The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
Heraldnet.com

The top local business stories in your email

Contact Us:

Josh O'Connor
Publisher
Phone: 425-339-3007
joconnor@heraldnet.com

Maureen Bozlinski
General Sales Manager
Phone: 425-339-3445
Fax: 425-339-3049
mbozlinksi@heraldnet.com

Jim Davis
Editor
Phone: 425-339-3097
jdavis@heraldnet.com

Site address:
1800 41st Street, S-300,
Everett, WA 98203

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 930
Everett, WA 98206

HBJ RSS feeds

Mommy bloggers help to boost sales of toys

Toy makers now send about 70 percent of their samples to bloggers.

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Pinterest icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
Associated Press
Published:
  • LeapFrog Enterprises reached out to 200 of the top mommy bloggers to generate buzz for their LeapPad Explorer kid-size tablet.

    Associated Press

    LeapFrog Enterprises reached out to 200 of the top mommy bloggers to generate buzz for their LeapPad Explorer kid-size tablet.

Emily Vanek is not buying up a bunch of LeapPad Explorers herself, but she may be at least partly to blame for some stores selling out of the $99 children's tablet this holiday season.
"The LeapPad is incredible," the Denver mother of three boys wrote to the 6,000 readers of her ColoradoMoms.com blog. "Not only do kids get to have a toy resembling their parents' tablet, it's durable and my favorite part?! It's not just mindless games they are playing."
These days, mommy bloggers don't just gab about spilled milk and poopy diapers. In fact, they've become so influential in the $22 billion toy market that toy makers go to great lengths to get their seal of approval. Their thumbs-up is particularly important during the holiday shopping season when toy makers hope to create the next hit toy.
It's a major shift for toy companies, which have always given out samples of new dolls, games and other playthings to drive sales. Five years ago, they handed out 98 percent of those products to TV stations, newspapers and magazines. But today, as much as 70 percent go to bloggers.
Mattel Inc., the world's largest toy company, has a database of about 400 mommy bloggers and their location, interests and the children's ages. Canadian toy maker Spin Master, which makes the trading card game Redakai, hired a dedicated staffer whose only job is to reach out to mommy bloggers. And small toy maker Cepia Inc., which makes robotic Zhu Zhu pets, gets feedback from mommy bloggers before its toys hit shelves.
It's hard for toy makers to ignore the monstrous number of mommy bloggers. Nationwide, there are about 4 million or so mommy bloggers who influence millions of other parents around the world.
"Mommy bloggers started because they wanted to share things about a new baby, but the most influential ones got into social media and realized they could make a difference," says Maria Bailey, whose BSM Media firm helps companies pick mommy bloggers with the most reach on the Twitter and Facebook social media websites. "Sometimes that difference is as simple as directing a mom to a toy that will save money."
That's why when LeapFrog Enterprises wanted to roll out its LeapPad Explorer kid-size tablet, it reached out to 200 of the top mommy bloggers. The goal? To get them to generate buzz for the tablet by throwing "mommy parties."
The Emeryville, Calif.-based company sent each blogger a kit that included a LeapPad, a game for it and coupons. LeapFrog also sent tips on how many people to invite (about 5 adults and 15 kids) and suggested recipes (ice cream sundaes).
For bloggers like Vanek, the Denver mom who bills herself as the "go-to answer for all things mom and kids in Colorado," it was a chance to be a hero of sorts to other parents and their kids.
"It not only lets my own children get to try out the newest/hottest toys, it allows them to share them with their friends," she says. "It allows me to get to have my own friends over for something better than a Tupperware party where I'm doing a hard sales pitch."
But for LeapFrog, it was an opportunity to get word-of-mouth going early.
It was the first time the company had hosted "mommy parties," but it seems to have paid off. The company declined to give sales numbers, but the LeapPad has been selling out online and in stores across the country this holiday season.
Earlier this year, SpinMaster also used mommy bloggers to get the word out about its reformulated Moon Dough, a non-sticky PlayDoh-like moldable substance. Within weeks of the company sending samples to more than 500 bloggers, there were thousands of postings about the new product online.
Story tags » MediaInternet & CloudGames

MORE HBJ HEADLINES

CALENDAR

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus

Market roundup