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How Do You Make People Love Your Product?

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Part 4 of the Stuffies Story: Filling a Pocket in the Plush Toy Market

How do you make consumers like a toy? Well, manufacturing a quality product is a pretty big part of the equation. But the rest? It lies in your ability to develop an effective creative marketing strategy—the true meat and potatoes that’ll get your product through the booming holiday season and also the subdued sales months that follow.

So let’s talk about how we learned to craft the right marketing messages to successfully convey the story of Stuffies—our product line of loveable stuffed animals each with seven different pockets.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of All-department Brainstorming

You know that saying, “Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth?” Well, sometimes you need a lot of cooks throwing their own ingredients into the pot to come up with a seriously delicious stew—or in our case, a jingle. After a couple swings at testing TV ads, Marketing Architects asked the entire Creative Department to get in on the creative development process by offering up ideas for Stuffies next TV spot.  And that’s how the unforgettable Stuffies jingle was born.

Overt repetition and silly, tongue-twisting lyrics not only appealed to kids, it was an earworm that moms couldn’t forget. The jingle was even mentioned (unprompted!) by Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where Parsons and child actress Maggie Jones had a sing-off.

Grandma Wants Her Grandkids to be Happy

Our second big creative win came after the Stuffies jingle. The idea to tailor a commercial to grandparents (grandmoms, specifically) was born out of the insight we gained from demographic analytics and feedback from our customers. We found that an overwhelming amount of reviews were coming from grandmothers who were buying Stuffies for their grandkids.

We always knew we needed to create a toy product with a marketing strategy that would genuinely appeal to kids, but like we mentioned previously, toys are also for parents and grandparents (AKA the buyers). Having solid proof about our other audiences helped us hone our messages and tweak our media buying strategy, allowing us to find new intersections to truly connect with consumers that mattered.  

Some Products Don’t Need Much Explanation

Some products are pretty complicated. Some aren’t. This makes a big difference when it comes to producing the most effective ads. As we were testing creative spots for Stuffies, we found that the 30-second and 60-second TV spots were consistently outperforming our 2-minute spots.

It turns out you don’t need more than a minute to highlight a stuffed animal. And that makes sense for most plush toys. The general rule of thumb is the more straightforward a product, the less time you’re going to need to explain to your audience what it does in an ad. Stuffies are fuzzy, comfy and feature secret pockets. It only takes a few seconds to look at them and see the appeal. A medical device, on the other hand, might need a little more time to explain.

Divergent Creative Concepts are Winners

If there’s one major piece of advice that we’ve always given to our clients and also taken to heart is test wide with divergent creative concepts. Our two most successful Stuffies TV spots were wildly different (the Stuffies jingle and the Dear Grandma commercials). You have to test both conservative and radical ideas if you want to find the true winners.

Being divergent with our Stuffies designs also paid off. While the original plush line started with standard animals, like a dog, bear and monkey, we found that our tests with more whimsical creatures (unicorn, dragon and Pegasus) went very well. They are some of our best sellers today!

Are you ready to make people love your product? We are, too. Call Marketing Architects today to learn more about how we’ll put nearly two decades of direct response marketing experience to work creating a killer creative strategy for your product.

Read more in our series about how Marketing Architects created one of Amazon's best-selling plush toys:

Part 1 – 3 Unexpected Realities About Developing a Product

Part 2 – Product Developers: Did You Start With "Why"?

Part 3  4 Manufacturing Problems All Toymakers Face (and How to Conquer Them)

Part 5 – How Do You Know If You're Ready for Mass Retail?

Ryan Kinkaid

By Ryan Kinkaid

Vice President, Creative

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