As part of Hit Entertainment's partnership with Fisher Price, I lead the design of in-store retail merchandising systems for their multiple toy line segmentation. I developed a system for retailers to fully display an aisle's SKUs of Thomas & Friends™ product. This proved especially challenging due to the various toy systems existing within the overall brand: Take-n-Play, Trackmaster & Wooden Railway. Not only did I need to effectively service both our own brand as well as our partners' needs, I needed to fully highlight these differences to the consumer.
- Create a simple, effective system
- Maintain brand integrity
- Differentiate between segments
- Build a library of assets
- Delineate guidelines for usage
- Serving as overall project manager, I took an active role in comparative & competitive research, stakeholder communication & buy-in, design & concept ideation & final hi-fidelity asset creation.
- Development Schedule
- Competitive Analysis
- System Segmentation
- Full-scale, high-res panel graphics
- Annotated Wireframes
Having recently completed the full packaging redesign for these toy systems, I was empowered to apply my brand knowledge and expertise to quickly address the following challenges:
- How could we adapt the design assets from toy packaging to large-scale retail panel displays?
- How could we highlight the differences among the systems without creating a discordant array of branding?
- How would we address the need for various panel dimensions amongst various retailers?
- How would we educate our retail partners in the application of these new assets?
The overall process for this project heavily involved working with our partners at Fisher Price in outlining the needs of our retail partners.
Using the newly created toy systems as a starting point, we alighted on what made each one unique:
- Take-n-Play: the "Portable Way to Collect & Play" using durable die-cast metals & foldable playsets;
- Trackmaster: the newest system for Motorized train vehicles, complete with lights/sounds & interactive features;
- Wooden Railway: the very first and original Thomas & Friends™ specialty toy segment;
Our design decisions needed to extend the logic of each toy segment's mission statement. This would be paramount in educating the consumer in the distinct value within each different toy system.
To highlight portability & collectibility, Take-n-Play signage incorporated images of Thomas' friends while Trackmaster remained focused on dynamic angles and tight cropping of Thomas alone to imply fast motion. Finally, Wooden Railway signage would evoke classic feelings of nostalgia by depicting Thomas on the Island of Sodor.
The final release of these system merchandising assets contributed to a global marketing initiative that helped drive toy sales for Fisher Price's Thomas & Friends™ products worldwide. Participating retailers included: Toys 'R' Us, Wal-Mart, Target & specialty stores. The success of this launch cannot be overstated as it led to Mattel & Fisher Price's eventual acquisition of Hit Entertainment and the Thomas & Friends™ brand.
Not only did these systems prove to be quite versatile, over time I also executed multiple extensions for local markets, as well as dedicated tentpole promotions and partnerships.