When we first started the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, one of the first major media placements we got was with ABC’s Richard Davies. For that first interview, Richard traveled down to our office (a corner of my apartment) and did the interview at my dining room table with a cassette player and microphone. Our interview was peppered with my son Adam (a toddler at the time) breaking out of the other room and running up to Richard. He was fascinated with the microphone and Richard is the kind of guy kids relate to right away. Ever since that first interview, the holidays don’t happen without going to talk to Richard (we now go to his studio).
Richard knows toys and kids–so our conversations are always fun and informed. He doesn’t look at us the way many adults do when we say we play with toys for a living. He gets what we do. Each interview session always starts with a catch up on our respective kids (a conversation that has moved from their favorite toys and video games to what high schools, what colleges, and first jobs, oh my!).
Today there were many more people there–so as everyone was getting the technical aspects of the webcast going, I had Richard try out the new MindFlex– a very futurist toy. Regrettably we didn’t put this on video–because it was really fun to watch Richard try his hand, or should I say mind, with this new toy. To see our demo, click here.
During the interview, I started talking about having several of the interactive toys play together and that I’ve had a good time filming them interact. Richard thought I was crazy…and my mother sort of agreed that my new fascination with filming these toys together is a little out of control.
After any interview, you always have regrets about what you didn’t say. And as much as I do like mixing it up and experimenting with different platforms for discussing toys, I do take toys and play seriously.
What I didn’t say today–is that I think what we do has more meaning than ever before. Dollars are tight and as much as we all want to delight our kids with toys, the days of filling up the cart without care are over. We started the toyportfolio during the recession of the early 90s…and our mission remains the same. We do try all the new toys so that we can save parents time and money. Our reviews are informed by our backgrounds in child development–so not only do we recommend products that work and that are engaging–but we give the underpinnings about why this particular type of play is important to your child’s development. OK, there I said it.
Richard commented “you used to be so serious.” During the past few years with all of the safety issues surrounding toyland, I was extremely serious. This year, things are almost back to normal in toyland. So maybe that reflects some of my silliness today–although I was completely vindicated once I shared my videos with Richard and his gang — after all toys dancing together is pretty funny stuff. My favorite youtube video so far is Rocky the Talking Truck Makes Friends.
So we were delighted to be Richard’s first “webcast” guests for his new show, Shopping for Kids, that will air on-line (more details to come). Of course this meant that we needed to be “camera” ready and that we could bring toys that did not make noise. In the past, we only brought things that made “good radio”–the more noise the better. We wish Richard the best with his new show!