Making Board Games Fashionable at Palitoy
As Brand Manager for Parker Games at Palitoy between 1984 and 1987, I was responsible for Trivial Pursuit. This board game was played in one of every eight households in the UK at the time. I also managed a range of other games which were some of the hottest properties in the toys and games market at the time.
Palitoy and Parker Games
Owned by a US-based parent company, Palitoy decided to re-launch its games category in Europe, on the back of the early success of Trivial Pursuit. So we aggressively sought new licences from third parties and engaged with independent games designers, as well. Successes included the launch of Pictionary and Spitting Image, licenced from and produced in conjunction with the popular, satirical TV series. Also the ever-popular strategy game, Risk, plus a number of other games for children and adults.
Palitoy’s Action Figures
Prior to the board games category, I was in charge of the boys action figure range, Action Force, itself a sub-brand of the Action Man range. Highly collectable, the mini-figures were complemented with vehicles and weaponry. In order to bring the products to life, we licenced the name to IPC, who produced the Battle Action Force comic which had over 100,000 readers every week.
As part of my overall training, I was exposed to my first experiences in sales. The management of the business had largely all come from FMCG companies such as Proctor & Gamble or Unilever. Marketing and sales methodologies owed a lot to the well-established methods of those giants. So I learned about persuasive selling techniques, closing methods, how to structure a presentation and essential sales administration.
In addition I was given project responsibility for production of the European trade catalogue. There were six language variants with strict deadlines for completion ahead of the national toy fairs.
Palitoy was acquired by Kenner Parker and then Tonka during my time there. At the end of 1987 I decided to broaden my marketing horizons and sought the food and drink sector. I landed in the drink at IDV.