Fisher Price Friends – Best Kept Secret

Category: Children's Products & Services
Client: Fisher Price Friends
Primary Agencies: DraftFCB, Freeman Public Relations
Contributing Agency: Eric Mower & Associates

STRATEGIC CHALLENGE

Can a Marketing Phenomenon be Planned?

That was the question as Fisher-Price planned its annual animated plush Elmo entry for fall 2006, the tenth anniversary of the original Tickle Me Elmo....the toy that revolutionized the design, marketing and consumer expectations of licensed character plush toys forever.

The 1996 consumer craze had been anything but planned. A “good item” was launched into the marketplace with modest media budgets (and, frankly, modest sales expectations) when a combination of word-of-mouth, celebrity enthusiasm and unexpected shortages created a legend. No one thought you could simply plan to cause a phenomenon. Especially in a year in which Sesame Street (and its characters like Elmo) had lost significant viewership and their audience to newcomers like Dora the Explorer. It was a year of overcrowding in the character plush aisles with stiff competition for shelf space and promotional dollars. And a year in which most toy designers felt the limits of plush animation mechanics had been reached.