When Tudor Games President Doug Strohm asked if it might be possible to meet at the American International Toy Fair this year, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Toy Fair is such a unique event, and such a large part of The Unforgettable Buzz, that the opportunity to view it “up close and personal” was not to be missed.
But this visit was more than just seeing the Toy Fair. It was meeting the Tudor staff — Doug, Denise, and Jimmy — and learning just how passionate and thoughtful they’ve been with electric football over the last year.
Tudor’s new packaging mixes the “classic” with contemporary — sort of post-modern-Retro if you will, using the distinctive silhouetted NFL player that first showed up on a Lee Payne-designed Tudor box in 1967. It looks fantastic. Tying into Tudor’s long and storied electric football lineage was a very astute move on Doug’s part.
It was also heartening to watch a parade of toy buyers stop by the Tudor booth, including representatives from Dick’s Sporting Goods and Amazon (the game is already confirmed for Target). This interest is good news for electric football, and again shows just how hard Tudor is working to get the game back in the public eye. Which is a really challenging thing to do. Retailers do not take anything on a whim these days.
Another pure pleasure was watching Tudor Vice President Jimmy Baum do his presentation “magic” for the buyers. Mr. Baum is a real “Toy Man,” having been in the business for over 40 years with companies like Emenee, Matchbox, and Mattel. He also knew Norman Sas, and took the time to reminisce over his past encounters with electric football’s “distinguished” blue tie-wearing inventor. Jimmy’s presence and experience are beyond measure. And credit to Doug for recognizing what Jimmy could bring to Tudor’s efforts.
Doug did reveal some of the exciting things he expects to happen over the coming year – a Convention in 2014! – but others are for Doug to divulge when he’s ready (although if you check out Tudor’s Facebook page, seems that Doug’s ready much sooner than he thought!)
By the time I left Toy Fair on Tuesday I was exhausted, but grateful to Doug not only for his hospitality, but also for his efforts with Tudor and electric football. He seems to have a good feel for where the game has been, where it is, and how to update it and make it appealing for the future. Electric football IS in good hands right now. There’s no doubt that Doug, Jimmy and Denise have brought their “A” game to the revival of electric football.
PS – Denise, thanks so much for making me feel welcome during those times when Doug and Jimmy were busy with buyers.