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One of the autumn's more unusual bestsellers among families with children are the various toy catalogues, which are scrutinised until they are dog-eared. Stockmann's toy brochure appeared
as a separate product for the first time this year. Previously, it has been part of the impressive Joulumagalogi (Christmas megalogue).


Parents and relatives looking for toys for Christmas presents have once again made their annual trek round the toy departments. These are filled almost to bursting point, with Christmas accounting for over half of total annual toy sales - over a hundred million euros.
Marketing Manager Tiina Turunen of Stockmann says that for toys Christmas is a kind of harvest time for department stores. The toy brochure also launched this year's Christmas season at Stockmann department stores.
"The Toivelahjat (favourite gifts) brochure was posted to over 500,000 loyal customers in mid-November. It is also sent to those with no children in the family, since, around Christmas, virtually everyone is interested in good toy ideas. This year, we put all the best in toys and entertainment electronics for children into its own brochure, so it is easier to explore in peace and quiet, for instance, together with the children," Turunen says.
The toy brochures can also serve as a dictionary to aid adult-child communication. Turunen gives an illuminating example from her own life.
"One Christmas, my daughter wanted a toy she called 'liidunpetsupps'. I asked in the toy department what I was supposed to buy, and it finally turned out to be a range of products popular among girls, 'The Littlest Pet Shop', containing little animal figures." With the aid of the experts Father Christmas was able to fulfil that fervent Christmas wish. But it would have been even easier if Santa could have looked at a picture and product details in a brochure.
Turunen says toys are developing so rapidly nowadays that it is hard for adults to keep up with everything that is on offer. She thinks toy books make it is easier for adults to understand what children would ultimately want to be given.

Compact size, clear sections
Stockmann has been making its toy brochure in various forms and sizes since 1992. This time, the decision to go for a compact A5-format was reached after a lot of thought. The design of the Toivelahjat brochure began in good time, before the summer holidays.
"One reason for the current size is that we wanted the supplement to be relatively small, to make the whole thing handy and readable. The Toivelahjat brochure has to be easy to leaf through. This size also makes it easy to create neat sections. Even though the toy supplement is actually posted to adult loyal customers, the end-reader is definitely more often than not a child. Now that the brochure comes separately, it is easier for children to find what they are looking for," Turunen explains.
The toys in Stockmann's Toivelahjat brochure are divided into sections by topic and age group. This is particularly helpful to toy purchasers who rarely buy toys and who are looking for toy ideas for a recipient of a particular age. Added to that, certain trademarks have their own pages. The background is chosen to accentuate the toys' specific character.
"This is one way of reminding our customers that Stockmann has a large toy department, too. Closer to Christmas, we display other gift ideas and the entire store's selection. It's a great advantage for people to be able to get everything they need under the same roof," Turunen says.

Stockmann's supplement is a databank for kids of toy age

Tony Hirvirinne, 8, knows precisely what he is looking for in a toy brochure, and what he wants from it. He did not tick off dozens of wished-for Christmas presents in Stockmann's catalogue, but went straight to study the Lego news. "The brochure makes it clear where you can actually buy them before Christmas," he says.

Tony, a second-grader in Turku, is a happy, spontaneous lad, who plays ice hockey and golf.
"In ice hockey I am quite a good defender. I sometimes play in goal, too, but I am not quite so good at that," is Tony's self-assessment. He says, in the afternoons, he also spends time on computer games or, weather permitting, outdoors with his pals.
During the conversation, it gradually turns out that Tony is a real Lego super-expert. For instance, at home he has built a miniature mains-powered railway station out of Lego, almost filling the entire second-floor landing.
"I build things alone quite a lot. Sometimes, when I've reached a difficult bit, dad has helped," Tony admits, while leafing through Stockmann's new Toivelahjat catalogue. "Ah here's the new Mars Mission. I knew Lego was getting a range of them, but I didn't know which ones," he says enthusiastically.
The various games and the car tracks and their cars also momentarily capture Tony's interest. Among the board games, he notices the old Finnish favourite Afrikan tähti (Star of Africa), and among the latest ones Inkan aarre (Treasure of the Incas) by the same author.
In contrast, he quickly skips over the pages for girls and little children. "At home I have Alonso's and Räikkönen's cars of recent years. On one McLaren it says Kimi," Tony says, as he peruses the new car tracks.

Toy consumer's info-pack
Tony says he studies the various toy supplements that come through the letterbox before Christmas very carefully. For young readers these catalogues have extremely important information value. They provide them with information about what new products are available and where. Young consumers also seem to be more critical than children of earlier years. Nor does Tony expect to get the whole catalogue, but concentrates on a few carefully considered Christmas wishes.
Tony has clear memories of the toy brochures that came with Stockmann's Toivelahjat book in previous years. This year's gets top marks without asking. "It's good to have it separate and this size. Now, it's easier to read," he says.
Apart from being a compact size, above all he wants clarity. The division into toys for girls and boys, according to age or topic, makes it easier to read, and is thus a plus.
"Next year, the bottom corners of Stockmann's toy brochure could also be marked in different colours for each theme. That would make searching easier. Oh, and there could be even more toys in it," Tony suggests.

Source: HANSAPRESS 4/2007