Toy World spoke to Natalie Frow, senior brand manager at Tomy, to hear how the Britains brand has been marking its impressive milestone.
Reaching its 100th anniversary is a remarkable achievement for any brand. We began by asking Natalie:
What’s behind Britains’ longevity?
We owe and attribute a lot of our success to our loyal fans who have supported us since we launched our first ever model back in 1921 and have continued to pass on their collections and enthusiasm throughout the generations.
The long-term partnerships with our licensors such as JCB and John Deere form an integral part of our development and ensure we can continue to launch authentic models to our avid community.
How has the brand and its products celebrated this year – and are there any celebrations still to come?
As this year is such an iconic anniversary for Britains, we wanted to ensure we planned a host of activities to celebrate this incredible landmark with our core fans, thanking them for their continued support, whilst also reaching new markets and demographics.
Over the course of our 100th year anniversary, we have launched more new lines and products within the space of a year than ever before. This includes the relaunch of our very first tractor, the Fordson Major, which has been at the centre of our celebrations. Amongst this limited edition launch, we released a small number of special gold editions, hidden amongst the range, which a few lucky fans managed to get their hands on, making the re-release even more special.
Our core and existing fans are at the heart of Britains as a brand; we wanted to create something extra special to help them celebrate with us. Working closely with Tomato Source and Ford Licence, we designed a beautiful silver effect medallion which showcased the key features from the Fordson Major tractor, our first ever model, presented in a wallet featuring the history of Britains for our fans to enjoy.
To appeal to younger fans, we partnered with two great venues – Big Sheep and Rural Life Museum, which both offer great family experiences and were the perfect fit for our brand ethos. We created a fun activity trail to encourage families to explore the venue and find a range of Britains items/products hidden around the trails. Launching in time for the summer holidays, the trials provided a great and unique outdoor activity for the whole family to enjoy, and helped introduce a new generation to the wide range of Britains products on offer.
To celebrate Britains continued success, we wanted to give back to the farming community and donated £10,000 to remarkable educational charity – Farms for City Children. This donation will help fund a class of school children, who are facing challenges in their lives and live in some of the most densely populated areas of the country, letting them spend a week experiencing life on a working farm. Farms for City Children helps develop the children’s self-confidence, new friendships and experience completely new environments away from technology and we couldn’t be prouder to support such an incredible cause.
We’ve had such an amazing year, and it certainly won’t stop here. We’re very excited for the future and plan to continue working with these new partners as well as source wider opportunities to help raise awareness for the Britains brand.
How important has the independent channel been to the brand’s success over the years?
The independent sector plays a key part in the overall success of the Britains brands. Many indie toyshops are located in rural areas where fans can easily access our products, which are exact replicas of machinery they may have seen on working farms. The great thing about this sector is the incredible range of products they have on offer for customers. The Britains range includes over 70 lines across all categories – tractors, vehicles, implements and animal sets – all essential for kids as well as collectors, to build their model farms and dioramas.”
What kind of marketing support is Britains to benefit from in the run up to the festive season and into next year?
We have new lines launching right up until Christmas, so fans need to keep visiting their local stores to make sure they don’t miss out. We have a lot of exciting activity happening across the Britains’ social channels too, including social takeovers, as well as giving our fans the opportunity to have their say on future launches.
To continue to engage our community, we asked fans which of our heritage collection they would like to see re-launch in 2022. We had an incredible response via Facebook and are really excited to announce that our Valtra Valmet will be hitting shelves once again next Autumn.
What do the years ahead hold for Britains?
Britains is one of our core brands at Tomy, and we will be continuing to invest on developing new lines each year in order to keep loyal fans and collectors engaged through our replica models, while introducing new farming products to help us expand and target a new, younger demographic.