As Goldieblox Grows Up, Its CMO Searches For The Right-Sized Paid Media Plan

kenny-davis-cmoGoldieblox, the toymaker that cultivates girls’ curiosity in math, science and engineering, generated a huge amount of goodwill and brand love when it launched four years ago.

Newly appointed Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Davis plans to expand Goldieblox from earned media sensation to a brand kids beg their parents to buy, while still delivering its messaging to parents. That expansion will include adding tactics used by the bigger toy brands in the space. Davis joined in October from Hasbro, where he helped relaunch the Furby.

Goldieblox launched in 2012 when founder Debbie Sterling took her idea to Kickstarter, where she raised more than $250,000 while cultivating an active fan base.

Two years later, the social media efforts of that fan base helped Goldieblox win a contest for a free Super Bowl commercial – the equivalent to $4 million in media spend. The toy company participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade later that year, another earned media coup.

Parents drove Goldieblox’s early brand momentum, which is unusual for a toy company, Davis said.

“There was this pent-up energy,” he said. “Many grown women felt they were discouraged from something that would be fun, and they missed out on career opportunities or job choices.”

But to sustain and grow the brand, it needs kids on board too. Goldieblox has started messaging children, which will form the “DNA of all future marketing plans,” Davis said.

Reaching kids requires creating a character for them to connect with.

“[Kids] usually want the character and toy on TV,” Davis said. “And usually, parents are pretty willing to buy it.”

Goldieblox started by creating a series around the character Goldie, a “girl who approaches life with a willingness to try things and fail,” which is consistent with Goldieblox’s engineering message, Davis said.

Goldie stars in a YouTube series called “Toy Hackers.” Each episode features a guest appearance by a YouTube influencer, such as TheEngineeringFamily, who distributes the video on their channel and generates hundreds of thousands of views.

“YouTube is such a fun environment to find things that are tailor-made for you as a kid,” Davis said. “I think it’s critical that Goldieblox be there.”

Through this type of marketing, Davis plans to “rebrand Goldieblox from a toy company to a character brand with a role model.”

Online paid media aimed at children requires complying with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, which limits data collection on children. Davis and other CMOs must also be mindful of reaching kids in a way that “focuses on the entertainment value and enhances our mission,” he said.

As Goldieblox makes plans to scale up its paid marketing, it will expand from paid social media to other channels where kids hang out, possibly including linear TV.

“There are absolutely kids watching YouTube as their preferred destination, and there are absolutely kids watching TV,” Davis said. “When you have the money to spend, it’s good to have a presence everywhere kids like to be.”

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