

First the food companies need to do training on crisis communications.  They need to prepare themselves for the lawsuits that are coming.  Chances are if they haven’t been served yet, they will be.  A crisis communications plan needs to be laid out from whom will be the public face of the company to talking points that will be laid out.  In this day of social media, companies need to include a social media component for their crisis communications plan.

Once the lawsuits are filed and the other side begins their public relations war – be charges of deceptive advertising to a charge that a certain food made someone obese, food companies need to go on a public relations offensive.  Lawyers will advise saying nothing but look at how well that advice played out for the tobacco companies.  They need to point out how they meet every requirement set by the federal government and state governments in the manufacture of their products.  They need to call out the lawsuits as frivolous and bring up the comments made by the lawyers that they are looking for industries to target.  Trial lawyers make great villains especially when they are on record saying they are targeting an industry to make money off of it.  They need to put the plaintiffs and their attorneys on trial in the media.  (Remember the outrage over the lawsuit against McDonalds where the lady spilt her hot coffee and sued not only McDonalds but the cup maker as well because there was no warning that coffee could be hot?) Finally in their rebuttals, they need to point out how these lawsuits are costing consumers because the price for food products are affected by the lawsuits and also outline the products that are being targeted and why consumers will be the losers. 

Next food companies must do an outreach and education program with other industries and companies.  It needs to be pointed out that today it is the food industry, tomorrow it will be another industry unless these lawsuits are stopped.  Bringing other industries and businesses into the battle helps with the public relations war because ultimately every industry from airlines to alcohol to even toy makers can be affected because the lawyers will target one of them next.  Working with other companies will allow for pressure to build on state legislatures and even the federal government in dealing with tort reform.  Short term, working with other industries will create pressure to keep state governments and the federal government from joining the lawsuits as they did the tobacco lawsuits.

In fighting lawsuits, the food industry is facing seasoned pros in both litigation and publicity.  These lawyers defeated the tobacco industry and won the public to their cause through savvy use of the media and publicity.  They are seeking now to do the same to food makers.  Food companies can avoid the fate of tobacco companies by not being caught sleeping and preparing for the upcoming public relations battle now.