Playing It Safe

September 2007 saw a frenzy in the toy industry with the recall of millions of Mattel toys worldwide. To help combat fears, the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) led a summit of leading experts from the UK Toy Industry to examine UK safety procedures and importing practices. The aim was to tackle the growing concerns amongst parents and provide advice on toy safety.

As a further testament to the Association's commitment to the safety of children's toys, they created an online toy safety guide at It is positioned as the first port of call for parents' questions.

Looking at the ideal way to raise awareness and ease the worries of parents markettiers4dc set up a truly integrated media day of radio, TV and online interviews, audio features, and a webTV chat show to highlight that action was being taken by the toy industry.

David Hawtin, Director General of the BTHA and Dr Mike Hayes, Projects Director of the Child Accident Prevention Trust were the voices for the broadcast session. They detailed the findings and action points of the summit and revealed ways to minimise toy related accidents in the home. Reassurance was also provided regarding toys produced outside the UK. National coverage was secured on BBC Radio 4, talkSPORT, Virgin 1215, Sky and IRN together with fantastic regional coverage. In all, 181 stations featured the BTHA campaign, helping to ensure that the maximum number of parents were advised and reassured.

Alongside audio content, a webTV show was designed to dispel fears over the safety of toys. To reach the desired audience, markettiers4dc successfully placed the show and secured coverage on parenting and lifestyle sites as well as more news-based sites such as TheSunOnline and TheGuardian. TV coverage was also achieved on News24.

The BTHA broadcast campaign proved to be an excellent demonstration of an organisation using broadcast media as a 'crisis management' tool. The news agenda in this area had rightly picked up on the safety concerns of toys manufactured overseas, and especially China. The result of such attention was a lot of misinformation circulating, leaving the consumer confused and the industry concerned. The BTHA understood the need not only to address these concerns, but also to provide accurate information to ensure the industry was correctly represented, and parents were tooled with the correct information.

“The BTHA broadcast campaign is an excellent demonstration of an organisation using broadcast media as a 'crisis management' tool”

Click here to view the WebTV chat show