Pre-Toy Fair 2014: What Exactly Is Toy Fair??

Conventions

Hi everybody! At When Nerds Attack we cover various events and cons all year long and it is a blessing to be able to personally witness thousands of fans all congregating into these expo and convention centers across the country (soon… The world!), the people joining to give tribute to all sorts of awesomeness.

But of all the events we cover one stands out amongst the others like a lighthouse against a pitch black sea. Yeah, that’s San Diego, but for posterity and the sake of argument I am going to say that even the mighty SDCC is NOTHING compared to the New York Toy Fair.

It may not have the lines or the panels or the super media coverage or even cripple the local transit system, but NYTF is an event that dollar for dollar spent blows SDCC out of the water. Next month we are going back to the expo and while we have a ton of cool coverage ideas and reader giveaways we’d like to build up to Toy Fair with a series of posts talking shedding some light on the event.

I like to think that Comic-Con is like a big advertisement. The panels, the news, the screeners and even the swag are all meant for us to go ahead and spend money on something else later on in the year. Toy Fair is where those companies try and pitch to these awesome releases to retailers across the world. CEOs act as the tastemakers for what they feel the customers would be into. It is actually super scientific with charts and graphs and figures and trends and all sorts of math.

And while there may be a lot of purchasing going on there isn’t a whole lot of ACTUAL buying happening. You might get a few goodies here and there people for the most part are leaving with packets and catalogs and invoices instead of the latest Mint-On-Card Darth Somethingorother.

While it is pretty cool to be able to see all of these toys months before they are released, it is actually a lot of work to be able to see the figures. Unlike Comic-Con which has wide open booths inviting fans in, Toy Fair has a lot of booths from the bigger brands that are all walled off with an army of impeccably dressed clipboard wielders manning the entrances. Basically, you have to contact companies directly and schedule appointments if you want to get in and even that isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

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Another thing that is quickly noticed at Toy Fair is the typical manner of dress. These are business professionals on a business expo trying to get down to business and move some product after all so they are all dressed to impress. While $3000 suits aren’t commonly seen they are something you will notice. If you do manage to get in it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give some thought to what you will consider wearing. I’m not saying you need to go out and get a pair of Louboutins like some of my favorite PR ladies tend to wear, but not standing out is isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As for cosplaying, this is generally not something seen unless it is a paid model advertising something.

One area where SDCC and NYTF share a bond is celebrity encounters. Bigger toy companies with licenses from blockbuster films like Hasbro or Mattel have been known to have actors from said movies on hand to endorse their figures.

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It isn’t all negative though. Unlike SDCC there isn’t much if any time spent waiting on lines. Since almost everything is done by appointment you don’t have to worry about conflicting attractions. Also, the internet connection is fairly decent and the wait for food is minimal (unless you want Starbucks). Small/no lines also means a lot less people and crowding. There is tons of space and breathing room in the aisles during this thing. Also, hotels in NYC are fairly inexpensive in February so that is a plus if you require lodging. Speaking of lodging, NYTF always partners with loads of hotels that offer amazing rates to those who go through their site.

So that’s basically the long and short of it. While NYTF can be exciting as hell it is a different beast than comic-con despite the similarities and parallels the two share. Much like SDCC I always leave the event obsessing over things I wish I had done differently or want to improve on the next time around.

Also, RDJ because.

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