• Transform magazine
  • December 13, 2017

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Global toy brand TOMY launches sub-brand, Toomies

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“We Toomies love to have fun! We love surprising and delighting both you and your child. You may call us quirky, but we’re serious about not taking playtime too seriously.” So begins the introduction to newly-launched Toomies sub-brand of global toy company TOMY. Specially designed for younger infants and toddlers, the Toomies brand is aimed at ‘modern parents’ of the millennial generation who, while interested in contemporary toy experiences, are equally eager for ‘analogue’ toys to remain relevant.

Led by Leeds, UK-based design agency Robot Food, the Toomies sub-brand has been created from toddler-oriented products previously integrated into the wider TOMY brand. Repositioning a whole sub-section of the TOMY brand under a new yet related identity was no mean feat, however. Requiring a brand workshop involving TOMY’s global team, including key territory representatives and toy designers, Robot Food’s research found that among ‘millennial’ parents, digital-first was not always the best option. Preference for analogue toys over tech-led activities is perhaps symptomatic of a generation defined by digital, with the notion of parents seeking quiet calm informing Robot Food’s ‘less is more’ approach.

Furthermore, rather than digital leading the charge for innovation, Robot Food’s research suggests a category increasingly viewed as staid and stale. Robot Food therefore developed a brand strategy and positioning around ‘Hands-on fun,’ reflecting the important, collaborative nature of early years play. “The toddler and infant toy category had become very me-too and nobody was standing out or doing anything different,” says Dave Timothy, client director at Robot Food.

“We had a great time giving TOMY a confident, fresh direction. Our work sets a new benchmark for toys in this age range and puts TOMY back in favour with new generations on a global scale,” says Timothy.

From a design perspective, the bespoke packaging illustrations and logo are a key feature of the new Toomies brand. In collaboration with TOMY’s inhouse design team, Robot Food adopted a child-led and child-friendly design able to stand out on shelves crowded with myriad options while not overwhelming the customer with colour and pictures. This attention to detail is, says Sunita Rajkanwar, senior brand manager at TOMY, why the brand and agency has worked so well together.

“We chose Robot Food for its strategic design and track record for successfully challenging the norm, particularly when it comes to millennial audiences,” says Rajkanwar. “Fresh thinking and creativity have helped us to clarify and own our brand truths. We can see clear space between ourselves and the competition and an exciting path for the future.”

At a time where new parents are presented with ever-more choice, the clear characterisation and illustration-led visual for Toomies shows what the global toy market has to offer. The analogue-led design focuses on the importance of building development and relationships through uncomplicated play; from strategy to experience, Robot Food ensures its brand work reflects the classic play-led environment.

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Previous TOMY infant branding