Jo Sparrow talks Tractor Ted toys, live events and bringing the brand overseas

Tractor Ted marketing manager Jo Sparrow reveals why the last year has seen the brand enjoy its second successive year of growth at 25 per cent across all channels.
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Firstly, can you tell me the history behind the brand?

In 2002, Alexandra Heard was a new mum with two sons and a daughter living in the beautiful rural West Country of the UK. Her young children, as are many others the world over, were fascinated by any tractor and farm machine they spotted. Inevitably non-stop questions would follow. With nothing seemingly available for children showing farming machinery and life in the countryside, in a fun and interactive way, the seed of an idea grew.

To progress the idea to reality Alexandra needed an agricultural expect and so got in touch with childhood friend and neighbouring farmer, David Horler, to become a partner in the venture. David, with two small children himself, saw what a great idea this was. As with many farmers there was a need to look to diversification, although not many go from farming to film production!

Together they developed the first Tractor Ted video, for young children, showing real life farming action with all the animals and big farm machines that kids are captivated by. Once it was ready they took out an advertisement in a farming magazine and sold 300 copies in a week! Tractor Ted was born!

How did the brand perform over the past 12 months?

The last 12 months has seen the second successive year of growth at 25 per cent across all channels.

What are some of the best performing products?

The DVDs are still our best performers as children never tire of watching the many machines at work and love to learn about life in the countryside. These are closely followed by our growing giftware range. We have very recently launched Tractor Ted partyware which is already proving a real success.

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Are you looking to expand the consumer products programme further this year?

We are looking at expanding the Tractor Ted toy range into 2016. We have also recently launched into Holland and are planning to devote more time in 2016 in building up our UK and overseas offering with further emphasis being placed on our distribution in ROI, USA and New Zealand.

The Tractor Ted live events programme is also becoming an integral part of our marketing programme and again, new initiatives will be launched for 2016.

Do you have any special marketing initiatives or promotional activity planned for 2015?
We are celebrating following recent confirmation of a two year commercial media deal with Nickelodeon and Nick Jr commencing this month. This media deal will form the basis of much of our upcoming marketing and promotional activity alongside our traditional marketing communications with trade partners and consumers.

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What has the retail reaction been like to the brand?

Retail reaction is always really positive as they get such positive feedback from their customers so really enjoying working with us.

What are some of the main challenges you've come up against? And how have you overcome them?

The main challenge has been the simplicity of the concept. It is when retailers see how engaged children are with the brand though that they really understand the power of Tractor Ted.

What would you most like to achieve with the brand in 2015?

With the agreed Nickelodeon deal we are looking to expose and develop Tractor Ted to a much wider audience. We are also looking to develop more Little Farm partnerships in the UK and Ireland.

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