Playmonster’s My Fairy Garden

Objectives of research:

  • to define a winning brand strategy and proposition…
  • which equally meets the needs of USA and UK consumers;
  • with which to establish and lead a distinctive category in play;
  • accelerate brand growth, increasing market share and total category sales;
  • promoting a wholesome, nature loving play pattern for children;
  • and evaluating the potential for a new entertainment IP flowing from the core toy brand.

What we did:

  • simultaneous focus groups in USA and UK with parents and children 5-7 in separate studios;
  • co-creative projection walls to develop a unique brand story, imagery, attributes and proposition;
  • kids’ play lab for hands-on toy testing, to examine user experiences and surface relevant story arcs;
  • simulated retail layout to examine the product, range hierarchy and packaging design, for parents.

Who: diverse families share an attraction towards traditional fairies, beyond the culturally dominant Disney formula of Tinkerbell, with strong appeal proven in response to distinct brand attributes, character personalities, and play pattern for girls aged 4 to 8, both in ‘play age’ and ‘buy-in age’.

How: Having explored the world of fairies, as soon as parents first encountered the brand and its complete range it resonated with many desires and expectations they’d already spoken about. Parents were triggered by the design’s strong associations with nature. However in order to make a purchase decision, they needed to be able to readily, easily ascertain the play pattern at a glance, its implications inside and outside the home, and how engagement can be sustained in the product over time. Girls showed us how, through their own play, this engagement would and could be sustained, the story arcs, the imaginative interaction extrapolated beyond plant-and-grow elements, the props and means to enhance the product design to increase play longevity.

What’s happened since?

We advised Playmonster that the brand had all the strengths and attributes to support a new entertainment IP but all the while preserving key play elements and ensuring they’re not diluted in the transition from toy brand to entertainment. There are unique attributes to cherish which differentiate the brand from all other brands, including Disney-Barbie archetypes, plus aspects of the product design which, at the time of the research, needed to be improved, resolved or expanded on before that transition took place. Done well, preserving the central premise connecting play with nature, this brand can establish and lead a new category.

Playmonster’s development of the brand is in progress but not yet in the public domain, so I won’t comment any further until it is. What I can say is that the initial response in terms of new product development and story telling reflects our recommendations well.

Highlights of the project?

Ruth: I always enjoy the synchronous sessions with parents in one studio and children in the other, and not just because play-lab sessions with kids are such fun! It’s good to see research doing the job it’s designed for – dispelling myths, confirming some hypotheses, disproving others, but always offering a positive way forward. In 2021 I had the good fortune to be involved in developing and delivering the account preview presentations for this brand and to witness the very positive reactions as its new strategy – one we at Consumer Fluent helped to define – was unveiled to retail buyers in the UK.

This Playmonster project is just one of a line of similar projects which Ruth has led in recent years, which create a play-lab environment, explore core brands, their relationship to entertainment IPs and platforms, their potential and the attributes which lend themselves to expand across diverse consumer product categories.

  • Ben Ten
  • Amazing World of Gumball
  • Power Puff Girls
  • Barbie
  • Fisher Price
  • Imaginext
  • Hotwheels
  • Meccano
  • Fab Lab
  • My Fairy Garden
  • Fuzzikins
  • Polly Pocket
  • Monopoly
  • Pop-A-Tops Games
  • Anthem Publishing