I’m not a massive fan of Dragon’s Den to be honest, and this week’s episode – which featured not one but two toy/game inventors pitching to the Dragons – neatly encapsulated my misgivings.
In the larger of the two toy-related segments, the Dragons chose to opt “out” of a deal proposed by new game developers Linkee, despite a concise explanation and easily picked up gameplay (which they seemed to enjoy), the Dragons were unanimously wary of the board game market in general, largely based on the abject failure of Peter Jones’ Big Business Game.
Lest we forget (or indeed, never knew in the first place), Jones’ product was self- published in 2007 as a (very) limited edition £19.99 game. At the launch in Hamleys, Jones was beaten at the game by a 12-year-old boy, which some might argue he should have taken as a sign.
Unsurprisingly, the game flopped massively, only ever attracting one review on Amazon UK:
2 out of 5 stars. Not a very fun game.
I bought this for my boyfriend because Peter Jones was his favourite dragon, but it wasn’t a particularly good buy. The game is not really designed with fun in mind. Now he likes Duncan Bannatyne instead.”
All of which goes to show that anyone can have a go at a market, but it helps to actually know something about that market and produce a quality product if you want a chance of success. Vanity is a dangerous thing….
Anyway, it was a case of ‘all’s well that ends well’, as both toy- related products rejected by the Dragons have now secured distribution deals; Linkee with John Adams and Hobbyheadz with Kayes of Cardiff. I wish them both luck and hope that Deborah Meaden will be forced to eat her words: “There isn’t any money in it” indeed….
Elsewhere in this shortened week I have spent most of my time liaising with licensing companies as we begin to pull together content for our bumper October Brand Licensing special. In between a series of meetings and the occasional lunch (we are talking about licensing people here…), I also attended the launch of the brand new Henri le Worm app, which is being represented by the newly-formed Rizon Studios licensing division. It’s a really cute concept and the kids trying it out at Raymond Blanc’s Brasserie all seemed transfixed. New media is rapidly becoming a viable source for potential licences, and I am sure there will be plenty more app-related options to consider moving forward.
Next week is Autumn Fair; the Toy World team will be roaming the show on Monday if anyone would like to meet up with us. And look out for our September second birthday issue, which will be landing on your desk very soon. As well as being a jam-packed edition, full of quality content (we know our market inside out), it contains details of a brand new way to access Toy World on the go. All will be revealed very soon….
You can follow John on Twitter @Baulchtweet.