Nestled in the Bavarian countryside, the small town of Zirndorf houses the headquarters of one of the brands most popular toys for children, Playmobil, which figures next year will celebrate their 40 years.
There, in large white buildings devoid of character, are designed future collections snowmen for cutting characteristic hair.”To create a new Playmobil universe, it takes about two years,” Hane calculates Bernhard, head of development, revealing the backstage of the brand.
In the corridors of the building stand rows of drawers containing 35,000 colored accessories and tiny, from the lens playing cards through the toothbrush, designed to equip characters 7.5cm high a appropriate size for small hands which they are intended.Further, employees are working around machine tools to create molds, unique pieces that are a bulwark against counterfeiting. Treasures of the company, their price can reach 180,000 euros. The key word here, accuracy. Playmobil A man must be able to adapt to all the accessories and decorations brand over time.
Unlike most toy manufacturers, production is not Asian but European. The Playmobil figures, including 2.6 billion units are factory outlets since its inception in 1974, are born in Malta and animals as large pieces pirate ship factory Dietenhofen, Bavaria.Products assembled in the Czech Republic, then return to Dietenhofen where they are packaged and stored in a warehouse as a top 12 story building.
Nearly 40 years after its creation, the success of Playmobil, who Historical Museum Speyer (West Germany) is devoting an exhibition until June, can not be denied. Sales, expected to rise 5% this year, has signed a new record in 2012 with 531 million euros.For family geobra Brandstätter who oversees and employs approximately 3,700 people business, the birth of small articulated in the 1970s snowmen was a salvation.
Born under this name in 1908, the toy company was hit hard by the oil crisis. By the discovery of mold designer Hans Beck, she managed to reinvent itself with the Playmobil figure, whose small size requires less plastic, become expensive. Very quickly, the original three models (Indian, knight and labor) have made a splash.”Playmobil has found the key to a child’s imagination in 1974 and still stands today,” replied the CEO of the brand, Andrea Schauer, to explain this success in a highly competitive environment.
Its range is feminized and enriched today with 25 different worlds combining historical themes (western, prehistoric, dinosaurs) and contemporary (police, zoo) and a segment devoted to children from 18 months.In a world filled with technology, sound and screens, the brand continues to build on the simplicity of his characters, who must leave room for the imagination.
“The heart of Playmobil is the role play: children give life to the stories they have in mind,” says Schauer.It “fits well with the French mentality,” she believes, while the hexagon is its second largest market after Germany, these countries generate between them 65% of sales. And while in Germany Playmobil are overtaken by the eternal Danish rival Lego, in France they are the most toys placed under the tree at Christmas.
If Asia, where Playmobil waived occur after an unsuccessful attempt in China remains a market to tame, Ms. Schauer still sees growth prospects in Europe and in AmericaConcession to the times, the brand plans to launch soon a television mini-series starring the little characters, starting with France in the fall of 2014.
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